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A Tour Of The New East London Line

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 87 months ago
A Tour Of The New East London Line
The approach to Hoxton station
The approach to Hoxton station
The new control room at New Cross depot. Perhaps better looking on the inside.
The new control room at New Cross depot. Perhaps better looking on the inside.
Malibu monitors the CCTV at Shadwell
Malibu monitors the CCTV at Shadwell
Monitoring the line from the control room
Monitoring the line from the control room
Note the book collection: gallows humour is clearly still alive on the railways
Note the book collection: gallows humour is clearly still alive on the railways
Ticket hall at Shoreditch High Street
Ticket hall at Shoreditch High Street
Exterior of Shoreditch High Street
Exterior of Shoreditch High Street
Shoreditch High Street
Shoreditch High Street
Shoreditch High Street station
Shoreditch High Street station
Shadwell ticket hall, a fine improvement on the prior decor
Shadwell ticket hall, a fine improvement on the prior decor
Shadwell station; the painted murals from the mid-Nineties refurb have survived
Shadwell station; the painted murals from the mid-Nineties refurb have survived
Route maps at Shadwell: the extensions to Highbury & Islington and Clapham, due to open in 2011 and 2012 respectively, are shown on these maps
Route maps at Shadwell: the extensions to Highbury & Islington and Clapham, due to open in 2011 and 2012 respectively, are shown on these maps
Overground train in maintenance shed, New Cross depot
Overground train in maintenance shed, New Cross depot
Driver's eye view on the approach to Haggerston. Note the unlikely speed limit, top left.
Driver's eye view on the approach to Haggerston. Note the unlikely speed limit, top left.

This spring, the route formerly known as the East London line will make a bold return, now co-opted into the orange livery of London Overground, and extending past its original, curtailed route to the giddy northern heights of Dalston and the southern climes of Croydon. On Tuesday, we took a tour of the line to find out what's new.

After a tour of the New Cross depot and the new control room — a gleaming modern building whose patient staff were tolerant enough to ignore our journalistic probing — we boarded one of the sleek new trains. The route runs the same 378 models recently introduced to the North London line, albeit in four-car configuration rather than three-car, and there's a distinct sense of vertigo to be had looking the length of the walk-through carriages as the vehicle is in motion. Our box-fresh train headed northwards, passing through the Thames tunnel, before we stopped for a tour of Shadwell station.Aside from the new orange-trimmed roundels, regulars on the old East London line will see little difference at platform level: but at street level Shadwell is entirely transformed, with an additional exit on the north side of the ticket office meaning access to the nearby DLR station is much easier (welcome news to anybody who recalls the miserable side street that had to be navigated in the past).Our tour then moved on to Shoreditch High Street, a colossal grey battleship of a station parked on the old Bishopsgate Goods Yard. The platform is long enough to accommodate up to eight carriages (not that a train of such length is ever likely to pull in), and the spacious ticket hall reflects the expectation that — with an optimum location and excellent access to Spitalfields, Shoreditch, Old Street, and the City — this will be one of the more popular stations on the network. The final part of the trip whisked us along the viaduct toward Dalston Junction and back, offering new vistas of Kingsland Road and affording the more eagle-eyed trainspotter among us a glimpse of the original Old Street station.TfL expect around 100,000 people to use the service daily once it is fully operational, and in offering a link between parts of the capital that have long been ill-served by transport connections, the line should be a success. It does, however, pose a significant hazard to pub quiz-masters and Underground trivia hounds: should London Overground be counted as a proper Tube line or not?The section between New Cross Gate and Dalston Junction is currently scheduled to open in April *, and the full service is due to welcome passengers on May 23rd.Many thanks to everybody at TfL, LOROL, and London Overground, for arranging the tour
* Correction: The date originally given in this post, April 12th, is inaccurate
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Last Updated 17 March 2010