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DfT urged to end ‘worrying’ lack of communication on Southeastern devolution

Transport authorities in London are seeking clarification from Chris Grayling on whether the government supports the capital’s bid for devolution of more rail services, including the Southeastern franchise.

Ahead of a London Assembly transport committee meeting yesterday, Caroline Pidgeon AM, the committee’s chair, published a letter she wrote to Grayling following up on a letter to Patrick McLoughlin, his predecessor as transport secretary, two months ago.

In her letter, Pidgeon urged the government to make clear what steps it will take over devolution of the Southeastern franchise in 2018.

“Passengers in south London and areas outside the capital expect to see the government acting on the plans it set out,” she said. “Two months on from our first letter expressing this concern, the lack of communication is even more worrying.”

Recent Transport for London (TfL) board papers revealed it intends to absorb parts of the Southeastern network.

Pidgeon also repeated TfL’s offer to take over the Southern franchise after it experienced a sharp decline in performance, saying: “We strongly believe that devolution to TfL, plus major investment in infrastructure, is a viable long-term solution.” Grayling has already insisted that the government will not accept the offer.

Pidgeon also published a letter she wrote to Mark Carne, the chief executive of Network Rail, in response to a draft West Midlands and Chiltern route study.

In it, she warned him that Network Rail’s “piecemeal approach” creates “a risk that strategic investment needs are overlooked”. For example, she said the study discusses connectivity with HS2 services at Old Oak Common, but does not address the need for more services through London Euston.

She said Network Rail should prioritise interventions which would support areas including reducing train and station overcrowding, allowing passengers to sit on journeys of over 20 minutes in length, improving punctuality and reliability, and improving disability access.

(Image c. TheJRB)

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Lutz   12/10/2016 at 18:32

Sounds more like self-publicity - no real substance to any of the points being made - they are all in hand in one way or another - with recent changes in position from the department with under McLoughlin.

Andrew Gwilt   12/10/2016 at 19:35

Well TfL and the Mayor of London wants to take over the suburban metro routes across Southwest London, South London and Southeast London which will see TfL Rail or London Overground expand and also TfL Rail to take over the Moorgate Line to Hertford North, Stevenage, Potters Bar and Welwyn Garden City. Last year saw London Overground took over the Liverpool St-Chingford, Enfield Town and Cheshunt and Romford-Upminster routes and Liverpool St-Shenfield which TfL Rail took over as part of the MTR Crossrail Elizabeth Line which will soon be fully operational from 2018 with the Central section to be opened in late 2019.

Rail Realist   14/10/2016 at 22:21

Pity the photograph couldn't display a more current photo f London Bridge. Its not looked like that shown for around 3 years

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