A new prospectus published today by the Department for Transport and Transport for London sets out a commitment to improving capacity and service levels across the region’s rail network, ensuring that it is able to support the capital’s growing population and help drive the economy.
TfL say that with the Capital’s population set to rise from 8.6 million today to 10 million by 2030, and significant population growth in the surrounding region, it is essential that the rail network continues to support housing and jobs.
Frequent and reliable rail services are vital to create better connections and unlock new areas for development as well as enhancing peoples quality of life and ensuring the region’s towns remain attractive places to visit and do business.
The new partnership, they say, will allow local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and other local and regional bodies, inside and outside London, to have a direct say in the way services are planned and specified.
Local authorities inside and outside London will have a direct say in the way services are planned and operated, with even greater collaboration between TfL and the DfT to get the best from the legacy of Victorian rail infrastructure which the region enjoys.
The proposals would see the transfer of rail services that operate mostly or wholly within the Greater London boundary to TfL when the current franchises are due for renewal. This could include inner suburban rail services from London Bridge, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Moorgate, Victoria, and Waterloo. TfL say the transfer of inner suburban rail services to TfL, which is accountable to the Mayor, would be introduced while ensuring service improvements for all and no detrimental effect on fares or longer distance services.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are committed to making journeys better across London and the south east, and this new partnership represents a huge opportunity to transform travel by putting passengers where they should be – at the heart of the rail network.
“We are working closely with TfL to agree the best way of delivering integrated, seamless journeys for passengers both inside and outside of London, and as we continue these discussions, we want to hear people’s views.”
The Mayor of London said: “Our railways have been the workhorse of the London and South East economy since Victorian times. They’re key in the day-to-day lives of millions of people and vital to our future prosperity, and that’s exactly why this new partnership is such a seminal moment. By working closely together and taking on these new services, we’re going to emulate the success of the London Overground and give the entire capital and surrounding areas the services they truly deserve.”
Mike Brown MVO, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “People want to live close to stations and they want those stations to have good quality frequent services connecting them to jobs and to leisure. Providing such services is vital to the future success of our city, yet at present there are wide variations in the levels of service customers’ experience.
“Through this new partnership we will work with the DfT to radically improve the service that rail customers’ experience – integrating fares and information and bringing inner suburban rail services into (London’s) public transport network. This will bring us closer to delivering what customers want and London’s economy needs – a reliable metro-style rail service that supports new homes and jobs and improves the quality of life for millions of people.”
TfL point to the development of London Overground as showing what can be achieved by giving greater focus to suburban services.
Views are now being sought on the proposals set out in a new approach to rail passenger services in London and the South East.