Silverlink was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by National Express Group that operated the North London Railways franchise from March 1997 until November 2007. At the end of 2007 metro services were taken over by London Overground and Silverlink county services were taken over by London Midland.
- 1 History
- 2 Branding
- 3 Performance
- 4 Silverlink in the News
- 5 Rolling stock
- 6 Depots
- 7 Demise
- 8 References
- 9 External links
After initially trading as North London Railways, in September 1997 the franchise was rebranded as Silverlink.
Silverlink had two sub-brands:
- Silverlink Metro for Stratford - Richmond, Willesden Junction - Clapham Junction, London Euston - Watford Junction via Willesden Junction, and Gospel Oak - Barking services.
- Silverlink County for London Euston - Birmingham New Street, Watford Junction - St Albans Abbey and Bletchley - Bedford services.
Silverlink Metro operated these services.
Note: Changes during the franchise period are noted but changes to the lines before and after the franchise are not.
|Richmond (change for District line)|
|Kew Gardens (change for District line)|
|Gunnersbury (change for District line)|
|Willesden Junction (change for Bakerloo line, West London Line and Watford DC Line)|
|West Hampstead (change for Jubilee line and First Capital Connect)|
|Finchley Road & Frognal|
|Gospel Oak (change for Gospel Oak - Barking Line)|
|Kentish Town West|
|Caledonian Road & Barnsbury|
|Highbury & Islington (change for Victoria line)|
|Stratford (change for Central line, Jubilee line, Docklands Light Railway, c2c (limited services - early morning, late night and during engineering works only) and National Express East Anglia)|
|West Ham †|
|Canning Town †|
|Custom House †|
|North Woolwich †|
† At the end of service on Saturday 9 December 2006 the line between Stratford and North Woolwich closed, as much of the route was duplicated by the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee line, leaving Stratford as the eastern terminus of the North London Line.
|Willesden Junction (change for North London Line, Watford DC Line and Bakerloo line)|
|Kensington (Olympia) (change for District line and Southern)|
|West Brompton (change for District line and Southern)|
|Clapham Junction (change for South West Trains and Southern)|
Shepherd's Bush on the West London Line was due to open under the franchise (with signage in Silverlink colours installed), but platform widening work meant that it finally opened in September 2008 under London Overground management, the signage being replaced with the London Overground roundels by that time.
|London Euston (change for Northern line, Victoria line, London Midland and Virgin)|
|Kilburn High Road|
|Queen's Park †|
|Kensal Green †|
|Willesden Junction † (change for North London Line and West London Line)|
|Stonebridge Park †|
|Wembley Central † (change for Southern during the peaks)|
|North Wembley †|
|South Kenton †|
|Harrow & Wealdstone † (change for Northampton Line and Southern)|
|Watford High Street|
|Watford Junction (change for Northampton Line, St Albans Abbey Line, Virgin and Southern)|
† = also served by the Bakerloo line.
|Gospel Oak (change for North London Line)|
|Harringay Green Lanes|
|Blackhorse Road (change for Victoria line)|
|Walthamstow Queens Road|
|Leyton Midland Road|
|Leytonstone High Road|
|Barking (change for District line, Hammersmith & City line and c2c)|
Northampton Line services ran on the slow lines of the West Coast Main Line.
|London Euston (change for Watford DC Line and Virgin)|
|Harrow and Wealdstone (change for Watford DC Line and Southern)|
|Watford Junction (change for Watford DC Line, St Albans Abbey Line, Virgin and Southern)|
|Bletchley (change for Marston Vale Line)|
|Milton Keynes Central|
|Northampton (change for Central Trains)|
|Watford Junction (change for Northampton Line, Virgin, Watford DC Line and Southern)|
|St Albans Abbey|
|Bletchley (change for Northampton Line)|
|Bedford St Johns|
|Bedford (change for First Capital Connect and East Midlands Trains)|
Silverlink was categorised as a London and South East operator by the Office for Rail Regulation (ORR) and was one of the best performing TOCs in this sector with a PPM (Public Performance Measure) of 90.8% for the last quarter of the financial year 2006/7. This figure is for the whole of the day, as opposed to just peak services for which their performance is lower. The figures are slightly down from the previous year, but remain above the sector level of 89.0%.
Despite published performance figures the Silverlink Metro franchise on the North London Line was regarded by frequent travellers as offering a poor service, with extremely congested trains and an unreliable service with some trains cancelled shortly before they are due to arrive. A London Assembly report described the service as "shabby, unreliable, unsafe and overcrowded". The recent transfer of the service to Transport for London (TfL) has the potential to improve the quality of the service  due to upgrade plans  which coincide with the extension of the East London line.
A report on the future of the line can be found on the London Assembly website.
- On Tuesday 24 January 2006, London Mayor Ken Livingstone called for all Silverlink stations to be staffed after the murder of City lawyer Thomas Rhys Pryce near Kensal Green station.
- On Friday 16 July 2004, Virgin Trains announced that it was withdrawing most of its stops at Milton Keynes Central, which were used by up to 6,000 passengers a day. Commuters became unhappy at the prospect of switching to older Silverlink trains, and a longer journey. Silverlink countered this with the temporary usage of ex-Virgin stock, still in Virgin colours.
- On Monday 7 June 2004, a Silverlink train carrying about 50 passengers derailed as it entered Northampton. No-one was injured.
To replace the Class 117 and 121s, seven Class 150s were transferred from Central Trains in summer 1999, with an eighth following in 2006. Pending their arrival Silverlink hired Class 31s from Fragonset to top and tail Mark 2 carriages on Bletchley - Bedford services in 1998/99.
The Strategic Rail Authority decided to divert thirty four-carriage Siemens Desiro carriages from an order made by South West Trains to provide stock with faster acceleration for the West Coast Main Line operators. They were not allocated to a specific operator but a shared fleet used by both Silverlink and Central Trains, both being National Express TOCs.
While awaiting these to arrive, from September 2004 Silverlink introduced two former Virgin Trains Mark 3 sets hauled by Virgin Trains Class 87s and EWS Class 90s on peak hour Northampton services as well as hiring five Class 321s from National Express sister fleet One.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Train Numbers||Routes operated||Built||Period used||Notes|
|Class 121 Bubble Car||DMU||70||112||4||55023/27/29/31||Gospel Oak - Barking Line
Marston Vale Line
|1960||1997-2001||Replaced by Class 150|
|Class 150 Sprinter||75||120||8||150120-150121, 150123, 150127-150131||Silverlink Metro:
Gospel Oak - Barking Line
North London Line
West London Line
Watford DC Line
1997 - 2001
|Class 321||100||160||37||321401-321437||Silverlink County:
St Albans Abbey Line
|Class 350 Desiro||100||160||30||350101-350130||Silverlink County:
|2004–2005||2004–2007||Built for Central Trains and Silverlink regional express services and Central Trains CityLink services on the southern section of the West Coast Main Line|
|Class 508||75||120||3||508301-508303||Silverlink Metro:
Watford DC Line
|1979 - 1980
In 2006 Alstom proposed closing Willesden. Closure would have left the Class 508s homeless and the Class 313s having to return to Bletchley Depot which was due to close. On 12 May 2007 Silverlink took over direct running of the depot and its staff for the final six months of its franchise.
As part of a wider redrawing of the rail franchise map by the Department of Transport, the Silverlink network was to be broken up when it was renewed in November 2007.
The Silverlink Metro services were moved to the control of Transport for London under the banner of the London Overground. On 19 June 2007 Transport for London announced it had awarded the London Overground concession to a Laing Rail/MTR joint venture.
The Silverlink County services were merged with the Central Trains services around Birmingham to create a new West Midlands franchise. On 22 June 2007 the Department for Transport announced it had awarded the West Midlands franchise to Govia.
- Companies House extract company no 3007935 Silverlink Train Services Limited
- "NX Awarded North London Railways Franchise". National Express Group. 7 February 1997.
- "UK Activity Report - National Express". 30 September 1997.
- "Silverlink franchise extended to November 2007" (PDF). 11 August 2006.
- "Stratford-North Woolwich service to be withdrawn". Silverlink. 8 December 2006.
- "National Rail Trends 2006-2007 Q4" (PDF).
- "Silverlink rises to second position in the national performance league". 18 September 2006. Retrieved 26 October 2007. Association of Train Operating Companies  Press Releases
- Sharp, Rachel (24 October 2007). "TfL to take on rail network". Ealing Times. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
- "Braced for rail strikes". Hackney Gazette. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
- London Assembly - Light at end of the tunnel for London's forgotten railway
- Always Touch Out - London Overground & Orbirail
- London Assembly - London's forgotten railway (PDF)
- "Night staff for unmanned stations". BBC. 24 January 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2007.
We will not consider any bid for a franchise that does not include that complete commitment that staff will be at every station throughout its entire opening hours
- "Commuters angry over train switch". BBC. 16 July 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2007.
- "Train with 50 passengers derails". BBC. 7 June 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2007.
- Today's Railways UK Issue 63 March 2007 Page 37
- Sevens on the "Cobblers" 2004/2005 87015aewn
- MTRLaing appointed to run London Overground TheRailwayCentre.Com 19 June 2007
- Govia wins franchise for West Midlands rail The Telegraph 22 June 2007
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Silverlink.|
- Silverlink Trains website (now redirects to London Midland)
- National Express Group website
- Transport for London website
- Department For Transport Railways page
As part of British Rail
|Operator of North London Railways franchise
1997 — 2007
West Midlands franchise
London Overground concession