All London suburban rail services are to be incorporated into London Overground, Transport for London has announced, with a significant upgrade in services to Lewisham.
The Southeastern franchise, serving Lewisham, Catford and Brockley, will be the first to change into the Overground’s distinctive orange branding, with TfL taking control in 2018.
London Mayor Boris Johnson MP said: “Our railways have been the workhorse of the London and south east economy since Victorian times. By working closely together and taking on these new services, we’re going to emulate the success of the London Overground and give the entire capital and surrounding areas the services they truly deserve.”
Politicians on all sides have shown support for the plans. Green mayoral candidate Sian Berry said: “This move will improve life for very many commuters. It will allow TfL to gradually take control over some suburban services as the current franchises fall due for renewal over the next few years. As such, it’s a long-awaited step in the right direction.”
The announcement comes after think tank ‘Centre for London’ published a report recommending that TfL turn an expanded Overground network into a “second Underground” for south London.
TfL and the Department for Transport are currently holding a public consultation on the plans, which could eventually affect all suburban rail services going in and out of London Bridge, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Moorgate, Victoria and Waterloo stations.