London Overground cutbacks?

It seems that Transport for London are already cutting back on major projects, now that Boris Johnson is in charge.

The upgrade of the North London line is something local rail users have been needing for years. The line is heavily used, but has a bad record for delays and over-crowding. So the decision to bring the North London Line under TfL as ‘London Overground’ and upgrade its tracks and signals sounded like good news. But now there are reports that the work is being scaled down. The PR claims it’s to hit the Olympic Games deadline (something that doesn’t seem to have applied to other schemes, like Crossrail); but the small print makes it clear that at least part of the change is that TfL thinks elements of the original scheme are unaffordable.

In particular, it looks as if the tracks west of Caledonian Road & Barnsbury station, towards Camden, will not now be upgraded. That’s bad news for Islington passengers who were hoping travel west on the line would be improved.

Meanwhile Caroline Pidgeon, with other GLA members, is urging Boris to find the funds for the next stage of the East London Line from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction. The idea is to create an orbital railway round London, including the North London Line.

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