TfL's suburban train takeover is no silver bullet

Commuters will welcome the move but the capital's transport problems are a long way from being resolved.

Credit: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Credit: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

London’s commuter trains are ‘shit,’ Sir Peter Hendy told MT last year, and plenty of their passengers would surely agree. The former Transport for London boss jumped ship before he had the chance to do anything about it, but his successor is now poised to take over all of London’s suburban rail services.

London’s mayor Boris Johnson today announced plans to take over short-distance trains from London Bridge, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Moorgate, Victoria and Waterloo as their franchises come up for renewal over the next five years. The first trains to be consumed by TfL will be those currently operated by Southeastern, in 2018, followed by Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern trains in 2021.

‘[Our railways] are 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,’ BoJo said. ‘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.’

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