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UK: London Overground passenger numbers surge

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Transport for London (TfL) has announced £320m program to increase the capacity of the London Overground by 25%, along with introduction of five-car trains on all London Overground routes to meet rapidly increasing demand for the network’s services. </span> <p>The program also includes the construction of longer platforms and the delivery of an extra 57 carriages, each of which can carry 150 passengers, by the end of 2015.</p><p>According to Transport for London’s (TfL) chief operating officer for rail Howard Smith, by the end of 2012, London Overground carried 120 million passengers – nearly four times the number carried when we launched it in 2007.</p><p>“To enable this positive trend to continue and maintain our high levels for safe, reliable and frequent travel, we need to deliver more capacity by adding more carriages,” Smith said.</p><p>The increased capacity will also help London’s transport network accommodate the predicted 810,000 new residents expected to move into London by 2021.</p><p>Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said passenger numbers on London Overground services have been “going through the roof” and the program will provide the extra carriages required for Londoners to take advantage of what has become “the most popular suburban railway in the country.”</p><p>To accommodate the longer five-car trains some infrastructure upgrades will be required including depot upgrades and platform extensions at some stations and associated signalling and power works.</p><p>TfL is currently entering into negotiations to finalise the delivery and leasing arrangements of the new carriages. The current Overground fleet comprises 57 four-car Bombadier Capitalstar units.</p><p>Since TfL took over the former Silverlink Metro franchise in November 2007, demand on London Overground has grown by 160% in the five years to autumn 2012 on the ‘original’ network. When the former East London line conversion and other service extensions are included the demand has increased 280% (quadrupling from 2.57m to 9.83m journeys per four weekly period).</p><p>Forecasts predict that employment in London will grow by 670,000 jobs from 2007 to 2021, and population by 810,000 people over the same period. Growth in Overground demand is estimated to increase by 400% between 2007 and 2021 from 33 million passengers a year to 165 million.</p><p>Transport for London has recently extended its contract with London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL), the private company (a 50/50 partnership between Arriva and MTR) which operates the London Overground on its behalf.</p><p>Although fares, timetables and operational requirements are all set by TfL, the day to day service is provided by LOROL. The two-year extension means the company will continue to operate the Overground until November 2016 when the contract will be re-tendered.</p>