Rail Devolution (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
June 21, 2018
Question By: 
Joanne McCartney
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Joanne McCartney AM:  Mr Mayor, I would like to ask you about the Great Northern franchise.  It is something I have raised with you before because it runs through my constituency of Enfield and Haringey.  Even before the timetable fiasco I was having regular complaints about cancelled and delayed trains.  It is a line I use every day to get into work.  I was very heartened last year when the Gibb Report said devolution to TfL should happen immediately.  I am therefore disappointed they have not yet made that decision.


In the statement to Parliament, [The Rt. Hon] Chris Grayling [MP, Secretary of State for Transport] said he is talking to TfL and also that there is a business case for putting the Great Northern line in with a new franchise with the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), which was just announced as the new operator for the failing East Coast line.  That seems to be repeating the mistakes of the past when this line was put with Thameslink and was criticised then for being too big.  Do you agree with that?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Rail Devolution (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Rail Devolution (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I agree.  Do not forget that once a new contract has been given it means for x years we cannot touch it without having to pay compensation.  Therefore, my understanding from DfT was that the remapping of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise will begin later on this year.  You are right, this is a crucial piece of work to see how the franchise could be separated out and improved for your commuters and Londoners.  It is really important the Government follows those recommendations. 


As a consequence of your question I will speak to TfL and chase up what progress has been made.  What will be unacceptable is if, inadvertently, this is included in a package for a franchise that is signed off for the next five or ten years.


Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you for that.  I have written to Chris Grayling again earlier this month urging him to do that.  The franchise is due to be handed over to - I presume - a new operator in 2021.  When you talk to TfL it would be good if we could ask them if they could bring that forward because my residents are really fed up with the delays.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I will take both those issues up offline and speak to TfL about actioning those.


Joanne McCartney AM:  Thank you.