The Mayor's plans for rail devolution

The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is calling on the Government to give responsibility for London rail services to Transport for London (TfL). He's presented his business case to the Secretary of State for Transport.

TfL has a proven track record of making rail services better. Devolving this responsibility to TfL would allow us to work towards a fully integrated transport service, structured fares and transparent management.

Got a question about what this means for you? See the Frequently Asked Questions page for answers.

What would rail devolution mean for Londoners?

Londoners – regardless of age, income or background – rely on train services to be fast, frequent and affordable every day. Services on the rail network should meet the same high standards achieved by the rest of London's transport network. Currently this is not the case across the suburban rail network. 

By taking advantage of TfL's proven track record of making rail services better, there is an opportunity to provide a truly integratedreliable and affordable rail network.

Rail devolution would also lead to economic benefits within communities. The biggest impact would be in South London, where house building rates are less than half the rest of London, because of poorer transport connections.

Longer-distance services going beyond London’s boundaries would still be run by the Government.

You can see what this future rail network might look like on our map.

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What improvements are planned?

Reliable, frequent trains

  • More reliable, faster and more frequent trains
  • Wider doors and more space to move around inside – making it quicker and easier to get on and off
  • Clear identifiable lines, like on the Tube

Modern, staffed stations

  • Staff at every station from the first to last train
  • Higher standards of customer service
  • Cleaner, brighter stations with modern facilities
  • New ticket gates to avoid fare evasion and improve station security
  • More stations with step-free access and a turn-up-and-go service for all disabled customers

Simpler fares, under the Mayor's control

  • Consistent fares across all services, so you pay the same whether your journey is on the Tube or rail
  • Refunds of the full single fare after delays of more than 30 minutes on London Overground
  • Oyster and contactless payment extended to more areas around the edge of London
  • Any freeze in TfL fares also applied to devolved rail routes within London

Information at every stage

  • An integrated TfL map of all rail and Tube lines
  • WiFi at stations so you can stay connected wherever you are
  • Personalised and relevant real-time information integrated into Journey Planner and Twitter travel alerts
  • Staff equipped with mobile devices to get you real-time information from the whole TfL network

When could this happen?

Further devolution of suburban rail services has been agreed by the Government. This includes proposals for a range of suburban rail services to transfer to TfL over time, up to the early 2020s.

Under these plans, the first franchise to come under the Mayor’s control would be the Southeastern suburban services, when the current franchise ends in 2018.

This would be followed by the South Western franchise in 2020, once capacity works at Waterloo are complete.

Suburban services on the Southern franchise running to London Bridge and Victoria, serving south central London, would transfer when the current franchise ends in September 2021.

For too long, London’s rail commuters have been getting a bad service – with nightmare delays, cancellations and overcrowding increasingly the norm on our suburban rail routes. Today’s Business Case sets out in detail the huge benefits Londoners will feel from devolving suburban rail routes to TfL. Our plans will not only use TfL’s skills and expertise to improve the daily commute for millions of Londoners, but act as a catalyst for new jobs and homes in outer London.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

The case for rail devolution

The success of London Overground, and the continued reliability of TfL Rail, provide an overwhelming business case to support the Mayor's plans.

2016 on-time train performance

2016 on-time train performance


London Overground performance over 9 years

  • 30%
  • 18%
    customer satisfaction
  • 163%
    Staff at stations
  • 94.7%
    On time

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