This Sunday TfL take over the North London Line. Yes, the service also known as the loony line and infamous for fare dodging and criminal activity on unmanned stations is getting a rebrand. Goodbye (good riddance) Silverlink! Hello London Overground.
The long neglected, feared and cursed service that links Stratford with North London and pootles all the way around the West to Richmond is being brought into the TfL fold. It's even getting coloured in (tangerine) and properly incorporated in the tube map. However, as Diamond Geezer noted on 29 October, the designers had a hard time squishing it all in.
Oyster ticket gates were erected in our local stations lately and have sat there with jackets on but there has been little publicity around this takeover. Typical that the first thing they get sorted is fare enforcement. It's about time they let you pay-as-you-go with your Oystercard Overground but we'll miss those free trips to Hampstead Heath.
The next milestone on their to do list is new trains. The North London line is notoriously late with insufficient rolling stock. Try getting on a train at Canonbury going West in the morning rush hour. It's the worst game of sardines you've ever tried to participate in, compounded by delays and trains of only 3 carriages. However, TfL's new trains aren't due in till 2009 and talk of a train every 8 minutes remains a distant dream for now.
We like the ring of London Overground though. It's another brave step towards an integrated and comprehensive public transport system, especially with the new East London Line twinkling on the horizon for 2010 which will bring the prospect of a total orbital route around London, as foreseen by the Wombles, one step closer.