TfL to resume Night Overground services in December 2021 following pandemic suspension
Transport for London has announced that Night Overground services will be returning in December 2021, linking key areas of the city’s night-time economy in time for London’s festive celebrations.
Credit: Transport for London
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that Night Overground services will return in December 2021 in time for London’s festive celebrations. The all-night services, which link key areas in the city’s night-time economy – such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and Upper Street in Islington – have been suspended since March 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Night Overground services between Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate will run every 15 minutes throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays from 17 December 2021, making it faster, easier and safer for thousands of Londoners to get around at night.
Restoring this service means that customers can once again easily access these diverse and buzzing areas of London, which are rich with restaurants, bars and nightspots – this is especially important as the night-time economy continues to recover following the pandemic. Re-introducing these 24-hour services at weekends will also help the 1.6 million people who work at night in London and will provide another safe transport option for all Londoners. TfL continues to run as many services as possible whilst seeking to secure the long-term, sustainable government funding needed to continue supporting London’s recovery.
These services will complement the returning Night Tube, providing a convenient interchange with the Victoria line at Highbury & Islington. This, along with easy access to Night Tube on the Central line, via a walk between Shoreditch High Street and Liverpool Street stations, will open up large parts of London and the city centre for all-night rail travel.
As London has begun to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, off-peak leisure travel has been recovering more quickly than other types of journeys, indicating that there is strong demand for services that run later into the night at the weekend. Ridership on London Overground is around 71 per cent, with weekends reaching even higher. The London Underground (Tube) network on weekdays now regularly sees more than 60 per cent of journeys compared to before the pandemic, but this has reached as high as 80 per cent at weekends; while ridership on buses is regularly at 75 per cent of pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. Overall, TfL figures indicate that use of London’s public transport network is at around 70 per cent of pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels and that millions of Londoners are returning to the transport network, showing that they have confidence that it is safe, clean and reliable.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to ensure that the Night Overground will be returning next month, linking up diverse and vibrant areas of London with all of the nightlife that they have to offer, just in time for the festive period. Coming only a few weeks after the return of the Victoria and Central Night Tube lines, this is another important milestone as London’s vibrant night-time economy continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. I am determined to make the capital as safe as possible for all Londoners, especially women and girls, and the return of the Night Overground will make a huge difference to those who are travelling home late at night, offering another quick, easy and safe way for people to travel around the city.”
Night Czar for London, Amy Lamé, commented: “Our incredible culture and hospitality businesses are gearing up for their busiest period of the year, so it really is great news that the Night Overground is on the way back. From our award-winning restaurants, bars and clubs to our magnificent grassroots live music venues, London’s night life is unrivalled all over the world. The return of the Night Overground is a great festive boost to our night time economy, not only for those who want to have a great night out, but for those who work in this vital sector, too.”
“I’m pleased that the Night Overground will closely follow the return of the Night Tube, delivering a huge boost to the night-time economy and helping our customers to get around during the busy pre-Christmas period,” said Rory O’Neill, Transport for London’s General Manager of London Overground. “An extra safe, green and affordable transport option for those working late or enjoying London at night will help to ensure that London’s recovery is strong and sustainable.”
Customer safety and security remain TfL’s top priority, and London’s public transport offers a safe, low crime environment. In addition to more than 2,500 police and police community support officers, all stations along the route are staffed at all times while trains are running, with CCTV, modern lighting and help points available across the network to assist customers as required.
In addition to the returning Night Overground and Night Tube, TfL operates one of the most extensive night bus networks in the world, with more than 100 routes running to ensure everyone can travel around the capital whatever the hour. Well over a hundred routes currently run through the night, while licensed and regulated taxis and private hire vehicles provide door to door transport at all times of the day. The Tube continues to operate between approximately 05:30 and 00:30 through central London from Monday to Saturday, and TfL has started running some trains earlier on Sunday mornings to help customers to travel at those times.