London Overground rail lines will be given individual names and colours to make the network easier to navigate.

The six names will be Lioness, Mildmay, Windrush, Weaver, Suffragette and Liberty, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced.

They were chosen to honour and celebrate “different parts of London’s unique local history and culture”, he said.

The overhaul will require one of the biggest changes in the history of the capital’s Tube map.

London Overground lines have all been coloured orange on the map since the network was created in 2007 when Transport for London (TfL) took control of services on four suburban rail lines.

The network has expanded significantly since then, creating what has been described as a “mass of orange spaghetti” on maps, making it difficult for some passengers to work out what train they need.

London Overground rail lines renamed
The new London Overground map (Transport for London)

Each route will be represented on Tube maps as parallel lines in different colours.

On a visit to Highbury & Islington station on Thursday, Mr Khan told the PA news agency: “I’m really excited to be announcing six distinct lines now have six distinct names and six distinct colours.

“The London Overground is now a massive success. Three million passengers use these lines every week.

“We’ve now got six different lines and 113 stations. Finding your way around the London Overground is a nightmare.

“We’re making it easier to way find, making it easier to go from Croydon to Enfield.

“We’ve engaged with customers, with local communities, with historians, with industry experts to get the six best possible names and I’m incredibly proud to announce them today.”

London Overground rail lines renamed
The new London Tube map (Transport for London)

Keith Prince, transport spokesman for the Conservatives in City Hall, claimed the changes are “a wasted opportunity”.

He said: “Sadiq Khan and TfL could have earned tens of millions of pounds by offering naming rights to Overground train lines.

“This money could have been invested in much needed upgrades to Central line trains and other infrastructure.”

Mr Khan revealed that TfL did consider selling the naming rights commercially.

He said: “We’ve looked at sponsorship and other issues as well. The key thing was to make sure the lines have a link with the communities they are from.

“We have got deals in relation to sponsoring individual stations for a certain time of the year.

“We look at other ways of maximising incomes through the surplus property we have.”

Andy Lord, London’s transport commissioner, said: “The network – which has grown quite considerably since 2007 – is currently shown as a complicated network of orange on maps.

“This can be confusing for customers less familiar with the network and could be a barrier for some wanting to use the London Overground.”

Barking Riverside rail extension
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan poses in a carriage of a London Overground train (Yui Mok/PA)

The changes are estimated to cost £6.3 million, which will be paid for out of Mr Khan’s Greater London Authority budget.

The majority of this will go towards updating customer information such as 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.

The rebranding will be rolled out over a week in the autumn.

John Bull, editor of transport website London Reconnections, said giving the lines names and colours is “an overdue change”.

He told PA: “One of the real benefits that the Overground has brought is the ability to drive traffic that isn’t local to interesting places in Zone 2, Zone 3 and beyond.

“But if it’s not a familiar journey you can’t just say ‘I’m going to get on the orange line’. You have to know how they interconnect.”

Mr Bull predicted that “people will grumble and moan about the names” but that has happened for “every single line that has been given a name over the years”.

He added: “Frankly, it’s nice to have some stuff that represents things that have changed the lives of Londoners, among the references to queens that have tended to accrue up until now.”

The most recent major naming of a rail line in London was the Elizabeth line after Queen Elizabeth II, which opened in May 2022.

The names and colours for London Overground lines will be:
– The Lioness line between Euston and Watford Junction (yellow).
This honours the England women’s football team winning Euro 2022 at Wembley, which is on the line.

– The Mildmay line between Stratford and Richmond/Clapham Junction (blue).
The Mildmay Mission Hospital in Shoreditch specialises in treating patients with HIV-related illnesses.

– The Windrush line between Highbury & Islington and Clapham Junction/New Cross/Crystal Palace/West Croydon (red).
The name honours the Windrush generation, who came to the UK from the Caribbean to fill labour shortages after the Second World War. The line runs through areas with communities linked to the Caribbean.

– The Weaver line between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt/Enfield Town/Chingford (maroon).
The line runs through areas known for the textile trade.

– The Suffragette line between Gospel Oak and Barking Riverside (green).
This is in tribute to the movement that fought for votes for women. Barking was home to suffragette Annie Huggett, who lived to 103.

– The Liberty line between Romford and Upminster (grey).
This celebrates how Havering, which the line runs through, historically had more self-governance through being a royal liberty.