Transport for London has apologised for delays on a busy commuter rail line it recently took over and blamed trains inherited from former operator Greater Anglia for daily disruption.

Frustrated commuters using the Overground line between Chingford and Liverpool Street line have complained of regular delays and cancellations since May 31, when TfL took over the line and promised improved reliability, security and better passenger information.

One commuter, Victoria McKay, 39, from Chingford, was so angered by the poor service, she started a petition calling on TfL to keep its promises and compared the overcrowding to passengers being treated like "battery hens".

The petition has gathered over 160 signatures in 24 hours. 

TfL has now admitted that, as a result of "defective train issues", some trains were cancelled or made up of shorter carriages, but said 97 per cent of services had run on routes between Liverpool Street, Chingford, Chestnut and Enfield Town.

But figures for last week show only 89.9 per cent of trains actually ran on time.

TfL's director of London Overground, Mike Stubbs, said: "We apologise to customers for the disruption to services last week, which was primarily caused by reliability issues with the trains we inherited on the route. 

"Some of these trains are over 30 years old and we have been experiencing some technical issues with them.

"We are working hard with our operator London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL) to resolve these and improve reliability and customer satisfaction as we have done with the rest of the London Overground network."

The roll-out of 30 new electric, metro-style trains is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

The new trains will feature walk-through carriages, air-conditioning, real-time information and increased reliability, TfL has said. 

TfL has said it invested £25million in upgrading facilities along the routes by installing new ticket machines at all 23 stations, and deep cleaning stations and the current rolling stock.