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Name change for Harrow’s London Overground line is “great recognition” for women’s sport

A name change for Harrow and Watford’s London Overground line is “great recognition” of women’s sport in Hertfordshire, local leaders have said. Transport for London has announced the stopper service between Euston and Watford – through Wembley, Harrow and Bushey – will be named the Lioness Line.

The decision “honours the historic achievements and lasting legacy created by the England women’s football team that continues to inspire and empower the next generation of women and girls in sport”, according to a TfL statement.

“It’s great to recognise the fabulous contribution of women to sports, particularly football, in the year after the Lionesses made it to the World Cup final,” said Liberal Democrat councillor Jennifer Pattinson, of Meriden ward, who is Watford Borough Council portfolio holder for wellbeing.

Name change for Harrow's London Overground line is "great recognition" for women's sport Harrow Online
Image: TfL

“We want to see a growth of grassroots women’s football in our town because it has been a very male-focused sport in the past.”

Conservative councillor Harvey Cohen, who represents Elstree ward, is Hertsmere Borough Council’s member champion for football.

The borough is home to Barclays Women’s Super League side Arsenal Women’s FC, whose domestic cup fixtures take place at Borehamwood’s Mangata Pay UK (Meadow Park) Stadium.

“This is great recognition of how well the Lionesses did and will hopefully encourage much more uptake across women’s sport,” he said.

“I am exploring options at the moment, looking at ways to increase that uptake.

“It’s not just winning that matters – it’s the Lionesses’ determination which encourages our women and girls to take up sport.

“The Lionesses’ success is a reminder that there is a structure and career for women in sport.”

Mark Bullingham, The Football Association CEO, said: “We’re so pleased to see the Mayor of London and Transport for London recognise the historic achievements of our England women’s team with the newly named Lioness Line.

Name change for Harrow's London Overground line is "great recognition" for women's sport Harrow Online
Watford High Street London Overground Station. Credit: Will Durrant/LDRS

“The line honours the incredible victory in the UEFA Women’s Euro in 2022 at Wembley Stadium and the lasting legacy this team is creating in inspiring the next generation.”

England triumphed over Germany 2-1 in the Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium. After Ella Toone’s goal in the second half, England and Germany hit the 90th minute with a 1-1 draw.

Chloe Kelly, whose senior career began with an Arsenal-Watford showdown at Meadow Park in 2015, secured England’s victory with a goal in the 110th minute. England missed out on a 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup win in Sydney in 2023 – losing out to Spain in a 1-0 final.

All six London Overground lines will feature new names and colours, announced on Thursday, February 15. The Lioness Line will feature yellow parallel lines on the map.

The Stratford to Richmond or Clapham Junction line, through Willesden Junction, will become the Mildmay Line – named after a north London hospital which cared for HIV and AIDs patients in the 1980s.

Routes from Liverpool Street out to Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, Enfield Town and Chingford will become the Weaver line, which TfL has said will recognise East London’s textile trade.

The London Overground line between Highbury and Islington and destinations in south London including New Cross and Clapham Junction will be known as the Windrush line.

The Gospel Oak to Barking line – or Goblin – will be renamed the Suffragette line, with the Romford to Upminster route to be known as the Liberty line.

Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Giving each of the Overground lines distinct colours and identities will make it simpler and easier for passengers to get around.

Name change for Harrow's London Overground line is "great recognition" for women's sport Harrow Online
Image: TfL

“In re-imagining London’s tube map, we are also honouring and celebrating different parts of London’s unique local history and culture.

“The new names and colours have been chosen through engagement with passengers, historians and local communities, reflecting the heritage and diversity of our amazing city.”

Senior London transport figures have reacted to the change of name. John Bull, London Reconnections editor, told the PA news agency that “people will grumble and moan about the names” but that has happened “every single line that has been given a name over the years”.

He said: “One of the real benefits that the Overground has brought is the ability to drive traffic that isn’t local to interesting places in zone 2, zone 3 and beyond.

“But if it’s not a familiar journey you can’t just say ‘I’m going to get on the orange line’. You have to know how they interconnect.”

Conservative MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman told MailOnline: “Another woke idea from a mayor who becomes more ridiculous every day.”

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