TfL Is Renaming Each London Overground Line - Here's What They Should Be Called

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 12 months ago

Last Updated 19 May 2023

TfL Is Renaming Each London Overground Line - Here's What They Should Be Called
An Overground train pulling into Leytonstone Midland Road
Photo: Matt Brown

There are plans to split the London Overground into six individual lines, with each to be given their own name.

£4m has been set aside in TfL's 2023-24 budget to look into the option of renaming the lines, currently known collectively as the London Overground, and affectionately nicknamed the Ginger line.

What are the six London Overground lines?

How exactly is the tube map's pile of orange spaghetti going to be split up? The six individual lines are as follows:

  • Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction/Crystal Palace
  • Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford
  • Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside
  • Euston to Watford Junction
  • Liverpool Street to Enfield Town/Cheshunt/Chingford
  • Romford to Upminster

What will the new London Overground line names be?

The new names haven't been announced yet, though there are some clues as to what they might be. They were almost given individual names back in 2015, and to be honest, most of these are used casually today:

Back in 2021, when Sadiq Khan was standing for re-election as Mayor, he announced plans to rename the lines to "reflect [the] capital’s historic diversity" and give each route its own identity, with local landmarks or Londoners acting as possible namesakes — though specific monikers were never decided.

Of course, some lines already have their own nicknames: the Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside line is often referred to by its portmanteau, the 'Goblin'. We could apply the portmanteau approach to the remaining lines: Watford Junction to Euston becomes Watton, and Romford to Upminster becomes Romster (or, in reverse, UpMINster to RomfORd, being the shortest line, should portmanteau to the Minor line).

It gets a bit complicated on the lines with multiple destinations involved though.

A row of seats on the London Overground, with an orange and brown moquette
Sadly, TfL's budget woes probably mean that six individual lines does not equal six individual moquettes. Photo: Samuel Regan-Asante

Naturally, always keen to help the financially-beleaguered TfL, we put our heads together to come up with some suggestions, to help them along (£4 million? Pah, we'll do it for 50 quid):

  • The bit through south London on the Highbury & Islington line could be the Transatlantic line, because it goes through Denmark Hill and Canada Water;
  • The Liverpool Street line could be the Green or Verdant line - as it passes through things named 'Green' (x2), 'Heath', 'Fields', 'Grove' (x2) and 'Park' (x2) — and was also drawn in green by TfL when they were originally planning individual lines, as in the embedded tweet above;
  • Alternatively, the Liverpool Street line could be the Harry Enfield line, as it goes to Enfield, and you can get Harry from White HARt Lane and RectoRY Road (or from Tottenham player Harry Kane, in light of his recent goal record);
  • The Euston to Watford local line could be the Harry Potter line, because it basically goes from King's Cross (Euston is very close) to Watford — home to the Warner Bros Studios. That, and its trains have a habit of disappearing into thin air, no Evanesco spell required;
  • The North London line could be the Gentrified line, because most stops on it are.

Here's the London Overground map if you want to have a crack at coming up with your own names. Suggestions in the comments please.