News from Joanne McCartney: Commissioner confirms progress on TfL bid for Great Northern Services
The Commissioner of Transport for London (TfL), Mike Brown, has confirmed that the transport body is actively working towards delivering a bid for Great Northern rail services when the Govia Thameslink franchise is due to expire in 2021. This came in response to a question on rail devolution from local London Assembly Member, Joanne McCartney AM, during a Transport Committee meeting that took place on Thursday at City Hall. Ms McCartney said that “these assurances from the Commissioner will be welcomed by beleaguered local commuters who have so far had to endure an unreliable service from Govia Thameslink”.
Over the past few years, Ms McCartney has been lobbying the Government for services on the line, which run out of Moorgate and serve Enfield and Haringey residents, to be placed under TfL’s control to form part of the London Overground network.
During a London Assembly Transport Plenary meeting in January, in response to a question from Joanne McCartney AM, the Commissioner compared discussions surrounding rail devolution in the capital with the Department for Transport to “pulling teeth”.
Following up on these remarks in Thursday’s meeting, the Commissioner reported that plans were now progressing for Great Northern services to be handed to TfL.
He also stated that “the current franchise system is broken beyond repair” and that he is confident that TfL can deliver metro style services which are more reliable and frequent.
Sadiq Khan previously highlighted the need for the Department for Transport to urgently share with TfL information such as staff rosters, management accounts and working timetables. This would allow the transfer of services to TfL to happen efficiently ahead of the scheduled expiration of the Govia Thameslink franchise in September 2021.
During Thursday’s meeting, the Commissioner appeared to confirm that TfL now have all the information they need to proceed with their bid.
Ms McCartney has previously written on a number of occasions to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, making the case for devolution. Her calls were intensified last year following disruption on Great Northern rail services after changes were made to train timetables.
A 2017 independent report by Chris Gibb, a non-executive director of Network Rail, also backed proposals that TfL takes over the Great Northern Metro lines.
Local London Assembly Member, Joanne McCartney AM, said:
“There are huge improvements that can be achieved by devolving this line. That is why I have been campaigning for TfL to run Great Northern services from Moorgate. Londoners deserve a better service and I strongly believe that TfL can deliver this.
“After the chaos and disruption of last year’s timetable changes, these assurances from the Commissioner will be welcomed by many local commuters who have so far had to endure an unreliable service from Govia Thameslink”.
Notes to editors
- A video of Joanne McCartney’s exchange with the Commissioner of TfL, Mike Brown, can be found attached. The full London Assembly Transport meeting can be watched back here;
- The London Assembly Transport Plenary meeting that took place in January can be watched back here;
- In a response to a written Mayoral question, Sadiq Khan highlighted the need for the Department for Transport to urgently share with TfL information such as staff rosters, management accounts and working timetables;
- An independent report by Chris Gibb, a non-executive director of Network Rail, in 2017 recommended that TfL takes over the Great Northern Metro lines;
- Joanne McCartney is the London Assembly Member for Enfield & Haringey.