Silverlink North London Line

The rail operator Silverlink were originally known, after privatisation, as North London Railways. The line has sometimes been called the Gutter, to go with the Drain (Waterloo and City Line).

The North London Line runs between Richmond and North Woolwich, with a number of incredibly useful connections to other rail and tube lines. Trains are timetabled to run every 15 minutes during weekdays, but there are often delays and cancellations. In the evening, the service stops at around 11:30 p.m. If you want to use this service late into the evening, it is worth checking the timetable, as the last trains do not go beyond Stratford or Willesden Junction. Also, avoid this line at weekends without further research, as there will inevitably be part of the line closed for engineering work, and replaced with a bus service.

The line is also the one of the UK's key rail freight arteries, linking the east coast ports to the industrial heartland of the north - do not be surprised by the sight of mile-long trains of freight wagons on this apparently peaceful commuter line.

Tickets

A Travelcard including zones 2 & 3 will cover you for the entire line except Richmond, which is in Zone 4. The line weaves between zones 2 and 3 so watch out if your ticket only covers one of these zones.

London Underground single tickets are valid throughout the line as long as they cover the correct zones - for example, a Z234 single bought at Wembley Park can be used via West Hampstead to any station on the NLL, or even via the NLL to another Underground line (e.g. the ticket mentioned is valid from Wembley to Walthamstow Central if you use the NLL between West Hampstead and Highbury & Islington, then the Victoria line).

Oyster Prepay is not yet valid on the NLL. However, TfL are planning to take over branding and ticketing on the NLL and WLL, so it may become allowed in the future.

Future

The NLL will be truncated at Stratford in the future, as the DLR will take over the section between Canning Town and Stratford. The left-over section between Canning Town and North Woolwich will be largely superseded by the new DLR extension to London City Airport. Some of the alignment, including the tunnel under the Royal Docks, will be used in the future by Crossrail.

A technical note on 313 units

Apart from on the Barking service, Silverlink Trains make exclusive use of 313s on all their services. The 313 is a versatile unit, capable of being powered both by overhead electric cables via pantograph, or by third rail. It is also small enough to fit in Metropolitan Railway tube tunnels. This capability of switching power pickup is used on the North London Line, as some sections are third rail, and some have overhead cables.

The GN Electrics line also uses 313s, and switches over to third rail when heading south at Finsbury Park.

Last edited 2009-04-04 12:47:06 (version 18; diff). List all versions.