Latest Rail News

02.09.16

Transport secretary doesn’t ‘believe for a moment’ that TfL should run Southern

The new transport secretary has dismissed an offer from the mayor of London for TfL to take over the troubled Southern franchise.

Chris Grayling’s remarks came after he announced that the government would give £20m to Southern to try to solve the problems on the network, which have forced it to cancel 341 services a day.

Khan wrote to Grayling after he took office in July, saying that TfL should take over the franchise immediately from its current operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

In a radio interview, Grayling said: “I don’t believe for a moment that TfL has the skills to run the mainline from London to Brighton, and why should the mayor of London run trains that run between Southampton and Brighton? That’s not right.”

“The last thing passengers need is a big reorganisation,” he added. “What they need is somebody to sort the problems.”

Grayling denied that Khan’s suggestion had pressured him to introduce the changes, saying he’d been “looking carefully” at the best solution to Southern’s problems before announcing the new measures.

However, he cautioned that the changes would not “sort the world overnight”.

Grayling said that “the biggest challenge” to Southern was “the industrial action, but also the unofficial action”.

RMT has announced its fifth Southern conductors’ strike of the year, which will take place on 7 and 8 September.

Southern has also reported a higher rate of conductors requesting sick days since the strikes started, which Grayling said were “clearly part of a concerted attempt to put the rail company under pressure”.

“That’s a matter for the management and the unions to sort out,” he said. “The union should stop doing this, in my opinion.”

In an appearance before the Transport Select Committee in July, Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, denied that the sickness absences were organised and blamed them on “increased levels of stress”.

Grayling said there was a long-term need to modernise Southern “properly” in order to solve its problems.

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Comments

Andrew Gwilt   02/09/2016 at 12:27

London Overground could be ideal & to extend the East London Line to East Croydon, Cattenham Corner, Caterham, Epsom, Epsom Downs, Purley Oaks and Purley. Unless TfL Rail is optional for suburban routes across South London to/from London Bridge, London Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street & Blackfriars.

Michael Holden   02/09/2016 at 18:04

This is way more complicated that many people want to make out. The ELL runs 16tph at the moment - very little scope to run extra trains to anywhere on the existing Southern network. Then they are all restricted to 5 cars, whereas Southern can operate 10 cars on Metro services today and 12 where platform lengths allow. Service frequency on Southern Metro routes is limited by junction and terminal capacity. To get up to 4tph would require investment in flying junctions at various places plus additional turnround capability or through running to somewhere. Then the whole Brighton Main Line is running to capacity, and needs service simplification in order to improve reliability. Transferring service to TfL Rail solves none of this on its own.

David   02/09/2016 at 22:38

Nobody in any official position has suggested extending the East London Line. In any case your comments are in contradiction.

Andrew Gwilt   03/09/2016 at 13:47

Well TfL are hoping to take over the South London suburban routes if Mayor of London does agree to let TfL take over and TfL Rail not only operating the Liverpool St-Shenfield route but also the suburban routes in & out of London Bridge & London Victoria.

Andrew Gwilt   03/09/2016 at 13:50

David. Shut up will you. What you say sometimes makes me bored of listening to you.

David   03/09/2016 at 23:43

Andrew. Why do you assume I was talking to you?

Andrew Gwilt   16/09/2016 at 04:48

Because I think you are smart a**e that's why David.

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