Overground Network (abbreviated on or ON) was a branding initiative
launched in 2003 by the
Strategic Rail Authority
Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and Transport
London (TfL), the public transport authority in London, England.
Its aim was to encourage use of
National Rail services in South
London. The project was a partnership between the SRA, TfL, three
train operating companies (Connex South Eastern, South Central Trains
and South West Trains), the South and West
London Transport Conference
(SWELTRAC) and the South East
London Transport Strategy (SELTRANS).
The scheme is no longer being promoted and the Overground Network
project has since been abandoned. As of 2014[update], the "ON" logo
can still be seen on a few railway stations around South London.
Overground Network should not be confused with
London Overground (LO),
which is the official brand name of a rail service managed by
Transport for London.
Notice that in the past, before
London Overground, common usage within
London of the term "overground" was used in reference to any National
Rail line, in order to distinguish it from the Underground.
2 Control of rail services
4 The ON brand
5 End of the brand
7 See also
9 External links
Suburban rail services in London, as in the rest of Great Britain, are
run on a system of rail franchises and operated by a number of private
train operating companies, managed by National Rail.
London is poorly served by the
London Underground network, but
does have a large number of suburban rail lines. Transport studies had
suggested that the public perceived the South
London rail network as
confusing, with multiple operators and a lack of consistent
information design, in contrast to the clarity of
A pilot scheme was launched on 30 September 2003 to bring National
Rail services operated by multiple companies at 41 stations under one
branding umbrella within London.
Control of rail services
Unlike the today's
London Overground, TfL exercised no operational or
regulatory control over rail services on the Overground Network, but
funded station improvements such as standardised information
presentation, branded signage,
CCTV and lighting. Operational powers
remained with the individual train operators.
In 2004 TfL put forward proposals for a "
London Regional Rail
Authority" to be established, which would give TfL regulatory powers
over rail services in and around Greater London. The Department for
Transport considered that granting operational control of rail
services to the
London mayor would result in fragmentation of the
National Rail system. Out of these proposals evolved a new
mechanism for giving the
London mayor more control over rail services
within London, and
London Overground was established as a National
Rail franchise managed by TfL in 2007. This new system, mostly in
North London, was the successor to the
Overground Network pilot. ON
was quietly forgotten and TfL now promotes LO as its rail service.
Overground Network pilot was a branding exercise and did not
include any new ticketing policies. When
London Overground was
launched, it was fully integrated into TfL's ticketing network from
its launch, including full acceptance of the
Oyster card electronic
smartcard system. This ticketing policy was not extended to the
former Overground Network, and for a number of years Oyster card
pay-as-you-go tickets were not valid at stations bearing the "ON"
brand, despite the similarity of the two network brand names. In
Oyster card was fully rolled out across National Rail
services in London, and Oyster pay-as-you-go is now valid across the
London rail network, including the former "ON" system.
The ON brand
Sign at Richmond
Overground Network branding
Feltham railway station, with "ON" signage outside (far right)
ON line map at Norwood Junction station
Overground Network brand,
Transport for London
Transport for London introduced
consistent information displays, station signage and maps on selected
routes in South London, along with prominent "ON" branding on station
exteriors. Railway stations selected for the
Overground Network were
those with a service frequency of 4 or more trains per hour to a
London terminus. The scheme sought to encourage metro-style usage of
these services. A diagrammatic map of the
Overground Network was
published to support passenger information provision, showing
high-frequency routes in colour, with Underground and Tramlink
connections. The ON branding was not applied to trains, which
retained the livery of the individual train operating companies.
The "ON" brand was conceived by the brand agency Fitch and featured a
logo formed from orange-coloured, lower-case "ON" initials. The
letter "N" was stylised to look like a rounded arrow pointing down,
with an arrow cutout shape penetrating upwards.
Although this pilot was purely an exercise in branding, this was the
first instance of TfL having a visible influence over National Rail
services in London. The
Overground Network pilot has since been
As of September 2006[update], the scheme had not been expanded.
However, TfL has helped fund several similar station upgrade
programmes including enhanced passenger information and line guides
without applying the "on" branding, leaving the future of the scheme
in doubt. The
Overground Network website was shut down in February
2007, and now redirects to the TfL pages for
End of the brand
According to a talk given by Innes Ferguson of TfL at the London
Transport Museum on 24 September 2007, the
Overground Network scheme
is now "dead"; the logo is no longer being used on Train Operating
Companies' (TOCs) publicity material nor is the network being promoted
by TfL. He added that whilst TfL funded the installation of Overground
Network "on" signage at appropriate
National Rail stations, it is
being left to individual TOCs to remove these at their own expense,
hence the many that remain in situ in 2008.
In 2006, TfL launched
London Overground, a similar but more
comprehensive scheme in north
London unrelated to Overground Network.
Again, according to Innes Ferguson, TfL's medium-term aspiration is
for the former to be expanded to cover other
National Rail services in
London and the South-East, either by direct TfL operation through a
concession-holder (as with the ex-Silverlink routes) or by a TOC
agreeing to operate under the
London Overground "brand".
These routes were part of the scheme, and carried the on branding on
Kingston Loop Line
Waterloo to Teddington via Wimbledon (South West Trains)
Waterloo to Reading Line
Waterloo to Twickenham via Richmond (South West Trains)
Sutton & Mole Valley Lines
Victoria to East and West Croydon via Norbury (Southern)
Greenwich Line/North Kent Line
London Bridge to Dartford via Greenwich (Connex South Eastern)
Additionally, these routes were shown on the network map as having 4
Waterloo to Epsom, Surbiton, Staines and Hounslow.
Victoria to Epsom, Peckham Rye and Bromley South
London Bridge to Crystal Palace and Smitham.
Blackfriars to Streatham and East Croydon.
Charing Cross and Cannon Street to Crayford, Blackheath and Hayes
Network NorthWest - a short-lived brand used for rail services in
North West England in 1989
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Overground Network.
Overground Network official website". Archived from the original on 3
London Rail". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 7
"Overground Network". AlwaysTouchOut.com. Archived from the original