Ian Wright line, Brunel line, Goblin line: Londoners give their verdicts on the Overground rebrand

15 February 2024, 13:00 | Updated: 15 February 2024, 13:33

Ian Wright is among the previous suggestions for one of the Overground line names
Ian Wright is among the previous suggestions for one of the Overground line names. Picture: Alamy/TfL

By Kit Heren

The six Overground lines have been rebranded to clear up confusion and celebrate London's diversity - but some people think transport bosses should have given the lines different names.

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The Overground - formed as a network in 2007 - has previously been referred to as a single entity, and has had orange branding throughout.

Sadiq Khan said some people had found this confusing, so has spent over £6 million giving each of the lines their own identity, including separate names and colours.

The names are: Lioness, Mildmay, Windrush, Weaver, Suffragette and Liberty.

Mr Khan and Transport for London (TfL) bosses said these names celebrated London's heritage and diversity.

But TfL did not consult the general public on the names, choosing instead to work with community organisations, historians and other groups.

And some people have spoken out after the names were revealed with their own suggestions.

Read more: ‘Not everyone is going to be happy’: Sadiq Khan defends £6.3m London Overground 'Lioness and Suffragette' rebrand

Read more: The Lioness Line! Windrush and Suffragette among new names for London Overground lines after £6 million rebrand

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan during a visit to Highbury and Islington underground station, north London, to announce that London Overground services will be split into separate lines
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan during a visit to Highbury and Islington underground station, north London, to announce that London Overground services will be split into separate lines. Picture: Alamy

A popular alternative suggestion for the Windrush line was 'Ian Wright'. The line runs from Highbury and Islington in the north to various destinations in south London.

Wright was from Brockley, which is on the line, and played for Arsenal, about a mile north of Highbury and Islington, as well as Crystal Palace, one of the line's southern termini.

Some also said the Windrush line could have been called the Brunel line, after father-son duo Marc and Isambard, who built the Thames tunnel from Rotherhithe to Wapping through which the trains pass.

Others suggested more geographical themes for the lines, such as the North London line, Lea Valley line or the East London line, which are the older names for routes that have since been merged into the Overground.

A sign for the new Windrush line which was unveiled by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
A sign for the new Windrush line which was unveiled by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Picture: Alamy

Some said they would have preferred the Suffragette line to have been officially named the Goblin line, the nickname used by some passengers.

The line takes its name from its termini, Gospel Oak and Barking Riverside.

The Mildmay line, running from Stratford to Richmond/Clapham Junction, and connecting the Olympic Stadium with Kensington Olympia, could have been called the Olympic line, some said.

The new lines
The new lines. Picture: TfL

The renamed lines are:

  • The Lioness line: Euston to Watford Junction, running through Wembley. TfL said it "honours the historic achievements and lasting legacy created by the England women's football team". It will be yellow parallel lines on the map.

  • The Mildmay line: Stratford to Richmond/Clapham Junction, running through Dalston, "honours the small charitable hospital in Shoreditch" which is notable for "its pivotal role in the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s". It will be blue parallel lines on the map.

  • The Windrush line: Highbury & Islington to Clapham Junction/New Cross/Crystal Palace/West Croydon. It runs through areas "with strong ties to Caribbean communities today, such as Dalston Junction, Peckham Rye and West Croydon and honours the Windrush generation". It will be red parallel lines on the map.

  • The Weaver line: Liverpool Street to Cheshunt/Enfield Town/Chingford. The line runs through Liverpool Street, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green and Hackney, which are "areas of London known for their textile trade, shaped over the centuries by diverse migrant communities and individuals. "It will be maroon parallel lines on the map.

  • The Suffragette line: Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside, which "celebrates how the working-class movement in the East End, fought for votes for woman and paved the way for women's rights". It runs to Barking, which was the home of the longest surviving Suffragette, Annie Huggett, who died at 103. It will be green parallel lines on the map.

  • The Liberty line: Romford to Upminster, which "celebrates the freedom that is a defining feature of London and references the historical independence of the people of Havering", through which it runs. It will be grey parallel lines on the map.
Ian Wright
Ian Wright. Picture: Alamy

The rebrand will take place over a week in the autumn and is set to cost £6.3 million. It will come out of Sadiq Khan's Greater London Authority budget.

The majority of the rebrand money will go towards updating customer information, including redesigning and redisplaying maps across all Tube and London Overground stations, and issuing new versions in print and online.

Public address announcements will be re-recorded and around 6,000 station direction signs will be updated.

Defending the rebrand decision on Thursday, Mr Khan insisted that the names have pleased "most people".

An Overground train in north-west London
An Overground train in north-west London. Picture: Alamy

He said: "It’s been a long process, we’ve been engaging with customers, communities, people across our city.

"We’ve announced the six names today, not everyone’s going to be happy but we think we’ve managed to please most people which is really important."

Mr Khan's Conservative opponent Susan Hall is among critics of the rebrand, who said it represented "virtue signalling".

Keith Prince, transport spokesman for the Conservatives in City Hall, labelled the rebrand a “wasted opportunity”.

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