Posted 9th December 2016 | 2 Comments

Mayor steps up campaign for TfL takeover

THE Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has fired a new shot in his battle to take over most suburban railways in London.

His move has come as Transport secretary Chris Grayling is under pressure to resign after he had refused to allow any more routes to become part of London Overground, saying that his new integrated approach is preferable.

However, it was revealed within 48 hours that he had told Mayor Boris Johnson in 2013 that he "would like to keep suburban rail services out of the clutches of any future Labour Mayor".

Mr Grayling had been referring in particular to services beyond the Greater London boundary, but the revelation has prompted calls for his resignation on the grounds that his decision to turn down Sadiq Khan's bid for an Overground takeover this week could have been driven by political motives.

Conservative MP Bob Neill, who is chairman of the Justice select committee, said Mr Grayling was 'unfit for office', having 'compromised his position' by acting 'for party political reasons'.

Mr Grayling has yet to comment, but minister for London and Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell said: "This is obviously a letter that was written a long time ago. I think the decision that was taken is about what's best for passengers in London which is to bring responsibility for running the track and the services together."

Meanwhile Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was reported to have been 'angered' by Mr Grayling's refusal, has highlighted the problems on Southern in stepping up his campaign for greater Transport for London involvement.

He said: "The ongoing chaos on Southern rail services is a total disgrace that is badly failing commuters who just want to get to work and back. The unions should cancel the strikes and get back around the negotiating table, but the government are washing their hands of this crisis and abandoning commuters in the process.

“The chaos on the government-run Southern services this week is in stark contrast to TfL – who successfully persuaded the unions to call off their planned strike on the Underground through engagement and negotiation.

“The number of days lost to strikes has reduced by 92 per cent since I became Mayor so our approach is clearly working. This is yet another reason why the government should devolve control of commuter services like Southern, Southeastern and South West to TfL. It is absolutely clear that commuters would suffer from fewer strikes if TfL controlled these routes, and fares would be more affordable – with our four year freeze on all TfL fares.”‎

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Christopher Jones-Bridger, Buckley Flintshire

    That the Transport Secretary & DfT are prepared to tear up hard won political consensus for what appears to be political ideology is worrying not just for London but also the regions where increasing devolution of powers have been encouraged & seen as a way developing the public transport offer.

    Tight control exerted by TfL through the concession model managing Overground is in stark contrast to the DfT administered shambles of GTR where cost cutting & declining standards are all too evident.

    Transfer of management of London inner suburban srrvices to TfL has offered the opportunity to raise the product offer & quality to that expected from LU & Overground. Also there was the expectation that the network benefits formerly promoted when administered under the unifying management of NSE could be recreated.

    So much for the passenger being at the heart of policy. This appears little other than a political manoeuvre and the DfT trying to exert it's ultimate power in dictating policy.

  • John B, London

    Give it up Khan. Both the Goblin and LOverground are ripe for East West Rail treatment.