Transport for London (TfL) has unveiled its ambitious proposal for a major expansion of the London Overground line, introducing a new West London Orbital route.
The scheme aims to connect several key areas, including Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, and Old Oak Common, with direct services to Hounslow in the southbound direction and Hendon and West Hampstead in the northbound direction.
The introduction of the West London Orbital line is part of the broader regeneration plan for Old Oak and Park Royal, where Old Oak Common station is set to become a new super-hub. The new Overground line, when operational, will integrate with High Speed Two (HS2) services and the Elizabeth line at Old Oak Common station. This connectivity will provide local residents with access to nearly every corner of the country.
Councillor Shama Tatler, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning, and Growth at Brent Council expressed support for the project, stating, “As part of the West London Alliance, Brent is working closely with neighbouring boroughs to support the plans for the new West London Orbital service. The new route would connect Brent to the rest of west London, opening up a wave of new opportunities for local people.”
The proposed West London Orbital scheme is currently subject to approval and funding. If approved, construction is expected to commence in 2026, with the aim of launching the service by 2029. The TfL website outlines the objectives of the proposed scheme, which include improving public transport connections in outer London, enhancing public transport capacity, and delivering new homes and jobs in west and northwest London.
Furthermore, the West London Orbital route is anticipated to offer significant journey time savings, improved interchange opportunities, and better access to jobs, services, and open spaces. It aims to provide an attractive and accessible alternative to driving, helping alleviate road congestion and improve air quality. Additionally, the scheme will support the delivery of new homes and local regeneration, while also contributing to the reduction of social, economic, and spatial inequalities.
The potential route for the West London Orbital service will utilise existing rail lines, including the Dudding Hill line, which is currently dedicated to freight services. The proposal includes the establishment of new stations along the Dudding Hill line, as well as the addition of platforms and facilities at existing stations along the route.
TfL is actively collaborating with the West London Alliance, West London borough partners, and Network Rail to develop the case for the scheme, assess engineering and timetable feasibility, and identify funding opportunities. Feasibility work is currently underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, at which point a recommended route and service frequency for the West London Orbital will be identified.
The introduction of the West London Orbital route could revolutionise public transportation in the area, aiming to offer improved connectivity, economic growth, and environmental benefits for West London and beyond.