Mayor of London slams government on suburban rail

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan slams government's strategy on suburban rail.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Chris Garyling, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has rejected the government's proposal for furute commuter rail services, labelling the proposal as "fundamentally flawed".

Khan rejected the invitation for a Transport for London (TfL) employee to work with the Department for Transport on the Southeastern refranchising process, saying that this is "a repeatedly tried and failed" approach to achieving improvements on the rail network.

On this, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has stated: "Sadly the Government’s proposals for commuter rail services are no different to what we’ve seen before and I fear passengers will face more years of unacceptable service levels. It is a repeatedly tried and failed approach."

“I am therefore left with no choice but to walk away from the government’s fundamentally flawed plans."

In today's letter Khan is critical of government plans for commuter rail services being based on an outdated 'one-size-fits-all' franchise model that has failed too many times. Instead Khan stongly urges the Transport Secretary to turn to an approach that has proven successful - the agreement of devolving suburban rail services to TfL.

“Londoners, councils, MPs and Assembly Members know the huge benefits that TfL can deliver. It’s not too late for the Transport Secretary to change his mind and deliver proper devolution for the good of long-suffering commuters inside and outside of London.”

The Mayor has already submitted a comprehensive business plan of 99 pages to Grayling's department for TfL to take control of the inner-London sections of commuter lines, and therefore improve the service for passengers.

Supporting the Mayor's critical rejection of the government's proposal, Mike Brown TfL's Transport Commissioner has stated: “We have already demonstrated what can be achieved by giving greater focus to suburban rail services.

“Since we began operating London Overground services in 2007, we have taken under-used parts of the urban network and brought them back into full use, radically improving services and reaching parts of the Capital that had previously not been well-served by rail. It is now one of the most popular and punctual railways in the country with stations brought up to modern standards, with CCTV, better security, a turn up and go service for disabled customers and staff present at every station while trains are running.

“This demonstrates what we can do and what passengers would like to see implemented across inner suburban routes across London,” states Brown.