Government must not u-turn on future of London’s rail services

14 October, 2016

Written by: Lambeth Council press release

Campaigns > Council updates > Transport

Lambeth council leader Lib Peck and Streatham MP Chuka Umunna are urging the government to follow through with their promise to hand over London’s suburban rail services to Transport for London.

Councillors outside Streatham Rail Station

In an urgent letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Cllr Peck and Mr Umunna said “We are extremely concerned by reports that the Government is re-considering plans for TfL to take over the lines operated by Southern, South Eastern and South West trains.

“We strongly support Sadiq Khan’s calls for the South West and South Eastern franchises to be transferred to TfL once they expire and for the Southern franchise to be handed over to TfL management immediately to stabilise the situation.

“We hope you will confirm that the Government has no plans to backtrack on its promise to deliver rail devolution.”

The government announced in January that TfL would be taking over the running of suburban rail services in the capital, including Southern services, which are currently bottom of both punctuality and passenger satisfaction league tables.

A recent Lambeth council campaign in Streatham highlighted the takeover of suburban rail services as residents’ number one priority, and the council, along with the Mayor of London, remains determined to see that happen.

The full letter from Cllr Lib Peck and Chukka Umunna MP, is as follows:


Dear Secretary of State,

We write to urge you to continue to support the devolution of suburban rail services to TfL.

The current service is failing passengers. Trains into London from Streatham and large parts of South London, particularly those operated by Southern, are repeatedly late or cancelled. Instead of attempting to blame staff, Southern should take responsibility for a service that ranks at the bottom of both punctuality and passenger satisfaction league tables.

The takeover of the old North London Railway by TfL ten years ago led to a transformation in service standards. Journey numbers have risen 450%, stations are cleaner and better lit, more trains are arriving on time and passenger satisfaction has soared.

In January this year we welcomed the announcement that Transport for London (TfL) were to take over the running of suburban rail in the capital.

Lambeth’s Back on Track campaign in Streatham had set this as its number one transport priority for the area in consultation with residents.

Streatham has missed out on several transport initiatives in recent years, has no underground station and by the standard of other inner London locations, has poor public transport connectivity.

We are therefore extremely concerned by reports that the Government is re-considering plans for TfL to take over the lines operated by Southern, South Eastern and South West trains.

We strongly support Sadiq Khan’s calls for the South West and South Eastern franchises to be transferred to TfL once they expire and for the Southern franchise to be handed over to TfL management immediately to stabilise the situation.

We hope you will confirm that the Government has no plans to backtrack on its promise to deliver rail devolution.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Lib Peck                                      Chuka Umunna MP
Leader of Lambeth Council            Member of Parliament for Streatham


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