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East London Line reopens

After three years of work by Transport For London, a very old railway line reopens in London. Celebrations took place, including free travel on the day, balloons at the stations and a mass of travel fans admiring the new style carriages.

Before it closed in 2007, I used the old East London Line frequently to visit family in south London. The trains were noisy and dirty, stations run down and the service not always so reliable. The line is one of oldest in the London underground network. It's history dates back to 1869, including using the Thames Tunnel which was originally intended for horse drawn carriages. When the zones where introduced, it was the only underground line not entering zone 1.

Officially opened on 23rd May 2010, the new extension to the London Overground network runs from Dalston Junction in north London to the south serving West Croydon, Crystal Palace and New Cross.  Dalston Junctions was festooned with balloons, the clean modern ticket hall had staff greeting people and giving advice. The station felt spacious, like my impression the first time I went to Stanstead Airport. The line boast 20 new trains and four new stations. The service runs every five minutes and is more designed as a hop-on, hop off service than a long journey.

The carriage were designed like some of the tube trains with the shining new seats on the edges facing inwards, with lots of space for standing passengers Gone are the rattles of the old carriages and the new trains are  quiet with comfortable air conditioning. Most notably are the lack of doors at each end of the carriage leading to the next. Instead a few carriages are joined together as one long line and you can see all the way. Carriages are joined together with rubber seals - I am sure they stole them from the bendy buses. The new stations it passed looked like those on raised parts of Docklands Railway.

Time will tell if this is a good investment. But for me this is most welcomed and I'll be using it frequently.

See my East London Line photos on Flickr.

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