Posted 8th October 2009 | 4 Comments

First train runs on East London Railway

Image from Transport for London

5 Oct. 2009: A Class 378 unit has run at slow speed along the East London Railway, which is to join the Transport for London Overground network next year. The train made its first test run today from the new depot at New Cross Gate to Dalston Junction station.

Bombardier-built unit 378.004 kept to just 10mph (16km/h), but Transport for London said further tests would now be arranged at increasing speeds in preparation for the opening of the route, which is expected by June next year.

East London Railway trains will continue south beyond New Cross Gate over Network Rail infrastructure to Crystal Palace and West Croydon. The management of local stations on this section was transferred to Transport for London with the start of the new Southern franchise on 20 September. ELR trains will also continue north from Dalston Junction over the North London Railway as far as Highbury & Islington when renewal of the western curve connecting the two routes is completed later in 2010 or 2011.

The first part of the former East London Line between New Cross and New Cross Gate as far as Whitechapel (and Shoreditch in peak hours) opened to trains in 1869 between Wapping and Shadwell, having been converted from a pedestrian tunnel under the Thames built by Marc Brunel. Trains were extended over the rest of the route seven years later, and for many years it was used by main line trains. The last of these ran in 1913, when the line became part of the Metropolitan Railway. 

After the creation of London Transport in 1933 it was treated as an outpost of the Metropolitan Line, but around 1980 it was given the separate title of East London Line. It closed for modernisation in 2007.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Andrew John Gwilt, Norwich, England

    Im sure that London Overground is going to be the best operator for Greater London and the future for London but what about Crossrail. Crossrail is another project which is now constructing a tunnel from East London to West London going underneath Central London to ease the headaces on the tubes. London is the place to be with attractions but also with transports.

  • Eamon Dyas, London, UK

    I'm a lifelong member of the Grizzard Club and I want to know what the passengers who use the New Cross Gate station can expect by way of improvements. This station is the grubbiest on the entire network and so far, all it has had is the installation of ticket barriers at the top of the stairs causing dangerous tailbacks whenever more than one train arrives at the station. There is still no disabled access and the general appearance of the station is depressing. Having been deprived of the use of the East London Line for three years and now likely to gain little benefit from the new line (we move from being at the end of the line terminus station with a guaranteed seat on each journey to a mid-line station with little chance of a seat in rush hours) surely the least we can expect is some serious investment in the New Cross Gate station.

  • Bill hogan, Bow london, England

    Well done to everybody involved with this project

  • Geoff Steel, Northampton, United Kingdom

    I have been watching this project develop over the past couple of years and it is very pleasing to see it coming to fruition. I am sure it will be a great success when it is fully operational and perhaps one day will form part of a circular service right around London. Well done to the project team and contractors involved in this scheme.