The four shortlisted bidders are:

  • Arriva Rail London
  • LoKeGo (a joint venture between Keolis and Go-Ahead)
  • Metroline Rail (a subsidiary of Singapore-based public transport operator ComfortDelGro), and
  • MTR Corporation

All documentation will be issued to the shortlisted bidders by the end of next month and TfL expects bids to be submitted by mid-October. The concession will run for a minimum term of seven-and-a-half years, with an option for an extension of up to two years.

The new concession will encompass all London Overground lines, including the West Anglia lines from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt, and Chingford, which, together with the Romford - Upminster branch, recently came under TfL control. A new fleet of 45 Bombardier trains will be introduced on these lines from 2018 onwards.

Frequencies on the North London Line will be boosted from eight to ten trains per hour and the contract will include options for an all-night service at weekends from 2017, together with the proposed extension of Gospel Oak - Barking services to Barking Riverside.

TfL says the new operator will be expected to "deliver sustained improvements in performance levels" on the network, which has seen traffic grow dramatically since TfL took over operations in 2007. London Overground now carries around 176 million passengers per year, or 585,000 passengers per day.