London Overground overcrowding

Discussion in 'Public Transport' started by Brockley Jon, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Brockley Jon

    Brockley Jon Admin Staff Member

    I have just alighted from a sardine can at Canada Water. No room for iphone reading, let alone papers. Staring at a shoulder blade all the way.

    Today's journey was enough to tip me over the edge and get me straight back on the bike (had been taking a break as that can get stressful too sometimes!!) but this is not an option for everyone and I wonder what the bigger plan is for the overcrowding?

    I've lost track of the various schemes and extensions, but will any of them actually result in more space for us from Honor Oak / Brockley? If not, seems like we might be in trouble?
  2. EdHammond

    EdHammond South Eastern Guru

    Classic example of a lack of forward planning by London Underground in the early nineties. Back then LUL was run directly from the Department of Transport and entirely separate from London Transport. There was no real thinking about Tube or rail extensions because there was no strategic planning function looking at development in the whole of London.

    So LUL looked at the planning Canada Water interchange and saw a link between two lines that they expected to be quite lightly used - the East London Line went nowhere special and the Jubilee went to a Canary Wharf that was more moribund building site than business district.

    Of course CW now is woefully inadequate for what it is - a major interchange for South East London commuters. AFAIK there are no plans to extend or increase circulation space at the station and the ELL platforms can't be extended to allow longer trains as the station is on a gradient (I think?) and in any case too close to Rotherhithe (and other stations in the core will only take short trains too).

    They're trying to get round the capacity issues by running more services through the core (ie the ELL phase 2, through Peckham) and the increased service frequency will, they hope, ease some of the overcrowding. But the thinking is that there is a lot of latent demand that will be pushed onto the Overground once it opens - especially people who used to use the SLL to go to London Bridge and then transfer to the Jubilee to go to Canary Wharf.

    So in short don't expect it to get better any time soon.
    Brockley Jon likes this.
  3. Brockley Jon

    Brockley Jon Admin Staff Member

    @Ed, liking your post because of the detailed response, not the fact that there is no good news!! :eek:
  4. MJG

    MJG Local

    There are a couple of things coming up in the short term that may help - as mentioned the new route to Clapham junction may provide some easing at least on the short stretch from Canada Water to Surray Quays. There is also the possibility of extending the trains to five cars (the maximum the stretch from Surray Quays to Shadwell will allow) in 2014. Also, the central core can support up to 22 trains an hour I believe, so if the National Rail signalling south of New Cross Gate can be sorted out then it should be possible to run more than the current 8tph through Brockley / Forest Hill etc.

    Longer term though the line would need to be supplimented with new lines. Step forward the Bakerloo extension...
    Michael_FH likes this.
  5. FionaColley

    FionaColley South Eastern Yoda

    Having travelled this morning on a cattle truck claiming to be a London Overground train, I was delighted to find the email below in my inbox. 25% capacity increase. I suspect it still won't be enough, but still good news.

    From: Shannon Emma (London Rail) <>
    To: Colley, Fiona
    Sent: Thu Jan 16 23:03:51 2014
    Subject: London Overground Capacity Improvement Programme

    16 January 2014

    Dear Cllr Colley

    London Overground Capacity Improvement Programme

    Since Transport for London (TfL) took over the network in 2007, London Overground has become one of the UK’s most reliable services and passenger numbers have grown rapidly. To meet this increasing demand TfL is extending London Overground trains from four to five carriages. This will deliver a 25 per cent increase in capacity so we can carry more passengers and reduce crowding. The capacity improvements also support our ongoing programme of station works to enhance accessibility and reduce queuing.

    The £320m capacity improvement programme includes a series of infrastructure works so London Overground can operate, store and maintain the longer trains. As well as building new storage facilities and upgrading our existing maintenance depots, we need to extend platforms at many stations across the network. Platform works will be carried out at 12 stations on the Highbury & Islington to New Cross/Clapham Junction routes and 17 stations on the Richmond to Stratford route.

    These improvements form part of a significant programme of investment that has delivered more frequent services, new and longer trains and most recently the completion of the London Overground orbital rail network around London.

    The first longer trains will be introduced on the Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction line from the end of 2014, followed by the Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford line by the end of 2015.The Government’s commitment to electrify the Gospel Oak to Barking line will also allow for the introduction of higher capacity trains on this route at a later date.

    TfL has appointed Cleshar Contract Services to deliver the platform extensions on the Highbury & Islington to New Cross/Clapham Junction routes and Dyer & Butler for those along the Richmond to Stratford route.

    For further information on the nature of work at each station and the likely phasing we have produced a leaflet, which can be viewed via this link: platform extensions leaflet.pdf

    Copies will shortly be distributed to properties around stations that have the potential to be impacted by the platform work. The exact timing of construction activity is still being finalised but we will send a tailored letter to neighbouring residents/businesses in advance of work starting.

    We recognise that construction work on the railway can be disruptive to those living or working nearby. As the platforms are adjacent to the live railway, it will be necessary to carry out much of the work while passenger services are suspended and power to the railway is switched off. This will result in some activities being carried out at night or over weekends when the railway is closed.

    We will work closely with the relevant local authorities to agree measures so that there is minimal impact on our neighbours. Where possible we will carry out as much of the disruptive work during the day if we can. We have set up a 24 hour Helpline number so residents can contact us if they have any queries about the works (0845 257 7878), or they can email Customer Services at (quoting Overground capacity).

    Although some of the work can be scheduled when the railway is closed for routine maintenance, additional weekend closures will be required to carry out this important improvement work. Weekday passenger services should not be affected. Information on planned closures can be found at:

    Should you have any questions about the capacity programme or the platform works specifically, or you cannot access the link above, please contact Emma Shannon (Infrastructure Communication Manager) at We will also be sending you a hard copy of this letter and the leaflet in the post.

    Yours sincerely

    Hugh Lawson
    Programme Manager
  6. Nick Barron

    Nick Barron Admin Staff Member

    Brockley Jon likes this.
  7. Brockley Jon

    Brockley Jon Admin Staff Member

    Well, I've just had to ride what must have been the most crowded Overground service I've ever been on, the 8.19 for me, from HOP. It was up there in my top 10 horrific tube journeys I'd say. Roll on any improvements they can make!

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