Mayor calls for TFL to take immediate control of Southern Rail service

20 July 2016

Mayor calls for TFL to take immediate control of Southern Rail

Mayor calls for Transport for London to take immediate control of Southern Rail service until problems resolved


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today said that he wants urgently to put a top Transport for London team in charge of the failing Govia Thameslink Railway Southern franchise.


The TfL team would run Southern Rail until the Government is able to resolve the longer-term problems that have led to widespread disruption for thousands of commuters. 


Last week, Govia Thameslink Railway brought in an emergency timetable, with 350 services cancelled a day, leaving commuters crammed onto packed trains or stranded on replacement buses. The decision followed months of delays and cancellations to services.


Sadiq Khan believes that TfL are best placed to sort out the problems that he has described as “an embarrassment to our city.” Last week, he called on the Department for Transport to take temporary control of the railway.


Now, in a letter to the new Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, the Mayor has gone one stage further, calling for TfL to be put in charge until the issues are resolved.


In his letter to Chris Grayling, Sadiq Khan says: “Thousands of Londoners and longer-distance commuters simply cannot get to and from work, and are understandably furious.


“There is no doubt that the franchise must now be in default, and I have previously called for your Department to step in and take control.


“Notwithstanding the wider discussions on devolution, I now offer to go one step further and put my senior TfL team in charge of the GTR Southern franchise until we get a permanent resolution.


Sadiq Khan has also urged the Department for Transport to work with his team on putting in place a speedier timetable for the transfer of suburban rail services to Transport for London in order to improve efficiency.

Notes to editors

  • In 2001 the rail franchise for the south central network changed hands after Connex was criticised for poor customer service and financial management. The Strategic Rail Authority re-let the contract on new terms and Connex subsequently agreed to the new franchisee taking over early, having run the contract for just five of its seven years.
  • In 2003 Connex South Eastern were also stripped of their franchise (8 years early) due to poor financial management
  • In 2007 GNER were stripped of the East Coast mainline franchise due to poor financial management and it was subsequently awarded to National Express East Coast.
  • In 2009 it was announced that National Express East Coast planned to default on the East Coast Mainline franchise, having failed to renegotiate the contractual terms of operation. As a result the Department for Transport announced it would establish a publicly owned company to take over the franchise.


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