The latest stage of improvements to TfL's Overground services began earlier today as the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, helped to deliver the first of the new 'walk-through' trains that will be soon be arriving in Crystal Palace.
The Mayor was joined on platform 2 of Willesden Junction station to unveil the first of 54 new trains that will be rolled out across the Overground network betwenn now and 2012, when TfL's ambitious plan to build an orbital railway around the capital should be completed resulting in direct Overground services from Crystal Palace linking with the rest of the London Underground and Overground network.
The new three-carriage trains mirror the layout of more typical Underground carriages with flip-down seats and large standing areas but also feature driver-monitored CCTV, disabled access ramps, air conditioning, real-time information screens, wide aisles and a walk-through passenger area that makes the train feel generally more spacious and secure.
The trains will initially be able to carry up to 500 passengers (an eight percent increase compared to the existing trains), rising to 700 passengers when the trains are lengthened to four carriages in 2011.
The extension of the old East London Line to Crystal Palace is scheduled for completion in June 2010 with four trains per hour running from Crystal Palace to Highbury and Islington.