Sadiq Khan unveils six new London Overground names including ‘Windrush’ and ‘Suffragette’ lines

The London Overground has revealed six new names and colours for its branches as part of a rebrand, with names inspired by London’s history and culture.

The overhaul will require one of the biggest changes in the history of the capital’s Tube map and is designed to make the network easier to navigate.

The Overground’s current lines on the Tube map have been described as a “mass of orange spaghetti”, making it difficult for some passengers to work out which train they need.

The Overground will have six different colours rather than remaining a ‘mass of orange spaghetti’ (TfL)
The Overground will have six different colours rather than remaining a ‘mass of orange spaghetti’ (TfL)

London mayor Sadiq Khan announced on Thursday the six branches would now be called Lioness, Mildmay, Windrush, Weaver, Suffragette and Liberty.

London Overground lines have all been coloured orange on the map since the network was created in 2007, but the overhaul will see each route represented on Tube maps as parallel lines in different colours.

Mr Khan said: “There are so many fascinating, and often forgotten, stories from our city that should be told and remembered. Naming the lines will not only help educate visitors about our amazing city and its incredible history but will also make it easier for people who live, work or visit London to navigate the city.”

Here we take a look at the new names and colours for the Overground’s six branches:

The Mildmay line

The North London line also known as the Overground Richmond/Clapham Junction-Stratford will now be known as the Mildmay line and will be coloured blue.

The Mildmay line runs through Dalston and commemorates the Mildmay Mission Hospital in Shoreditch which worked to care for patients with HIV/AIDs in the 1980s.

The Lioness line

The Overground Watford Junction to Euston branch which runs through Wembley will now be yellow and named the Lioness line after the footballing legacy created by England’s women’s football team.

The Windrush line

The line running from Highbury & Islington to West Croydon through New Cross Gate, with branches to New Cross, Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace will be named the Windrush line to honour the Windrush generation and Carribean communities and coloured red.

The Weaver line

Liverpool Street to Enfield Town/Cheshunt/Chingford will be made maroon and named the Weaver line to honour the area’s textile heritage.

The Liberty line

The Romford to Upminister route will be named the Liberty line to reflect the importance of freedom in the capital city and to reference the motto of the London Borough of Havering. It will be coloured grey.

The Suffragette line

Passengers travelling from Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside will now board the green Suffragette line to honour the women who fought for female liberation in the early 20th century.

The renaming of an Overground line after the Windrush generation has been widely lauded by members of the British public.

“Deeply moved to tears that my home train station (Clapham Junction) is part of the new train line rebrand and will be named WINDRUSH LINE – a wonderful homage to my grandparents’ generation who are victims of the hostile environment and pioneers of rebuilding postwar Britain,” publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove wrote on X/Twitter.

“Love this! I now proudly live on the Windrush Line,” another online user said.

However, some people have suggested the gesture rings hollow in light of the government’s failure to secure justice for all victims of the Windrush scandal through its compensation scheme.

“I like the idea of honouring the Windrush Generation with a tube line, statues etc. But there is a part of me that feels so sad that some members of the Windrush generation and their affected descendants are STILL waiting for their compensation after the scandal,” journalist Sinai Fleary posted on X/Twitter.

Writer Natalie Morris said: “A Windrush overground line. A Windrush statue at Waterloo station... How about instead of all of this we first focus on paying the estimated 15,000 compensation claims of Windrush Scandal victims? At least 53 people are known to have died while waiting for their money.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (City Hall)
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (City Hall)

On Wednesday, Mr Khan called on prime minister Rishi Sunak to speed up access to the Windrush compensation scheme by reducing the burden of proof on claimants and helping victims with losses to private pensions and future earnings, which the scheme doesn’t currently do.

In a letter sent to Mr Sunak, seen exclusively by The Independent, Mr Khan wrote: “Although there is still more to do, your response to the Post Office scandal has been an example of how quickly the government can respond to correct injustices.

“Unfortunately, the lack of progress on ending the Windrush scandal displays a lack of will on the government’s part to show up for the Windrush generation.”

Meanwhile, researchers at University College London have found a sharp downturn in mental health for Black Caribbean people in the wake of tougher Home Office policies brought in by Theresa May when she was home secretary.