London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon welcomes TfL takeover of suburban trains

Caroline PidgeonToday it was announced that the Transport for London would take over London’s suburban rail network. From the BBC:

Transport for London (TfL) has announced it will be taking over the running of the capital’s suburban rail network.

It will take over the routes as the various rail franchises come up for renewal.

The new partnership between the Department for Transport and TfL says it aims to ensure there are more frequent trains and increased capacity.

The first rail franchise up for renewal is South West in 2017.

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon welcomed this move, although she did say that it really wasn’t happening fast enough:

This news, while its is something I have long advocated, will still see some passengers waiting until 2021 – in the case those using Southern trains – to see any real changes in either service levels or lower fares.

You have to ask why it has taken until just 4 months before the London Mayor elections for Tory ministers at the Department for Transport to finally accept that for too long people using these services have suffered from delays, disputes and disruption? They should sack the franchise holders now.

If passengers are to be forced to wait for any improvements, ministers should be putting pressure on the train operators to improve their services, and allow those travelling before 07.30 to benefit from half price fares now , rather than in years.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in News.


  • Richard Easter 21st Jan '16 - 9:06pm

    As long as the former SWT services do not become Driver Only and loads of guards are given the heave ho. DOO trains are filled with undesirables and loads of anti social behaviour, and the customer service is dire or non existent if there are problems. The guards are helpful and informative, and kick a lot of the troublemakers off.

    TFL did the dirty on the guards on the North London Line, kept them for the Olympics, praised them for all the hard work they did, then put them on the dole queue.

  • There needs to be much more information released on this.

    The phrase “capital’s suburban rail network” is potentially highly misleading, given according to the press it includes the: Southeastern, Southern, South West, Thameslink and Great Northern franchises…

    Likewise little has been given out about whether TfL will have to bid for the franchises in an open competition or if it will receive them on a plate…

  • Alex Macfie 22nd Jan '16 - 8:07am

    @Roland: It’ll be the latter. It won’t be a franchise anymore, that’s sort of the point.
    I would be interested in the details as well. The routes that have already been transferred to TfL are largely self-contained, making the transfer quite straightforward. For instance, the Watford DC line is on separate track, parallel to those used by the fast and semi-fast services that go beyond Watford from Euston. However, the London suburban trains from Waterloo can terminate as far out as Guildford, Woking and Dorking. A lot of people will have chosen to live out there because it’s easy to get to where they want to in London for work, and they would not be pleased to have to change at Surbiton, for instance (assuming it’s practical to arrange things like that: I don’t think there are any bay platforms there). So presumably the Surrey stopping services will be transferred in their entirety to TfL, which will be very nice for them as it will mean they can use Oyster, although zoning will be interesting. Or will just the Kingston (with Shepperton branch) and Hounslow loops be transferred? These are largely self-contained operations.

  • Peter Davies 22nd Jan '16 - 9:51am

    @Alex, @Roland
    TFL won’t get the franchise, it will become the franchising body instead of the DoT. It issues a different type of franchise (a concession). The difference is that fares go to TFL and operators such as those that run The Overground, DLR and TFL Rail are paid according to a service agreement. On national franchises, the operator keeps the fares and pays for the privilege.

  • Thanks for information @Peter Davies; I knew it wasn’t a straightforward matter of refranchising, but was hazy on the details.

  • George Potter 22nd Jan '16 - 1:27pm

    Page 20 of this report shows what’s envisaged under this scheme. The real thing may turn out to look differently but in a nutshell they’d take over stations as far out as Weybridge and Dorking and run trains into central London while the rump of, for instance, the south west franchise wouldn’t be under TfL and whoever ran it would still run trains into central London, just fewer of them.

  • George Potter 22nd Jan '16 - 1:32pm
  • nvelope2003 22nd Jan '16 - 6:14pm

    Not everyone is happy with TfL services. The letters page of the Standard often contains complaints about them. Does anyone really think that there will be no more “delays, disputes and disruption.” Sacking the franchise holder NOW would incur substantial costs. Silly comments like this undermine confidence in those who make them.

    Guards on South Western Trains were the result of an undertaking by the Stagecoach Group. Any successor will not be bound by that undertaking. The TfL routes which have been most successful are those which had very rundown marginal services which have been improved at considerable cost. Would this be posssible with many of the routes planned for takeover ?

    Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for renationalisation would become largely redundant as the London commuter area accounts for 70% of passenger use on Network Rail routes. Together with the Underground there would not be much left in the private sector so it is back to BR and stand by for the complaints.

  • Thanks George and Richard for the links and Peter for the reminder of how TfL operates.

  • Some services could be taken over by TfL as early as 2017 and 2018 but would they really be able to absorb all the routes immediately ? It is probably best for the process to be a gradual one in view of the likely cost of the improvements they hope to make and the cost of making all those SWT guards redundant to effect longer term savings. Presumably the equipment for DOO which was removed some years ago will have to be reinstated.

  • The transfer of the dreadful Thameslink franchise can’t happen soon enough as far as I’m concerned. Govia are utterly useless and TfL taking over this shocking service can only be an improvement.

  • nvelope2003 27th Jan '16 - 2:42pm

    Simon: Why are you so sure that TfL can only be an improvement ? Thameslink was operated by First until recently and they were constantly criticised. Maybe the track and signalling etc which are the responsibility of the nationalised Network Rail is the problem. TfL cannot do much about that.

  • “Why are you so sure that TfL can only be an improvement ? “

    I think much depends on where someone is standing. I suspect those actually living in London or it’s suburbs and who have become blinkered due to their life revolving around the daily commute into and out of central London may see it as an improvement. However, those who happen to live in what TfL have designated as the London surburban rail area and who’s life revolves around a different commute, may think differently. For example is TfL going to be interested in and proactive about the quality of services serving Cambridge or Bletchley/Milton Keynes and their hinterland beyond the London commuter services?

    This is clearly a TfL proposal and consultation that those living outside of Greater London and TfL’s existing sphere of influence really need to read and consider as it will have massive impact on the future provision of service in their area. For example what will be the effect of TfL on the backing and funding of the Varsity Line re-instatement; given its Greater London focus? (The Varisty line originally connecting Oxford – Bicester – Bletchley/Milton Keynes – Bedford – Cambridge; all stations within the TfL designated network area.)
    Likewise for Kings Lynn, because whilst it is outside of the TfL service area, they will be impacted by the way TfL change the Govia Thamelink franchise.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • matt
    @cassie. well said, thirded :-)...
  • Nonconformistradical
    "we are not the Libertarian Democrats." Seconded....
  • Cassie
    Martin, I can only suggest you look at the figures for the UK re Covid cases and deaths. The UK is getting close to your emergency situation again, in spite of ...
  • matt
    @Martin You asked me to google c4 fact checker on masks, so I did. I presented you with the information that it contains and the links it provides. How is i...
  • Russell Simpson
    As a kiwi from Southland (who's been living in the UK for 35 years) I well remember the UK joining the EEC. It had a huge impact on rural NZ. One impact was a h...
Thu 28th Oct 2021