Now you can get all the way round London on the overground as 76m final piece of track completes circleThe 76m line – running 16 trains an hour – will reduce journey timesAround 12.3m passengers a year are expected to use the new linkFrom Clapham Junction, it will now take 28 minutes to Canada Water and 35 minutes to ShoreditchBut a trip on the orbital section cannot be taken uninterrupted
20:09 GMT, 10 December 2012
A 76million 'missing link' stretch of railway – dubbed the M25 on rails – was officially opened to rush hour passengers today.
The new 1,422 yards of track south west of Surrey Quays station links the east London section of London Overground with existing track to the north of Queen’s Road Peckham in south east London.
It means commuters can make short journeys around the capital without having to travel via central stations already at full capacity.
The new line will significantly reduce journey time. From Clapham Junction, it will now take 28 minutes to Canada Water and 35 minutes to Shoreditch
London Mayor Boris Johnson launches the new rail service at Clapham Junction Station to complete London Overground's orbital network, marking the arrival of the first orbital railway in the capital for 128 years
But if you want to make your way across the capital, be prepared to be on your toes – commuters will need to change a number of times to reach the other side of the city.
A trip on the orbital section lasts
about 90 minutes, but cannot be taken uninterrupted, with changes at
Highbury and Islington and Clapham Junction.
The last jigsaw piece in the London Overground line was heralded by Mike Brown, managing director of London
Underground and London Rail.
He told the Evening Standard: 'If the Circle Line is the equivalent of the
North and South Circular Roads, this is the M25 of rail.'
He said it enables people to get around the capital without going through exceptionally busy
stations such as Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge, and allow passengers to travel from Clapham Junction to Canary Wharf
and cut out the middle part of the journey.
Around 12.3million passengers a year are expected to use the new link, which will operate 16 trains an hour.
It will also significantly reduce journey times.
From Clapham Junction, it will now take 28 minutes to Canada Water and 35 minutes to Shoreditch
London Mayor Boris Johnson rode on the new link today with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin as they discussed Mr Johnson's bid to win control over commuter rail services.
If talks between the pair on December 19 go as expected, and Mr Johnston wins control over routes, he will have the power to order new trains, set ticket prices and schedule timetables.
The new line crosses from Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays. It has 77 miles of track and 83 stations, from Watford to Croydon and Richmond to Barking
The mayor joins commuters along the new line. It has been dubbed 'the M25 on rails'
Mr McLoughlin said: 'I hope we can be positive in what we’ve done. In principle I have no objections but we have got some problems to overcome.'
Mr Johnson said the 'hugely popular' overground link would help
the regeneration of east London, while Mr McLoughlin said it would be a
'boon for businesses and commuters'.
The Overground line now has 77 miles of track and 83 stations, from Watford to Croydon and Richmond to Barking.
The Department for Transport contributed 60million to the new rail link, with 15million coming from the Mayor and TfL. Trains were made by Bombardier in Derby, and 48 drivers and five support staff have been hired.