London Orbital Railway Complete

Just for a change I thought I’d write about some general rail news. This week saw the opening of the missing link in the London Orbital Railway. Note, this isn’t the one that TfL will want you to know about because this one isn’t entirely coloured orange. We’ll have to wait until the end of next year for that version. However, in the meantime you no longer need to walk between Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland because the East London line has been extended to Highbury & Islington.  So, starting at Crystal Palace you can take a train to Highbury & Islington, change onto another for Willesden Junction, then on to the final orange (London Overground) leg to Clapham Junction, and finally a Southern train back to Crystal Palace.

The whole route is in zone 2 apart from two sections: Whitechapel to Hoxton is in zone 1 while Clapham Junction to Brockley is in zone 3.  The latter section will be replaced by the new Overground South London line between Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays via Peckham Rye.  That will only leave the Shoreditch problem, but there is no way that TfL can shift that into zone 2 because it is just too close to Liverpool Street and the City.  The best that we can possibly hope for is a special deal where zone 1 fares would only be levied on passengers joining or allighting at Shoreditch High Street.  That is currently the case on the old East London line section, but it would be nice to see it extended round the whole line and to any connecting services too.

7 thoughts on “London Orbital Railway Complete”

  1. Has Highbury & Islington and Canonbury been included in the Zone 2 only fare to Whitechapel, Shadwell and Wapping despite passing through Zone 1?

    • Hi Martin,

      It appears not. In fact it looks like the fares on the old line aren’t actually just zone 2, but in fact they’re the National Rail zone 1 and 2 fares which are slightly cheaper than the TfL zone 1 and 2 fares.

  2. Not so much that TFL can’t shift Shoreditch into Zone 2, more a case of won’t.
    Wasn’t the whole point of stretching Zone 1 out to cover some of the new route, in order to recoup some of the costs involved in it’s creation.

    • Whilst I’m not averse to the odd conspiracy theory, I don’t think they actually moved the zone 1/2 boundary. The new station is considerably nearer to Liverpool Street than the old ELL terminus was, and almost certainly is genuinely within zone 1. Some people may have hoped that the boundary would shift the other way, but I can see why TfL couldn’t allow that.

  3. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s fact. Part of the deal for funding was that Shoreditch high street be placed in zone 1, to recuperate some of the costs and also to prevent losses from some of the southern rail companies.

    Either way it’s unfair.

  4. Hi Mike

    I have a different perception problem with Shoreditch being in zone1.
    a) TFL could have sited Shoreditch station further to the East than the previous station (park and wasteland) and had it zone2 thus selling the prime real estate where the current station is for shops etc.
    b) If I terminate or originate in the area I use Huxton or Whitechapel – for zone 2, ten minutes walk saves time and money in gym.
    c) Otherwise I go via Stratford, starting earlier (sometimes to also miss the peak window) but still arrive on time. So it is neither revenue nor peak traffic neutral. Stratford traffic must be a bottle neck, and they are upgrading the platforms for longer trains?

    I assume this is another goof like the lower zone 1-2 peak caps, i.e. the old station did not have a North South link?

    • Hi Noel,

      I’m not sure that the lower caps can really be called a goof. Whilst I share the frustration over SHS being in zone 1, I can’t disagree that it needed to be. Given where the line had to run to link the old ELL with the old line to Broad Street, there would have been a much bigger hoohah if there wasn’t a station where it is.

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