A popular all-night train route will return in mid-December, Transport for London has announced.
Night Overground between services will resume between Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate from Friday 17 December. They will run every 15 minutes throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays.
The east London service will join the Central and Victoria tube lines, which are set to reopen over weekend evenings from 27 November. The line has been closed at night since March 2020 owing to the pandemic.
"Providing even more safe travel options," is the top-billed reason for the reintroduction, amid increased concerns. Over 150,000 people signed a petition demanding that the Night Tube return before the end of 2021, a request that now looks like it will be partially fulfilled. The Women's Night Safety Charter, set up by the Mayor, is also aimed at promoting safe travel.
The move will also be a fillip for the night time economy. The Night Overground links up many of London's top night spots, including Upper Street, Dalston, Hoxton, Shoreditch and New Cross (where Goldsmith's College finishes term on 19 December).
It will also provide additional options for the estimated 1.6 million people who work in London while the rest of us are in our beds.
Passengers will be able to connect with the Night Tube at Highbury & Islington (Victoria line), with a slightly more awkward street-level change between Shoreditch and the Central line at Liverpool Street.
The line's reopening on 17 December will surely be welcomed, although it does strike us as a little late in December to catch many of the office parties and festive get-togethers that fill the twelfth month.
We've always thought that TfL's original Night Overground route graphic (shown at top) is highly suggestive of Santa's progress through the winter skies. Sadly, we may have to wait for the Easter Bunny to deliver the remaining night lines. No word has yet been given on the reopening dates for night services on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, which will return "as soon as practicable".