The Night Overground begins

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Its years since I wrote about London Overground, last time was when the service first opened. In the early hours of Saturday 16 December the long mooted Night Overground service began between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate.
TfL’s publicity claims the service would begin on Friday 15 December. That is odd because the timetables do not show any such services on Friday nights! The first trains advertised is from Dalston at 00.32 and from New Cross Gate at 00.19. These first few trains are slightly off the specified 15 minute frequency until 1.00am when the proper 15 minute interval service begins.
Photos of Night Overground’s opening are now on this new post.
Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted this video showing the Night Overground’s nice new route map!


Even though its touted as Night Overground, it is in some sense a night tube service on a sub-surface line! Its London Overground’s only substantial subterranean route and the much of it is underground is because it was once part of the East London Line (ELL.) That in turn owed its beginnings back time to 1825 when the Brunels began their efforts to build the world’s first tunnel under a large body of water – the Thames.


Tweet showing the Night Overground’s nice new roundel!
In fact the Overground’s night service is basically the same modus operandi as that in ELL days. Just like the old ELL itself the southbound track from Canal Junction to New Cross Gate is still reversible and this enables a fifteen minute frequency to be maintained.
One oddity that has not been officially announced regarding the new Night Overground service is it will only operate one weekend before Xmas as a full Dalston to New Cross Gate service. London Overground is not very clear on its intentions and its perhaps that they don’t want to confuse people too much especially with a brand new service under way! This is why one will not find mention of the changes via TfL’s usual pages. Very subtle reference can be found in the details of closures six months ahead. But again its not clear as they avoid mentioning New Cross! No doubt trains will be diverted to New Cross for one night and these are shown in the working timetables.
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Night Overground early am 23 December – but they don’t want to mention trains will go to New Cross!
What happens is in the early hours of Saturday 23 December, the first couple of night trains will go to New Cross Gate. Starting with train 9E78 (00.51 from Dalston) the service runs instead to New Cross for the rest of the night. Its a rare opportunity to experience the Night Overground to both destinations including the one station that will not normally be part of the Night Overground service.
There are other limitations to these early days of the new service. The only interchange with the tube will be at Canada Water until January 2018.
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Night Overground route map shown on the timetable. Earlier versions showed New Cross added. The error may have resulted from a misunderstanding both stations would be served, but as has just been discussed, New Cross will not normally be the service’s southern destination.
One of the interesting aspects of the new service is it will be extended to Highbury. Not withstanding that, TfL chose to publish timetables showing the timetable as “Valid from Friday 15 December 2017 until Saturday 19 May 2018” for the section from Dalston Junction southwards. Its been said services to Highbury will commence early in 2018 so a re-issued timetable will be on the cards pretty soon.
Quirks in the timetable mean the one off parliamentary service from Battersea Park (dep 23.03) terminates at Dalston Junction as normal, and then runs empty to New Cross Gate to form the first northbound Night Overground at 00.19.
Another quirk not advertised is the second Night Overground train (9G76) from New Cross Gate starts at Highbury at 23.56 (as 9G75) as a through service to New Cross Gate! Its one way TfL can claim services actually began on Friday 15 December despite the timetable not showing any such service!
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Plenty of Night Overground leaflets at Canada Water
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Scan of the centre page of the leaflet. Click on pic if you would like a bigger image
London Overground opened over seven years ago. Some of my pics from 27 April 2010:
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378 135 heads under Cope Street bridge bound for New Cross Gate
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The route maps at Surrey Quays & other stations had the West Croydon/Crystal Palace/Clapham branches detailed and ready beneath temporary decals showing the Dalston to New Cross/NXGate section.
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Gone but not forgotten! The last A stock trains left New Cross depot on Sunday 23 Dec 2007. Over two years later, as London Overground began its services, tracks into the old depot could still be seen

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