Southeastern Train

Assembly demands rethink of rail devolution decision

07 December 2016

The London Assembly has expressed its disappointment that the Secretary of State for Transport has formally rejected Transport for London’s (TfL) proposals to take over Southeastern rail services. 

The Assembly is concerned that this demonstrates the Minister’s attitude to further rail devolution across London.

Assembly Members today agreed a unanimous motion calling for the Secretary of State to reconsider his decision not to devolve franchise management of Southeastern services to Transport for London (TfL).  The Assembly also asked the Chairman to write to the Prime Minister to relay the Assembly's views.

Len Duvall AM, who proposed the motion said:

“With cross party support for rail devolution clearly demonstrated, it’s deeply disappointing that the Transport Secretary has rejected a TfL takeover on London’s suburban rail services.

Services managed by TfL have some of the best performances in the country, whilst passengers on some London and south eastern suburban routes have experienced amongst the worst. 

We need to move beyond political point scoring and the Transport Secretary needs to devolve franchise management to TfL who have proven capable of running decent services. It’s time for the Prime Minister to intervene and make this happen.”

 

The full text of the Motion is:

“This Assembly notes that on 6th December 2016 the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, announced his plans for the future of rail. These plans require franchises to have integrated operating teams between train services and infrastructure. This Assembly also notes with disappointment that the Minister has formally rejected TfL’s proposals to take over Southeastern services from 2018 and is concerned that this demonstrates the Minister’s attitude to further rail devolution across London.

This Assembly notes London’s success story in rail devolution. The North London Line has been transformed beyond recognition since it was taken over by TfL and rebranded as London Overground. Network Rail’s latest public performance measurements for period 8 of 2016/17 show TfL Rail in 1st place and London Overground in 2nd place.

This Assembly highlights the cross party support for further rail devolution in London. For example, Kent County Council would be in favour of TfL taking over parts of the South Eastern franchise. Furthermore, the Conservative and Labour Co-chairs of the cross-party All Party Parliamentary Group for London, Bob Neill MP and Steve Reed MP, are convinced “that transferring more suburban services to TfL will bring about positive and tangible changes for rail passengers across the capital.

This Assembly believes that through TfL, London is already well-placed to provide solutions to the challenges of transport provision in our capital.

The Assembly therefore asks the Secretary of State for Transport to reconsider his decision not to devolve franchise management to TfL, which has a proven record of delivering to a high standard.”

Notes to editors

  1. Watch the full webcast.
  2. The motion was agreed unanimously following an amendment proposed by Gareth Bacon AM that was accepted during the debate.
  3. Len Duvall AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4428.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.