Rail franchises operators & contracts

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

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Grayling commits £5m to install digital signalling on TransPennine route

22/09/2017Grayling commits £5m to install digital signalling on TransPennine route

Passengers travelling between Manchester and York could be the first in the north to enjoy an intercity railway that uses digital signalling, Chr... more >
Aslef and GTR once again close to ending DOO dispute

22/09/2017Aslef and GTR once again close to ending DOO dispute

For the third time this year, Aslef and GTR are reportedly close to resolving their dispute on Southern services. According to a statement p... more >
£120m Glasgow Queen Street redevelopment moves into next phase

22/09/2017£120m Glasgow Queen Street redevelopment moves into next phase

The major £120m development of Glasgow Queen Street has this week entered its next phase as work is now underway to prepare redundant build... more >

editor's comment

04/09/2017A series of incredible events

There are a couple of announcements I’d like to make in this editor’s comment, which I believe could be very beneficial to many of our readers.  Firstly, the deadline is fast approaching to enter the UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), which will take place on 22 March 2018 at Battersea Evolution in London.  Now in its fifth year, UKRIA continues to bring together the leaders and decision-makers running the rail ... read more >

last word

How do tram and rail passengers compare?

How do tram and rail passengers compare?

David Sidebottom, director at Transport Focus, analyses the drivers in performance of passenger satisfaction in tram compared to rail. Results published in our recent Tram Passenger Survey (... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Investing in rail in the north

22/09/2017Investing in rail in the north

Rob Morris, director of operation at Siemens Rail Automation UK, runs through his organisation’s impressive track record across the north. With the Northern Powerhouse and Transport for the North programmes both firmly established as key drivers for investment and growth across the north of England, much of the region’s rail n... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Wirral Loop: ‘one industry’ approach to minimise disruption

21/09/2017Wirral Loop: ‘one industry’ approach to minimise disruption

Wayne Menzies, head of rail for Merseytravel and chair of the Liverpool City Region’s Major Events Transport Board, discusses the recently ... more >
Crossrail: track installation complete

21/09/2017Crossrail: track installation complete

Chris Enoch, Crossrail’s railway systems project manager, discusses the complexities in the design and installation of the track system on ... more >
Ballast or slab?

21/09/2017Ballast or slab?

As HS2 moves forward, William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering and dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the Uni... more >
A network of training excellence

18/09/2017A network of training excellence

Writing on behalf of the Training Alliance, Simon Rennie runs through the early results of a tight-knit collaboration agreement between key rail ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Pushing forward with East West Rail plans

21/09/2017Pushing forward with East West Rail plans

Andy Free, head of engineering assurance at East West Rail (EWR) Alliance, discusses the recent round two public consultation on the plans for th... more >