Visitors to London can often be somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of the city, but with world-class public transport options available for travellers spanning every part of the English capital, it is actually far easier to get around than many might realise.
Facilities to get individuals from A to B in London are second-to-none and the London Overground is one such service that travellers will want to know about.
A brief history of the service
Launched in November 2007, the London Overground is managed by London Overground Rail Operations as part of the Transport for London franchise and supplements rail services to several key areas of the capital.
With more than 135 million people making use of the London Overground network every year, this is one of the busiest transport networks in the whole of the UK and offers a much-needed boost for transport connectivity to many areas of central London and beyond.
An amalgamation of several legacy rail services that operated across the city prior to its arrival, London Overground has grown from what was originally the Silverlink Metro franchise for north London and today connects all areas of the city, north to south and east to west.
A total of 111 stations are now connected via the Overground network, with services running 24 hours per day on some routes.
Where can the London Overground take me?
Travellers can make use of six distinct services currently in operation as part of the London Overground. These are:
Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford
Watford Junction to Euston
Gospel Oak to Barking
Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction
Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford
Romford to Upminster
Visitors planning journeys to these areas should therefore consider travelling via the London Overground as an alternative to busy London Underground routes. Currently covering central London only, there are plans for further expansion of Overground services in the years ahead.
Accessibility and improvements
An ongoing process of improvement is being undertaken for the London Overground service by Transport for London, with more than half of the stations operated as part of the network now fully step-free and accessible for all travellers.
Individuals in need of assistance can also now make use of the operators’ ‘turn up and go’ facility, which ensures that anyone with a disability can arrive at any station across the Overground network and a member of staff will be on hand to help to ensure they are able to make their train – this service does not need to be booked in advance.
Customer satisfaction is also a key guide for future improvements and, as a result, full customer service and satisfaction surveys are undertaken by London Overground users every three months.
Consistently high scores have been secured for the service since its launch, with customers particularly positive regarding the frequency of services, cleanliness of stations and the reliability of journeys.
Improvements are always being sought in all areas though and Transport for London is constantly on the lookout for measures that can improve the experience of travellers across the Overground network.
Being a tourist, it’s always advisable to stay somewhere in central London to avail the benefits of all available commuting options around the city. London Shaftesbury Hotels offer a wide range of hotels for visitors with comfort in budget and easy connectivity through nearby underground stations to avoid any hassles.
Ticketing for the London Overground
Individuals planning to travel via the London Overground can do so in the same fashion as they would London Underground routes, while at the same time they can also make use of National Rail travelcards and fares.
This means the Oyster Card could be a valuable investment for individuals that plan to be using Overground services regularly during their time in London, while paper tickets are also equally valid for users.
Ticket barriers are now in effect at all stations across the London Overground network, as Transport for London aims to ensure fare-dodging is kept to a minimum. Travellers should therefore remember to keep their valid ticket upon their person for the duration of their journey, as they will need it to leave the station when they reach their destination.
Finally, anyone planning to travel via the London Overground should be aware that regular maintenance and upgrades to lines are being carried out across the network. As a result, individuals heading to the capital should visit the Transport for London website prior to purchasing tickets to ensure the routes they are planning to use are free from disruption.