Latest Rail News

06.12.16

Khan frustrated as Grayling halts London rail devolution plans

The government has announced that suburban rail services may not be devolved to London after all, frustrating the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan.

Earlier this year, the government signed a prospectus which stated suburban services operated by Southern, Southeastern and South West Trains could be devolved to Transport for London (TfL) in 2020 or 2021 when the current franchises end. Khan has previously argued that giving TfL control of trains would be the only way to improve passenger service.

However, transport secretary Chris Grayling has said that he only wants TfL to be “closely involved” in developing services for now, potentially ruling out devolution to London until the mid-2020s at the earliest.

“The only proven way of improving services for passengers is giving control of suburban rail lines to TfL. This is why the government and previous mayor published a joint prospectus earlier this year,” Khan said.

“Anything short of this simply won't make the improvements desperately needed. It is a fact, TfL lines have more frequent trains, fewer delays and cancellations, more staff at stations and fares are frozen. We will keep pushing the government to deliver the rail devolution they have promised and that is needed”

Khan’s office has argued that London’s metro-style measures would be superior for its suburban rail services, leading to fewer cancellations and delays, putting forward the case of London Overground where train delays lowered by 42% in the three years after it launched. Khan also plans to extend TfL’s fares freeze to the services.

The detailed business case that Khan provided to the DfT for devolution in October argued that the change would bring about more reliable services, improved customer service, and better access for disabled people at no cost to the government.

The business case also showed that the delivery of 80,000 homes across south London could be enabled or sped up by devolution.

However, today Grayling instead announced an overhaul which will see closer integration between TOCs and Network Rail over maintenance and services, bringing together tracks and trains for the first time on the British railway since the mid-1990s.

Grayling said that he expected the Southeastern franchise, which Khan had hoped to take over in 2018, will be one of the first to have an “integrated operating team”.

However, he clarified that a representative from TfL will be invited to join the team so that it can be “more closely involved” in its development.

(Image c. Yui Mok, PA Wire)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Noam   07/12/2016 at 13:05

This is a real shame. The improvements TfL have brought in on 'Overground' branded routes have been transformational. Of course you wouldn't see the same frequency boosts on the complex South London network, but the vastly better station offering, with longer staffing hours, would be very welcome. Most major continental cities have a separately branded and promoted urban heavy rail network, typically 'S-Bahn' in German-speaking regions and 'RER' in French-speaking ones. Extending 'Overground' branding to all 'all stations' services operating in London would offer the same idea. Ideally the same principle would be extended to any major urban area with 'all stations' services, to mimic London Overground or Merseyrail. IT would even work for Bristol and Exeter, as well as the more obvious West Midlands and northern cities.

Lutz   08/12/2016 at 12:52

This is a welcome development. The means by which TfL would achieve its objectives was not made clearly to the public and there were many unanswered questions. It is good to see that a little common sense has prevailed. A more detailed assessment is required before devolution to TfL could be considered a practical option.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

14/05/2019Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

Scrapping the £56bn HS2 project could pave the way for 28 separate local infrastructure schemes to be funded instead with the case “g... more >
DfT calls for new technology to transform transport accessibility, but union warns against ‘faceless’ railway

14/05/2019DfT calls for new technology to transform transport accessibility, but union warns against ‘faceless’ railway

The DfT has called for new technologies to revolutionise travel for older people and those with disabilities, but the RMT has “reacted with... more >
First leg of HS2 ‘passing the point of no return’ due to amount of money already invested, says NAO head

13/05/2019First leg of HS2 ‘passing the point of no return’ due to amount of money already invested, says NAO head

HS2 is on the “verge of passing the point of no return” and the amount of money spent would make scrapping the flagship project &ldqu... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Making the railways safer and more reliable with Ze-Power

13/05/2019Making the railways safer and more reliable with Ze-Power

Professor Meiling Zhu, chair of mechanical engineering and head of the Energy Harvesting Research Group (EHRG) at the University of Exeter, intro... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

13/05/2019The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), gives her view on the state of the UK’s ... more >
NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

13/05/2019NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) chief executive Neil Robertson returns to write for RTM, this time, to assess the digital skills shor... more >
Delivering cost-effective electrification

13/05/2019Delivering cost-effective electrification

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), sets out the findings of a new report on how rail electrification can... more >
5G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

13/05/20195G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

Simon Holmes, group head of digital (engineering) at FirstGroup, introduces us to the 5G solution being delivered for the rail sector.  ... more >