TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

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Parker1970
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TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Parker1970 »

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transpor ... 61586.html

Embattled commuters should finally get more frequent and reliable train services after Transport for London confirmed today it would take control of the capital's suburban rail network.

The long-running campaign to persuade ministers to devolve powers over services should increase capacity, eventually bringing an end to the cattle truck conditions for millions of Londoners, and improve accessibility.

TfL plans to streamline fares and travel information across the whole suburban rail network, rebranding the services London Overground and turning the capital's transport map orange.

Commuter services running from Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Moorgate, Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge, which has suffered some of the worst delays, would all be transferred under the plans.
With the capital's population set to rise from 8.6 million today to 10 million by 2030, the proposals should ensure the network is able to cope, especially in South London which is heavily reliant on surface rail.

The new era for rail travel was hailed a victory for Boris Johnson who has spearheaded the campaign, which has cross-party support and was first initiated by Ken Livingstone, to take over control of each route as its franchise comes up for renewal.

The Mayor told the Standard: "Our railways have been the workhorse of the London and South East economy since Victorian times.

"They're key to the day to day lives of millions of people and vital to our future prosperity, and that's exactly why this new partnership is such a seminal moment.

"By working closely together and taking on these new services, we're going to emulate the success of the London Overground and give the entire capital and surrounding areas the services they truly deserve."
Read more


Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin added: “We are committed to making journeys better across London and the South East, and this new partnership represents a huge opportunity to transform travel by putting passengers where they should be – at the heart of the rail network."

The first route to come under the next Mayor's control will be Southeastern in 2018, followed by Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern services in 2021.

The South West trains franchise is currently under negotiation but is likely to include a "break clause" that means it could be taken over in 2019.

TfL, which will set up a joint management team with the Department of Transport, will run services which operate within the capital's boundaries while DfT officials will be responsible for the wider South East.

The Mayor's control could stretch as far as Sevenoaks and Dartford in the South East, Epsom and Croydon in the South, Hampton and Chessington in the West and Hertford and Welwyn Garden City in the North.

It could mean that more than 80 per cent of stations have a train every 15 minutes, up from 67 per cent today.

Since TfL took over suburban rail routes from Silverlink in 2007 and created London Overground, passenger numbers on the routes have increased sixfold and the network has become one of the most popular railways anywhere in the country.

The proposal means town halls, local enterprise partnerships and other regional bodies could play a more hands on role in how services are planned.

Unlike most of the existing franchise agreements, income from fares would be handed over to TfL to invest in the network, for example bringing in new walk-through trains with more doors and staffing 100 per cent of stations during operating hours.

However, huge sums would still be needed to bring the network up to scratch, especially across South London where demand is highest, at a time when TfL's finances will be under pressure.

City Hall insiders suggested cash for investment could also be raised from the land value increase around stations, as well as from Network Rail and the Government.

stuart
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by stuart »

This effectively means the renationalisation of the old Network South East. Twenty wasted and expensive years. Oh well it was the Tories wot done it - and undone it.

But I will miss the electostars. Smoothness (and toilets).

Stuart

Eagle
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Eagle »

Stuart

I seem to recall Network South East covered all the South East including places like Luton , Southend , Marlow and Worthing.

This is completely different from the area of Greater London .

I too actually agree it could be good idea. However the numbers traveling since 1985 's has more than doubled so we have a completely different agenda and proposition.

You will also note , as you are so insistent in bringing politics into everything , that this is happening under a Conservative Government , not a Coalition or Labour Government's , which have jointly been in power from 97 to 15.

Eagle
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Eagle »

Rod

Not in dispute we pay the highest fares in Europe , because we are least subsidised by the tax payer. Has to be paid for one way or other.

Also , on average , Londoners and near Londoners use the trains more than the rest of the UK

Surely does not make commercial sense reducing fares if a service is very popular.

Eagle
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Eagle »

Rod

As we know passengers , or customers , more than doubled since dark last days of BR.

Much new infrastructure in place but not a 100% increase.

At present Taxpayer funding the new infrastructure and the passenger funding the running of the railway.

As stated London and South East by far greatest users , so are you saying the UK taxpayer should subsidise large fare
reductions in the most prosperous part of the UK.

I wonder how that will go down in Armagh , Kirkaldy , Gateshead , Merthyr etc etc etc.

stuart
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by stuart »

Eagle wrote:As stated London and South East by far greatest users , so are you saying the UK taxpayer should subsidise large fare reductions in the most prosperous part of the UK. I wonder how that will go down in Armagh , Kirkaldy , Gateshead , Merthyr etc etc etc.
One could argue why the South East taxpayer should be subsidising to a very much greater extent the transport users who do not use or choose to use the railways. In fact, except for the M6 Toll and a few bridges and College Lane, we get it completely free of charge!

One could argue that both should either pay the full cost of the infrastructure or have it equally subsidised. Otherwise, as is the current situation, it is not a level playing field. Indeed if you are of a green disposition you might argue the field should be tilted the other way.

I think that discussion may be better restarted down the pub as I guess we all feel the renationalisation of these franchises is a good thing. Even you Eagle?

And kudos to the politicians who realised they got it wrong and reversed it (even if they are not going to admit it).

Stuart

Bovine Juice
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Bovine Juice »

Eagle, do you ever get a train, other than to go to Whitstable for an oyster lunch? The trains are packed. I get the 7:12 from Kent House and it's got steadily worse as more and more people are living in zones 3, 4, 5 and 6 because they can't afford rents in zones 1 and 2. Unfortunately zones 1 and 2 are where the jobs are. The current service isn't good enough and along with housing, transport is a major issue for Londoners and the powers that be, know that. Going into a Mayoral election defending this shambles of a service would be a gift to Labour, and Cameron and Goldsmith know that

Eagle
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Eagle »

BJ
I get a number of trains but not normally in the morning rush hour. I do appreciate most trains are crowded , have a said otherwise.

Not sure what you are saying as I am sure never stated that trains were half empty .

At present , i believe i heard , the fares pay for the operation of the railway and HMG ( taxpayer ) pays the vast amount they are spending in updating and improving the network.

I do not have a problem with , i assume , your argument that fares are too high. All I am asking is where you the money come from. As we agree trains full reducing fares could not come from more volume.

Best wishes

Syd_Stone
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Syd_Stone »

Interesting to note that statistic about train traffic doubling since 1985, seems surprising considering that London's population only recently surpassed its pre-war peak. But it's certainly worth bearing in mind the amount of infrastructure development work that's going on, and which must affect our area disproportionately.

That said, the principal problem is the utter contempt that these train operators have for the people who ultimately pay for their existence. They get away with miscommunication and flat-out lying week after week. That this situation is allowed to continue, day in and day out, is the fault of whichever is the prevailing government of the day.

This is an entirely false market "served" by appalling people with a level of government-sanctioned incompetence that beggars belief. All any operator has to do is blame the infrastructure company and that's them home free for another day. "Points failures", "sun in their eyes", "signal failures" and the astonishing lack of drivers argument – none acceptable in 2016. One broken down train last week put the system out of kilter for the rest of the day - it was never this bad before.

And the lack of information from people WHO WE ARE PAYING is gobsmacking. This is 2016, for pity's sake. Passengers are rightly arguing with the idiot ticket inspection staff who hunt in packs for safety and station staff who surely can't be happy with the verbal abuse they're rightly subjected to.

There is no consequence for failure here, and it goes and on and on, day after day after day. The claim system for delays surely is only used by a tiny minority of those who could justly claim, the rest choosing instead to spend what time hasn't been stolen from them by the train operators with their friends and families.

If management were hit directly in the pocket for their failures, things would undoubtedly change. But that change, almost certainly, would lead to a very quick realisation that re-nationalisation is the only sane option. There is no true market where there is no alternative to the service offered, and you don't have to be left of centre to take that view.

biscuitman1978
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TfL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by biscuitman1978 »

stuart wrote:This effectively means the renationalisation of the old Network South East.
That's a little misleading, for two reasons.

First, Network SouthEast extended well beyond London, but the Government's proposal is that TfL would take responsibility only for 'inner suburban' services. That's hardly likely to cover services to the likes of Exeter, Southampton and Ashford, which were a core part of Network SouthEast.

Second, and in any case, what's proposed is hardly 'renationalisation'. Assuming that TfL would look to operate 'inner suburban' services in the same way as it does the existing London Overground services, there's likely to be a substantial degree of private sector involvement.

That's because TfL doesn't operate London Overground itself. Instead, it has appointed LOROL - a joint venture between MTR Corporation and Deutsche Bahn (with DB’s interest managed by Arriva) - to operate services its behalf,

I accept that TfL has greater day-to-day control over London Overground than the Department for Transport has over rail services elsewhere in the country (mainly because the contract is let as a concession rather than a franchise, about which you can read more in the excellent London Reconnections article on the current proposals), but it's a bit of a stretch to say that we can expect a nationalised rail network in the south east.

Eagle
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Eagle »

Syd

The figures about traffic doubling since 85 odd apply to all The UK , not to London.

Just wanted to clear that up

How we subsidise transport in this country is a balancing act.

Why would someone living in Cornwall , with a car , want to subsidise the railroad.

What about Lerwick ? They have no railway . Up to recently probably above average tax take .

I support the railways, watch Michael Portillo's programmes, but we have to be realistic.

Any tax to pay for cheaper trains in London should come from just Londoners..

stuart
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Re: TfL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by stuart »

biscuitman1978 wrote:First, Network SouthEast extended well beyond London, but the Government's proposal is that TfL would take responsibility only for 'inner suburban' services. That's hardly likely to cover services to the likes of Exeter, Southampton and Ashford, which were a core part of Network SouthEast.
Yes I would hope TfL doesn't reach to Exeter though of course they currently operate beyond London.. What I was trying to get across is the return to an integrated rail network serving London, not, as NSE was, split into up to a dozen companies who covered only a tiny slice of London and whose primary interest stretched well beyond London. Integration appears to work quite well. Our integrated bus system has both improved in quality, reliability, speed and most importantly numbers. The purpose is to move people not turn a profit. Whereas the disintegrated networks we find in other English cities and beyond has resulted in a profitable decline.

Going back to routes. I note they plan to take over the Thameslink franchise. That is an essential part of connecting North and South London. But they do that by running trains from Bedford to Brighton (OK a few end up at Beckenham Junction during peak time) so I am confused how the 'inner core' can be excised from the whole. Will we have to all change at Purley for Brighton or Mill Hill for Luton & Bedford? I don't think so.

Nationalisation was the wrong word. I should have more accurately said Regionalisation. Control and finance is the all important factor. Who supplies the drivers really doesn't come into it just as the operating companies have little to do with even the stock they have to operate.

My main worry is this is both a huge upheaval and a huge growth in TfL's operation. Whether they will be able to rapidly take control with a management to hit the ground running - or will they succumb to the complex and seemingly overwhelming problems the existing franchises have screwed up on? I mean the Southern chaos a year ago wasn't caused by Southern. It was the taking away of tracks and inadequate platform handling by National Rail. If those trains had been TfL's would they have really been able to manage their way out of the operational quagmire any better?

Stuart

Syd_Stone
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Syd_Stone »

In terms of subsidy, the old "extremities" argument does have merit, and certainly there should always be a concerted effort to ensure that no one who lives remotely to our cities is disenfranchised in anyway.

But if you'll excuse me, the old argument about Cornish or Scottish extremities brings to mind the one about economic necessity forcing the closure of rural bus routes. Just as it would clearly be unacceptable to disenfranchise people out on the margins by cutting that service, so it is clearly unacceptable that London, our world city and international shop window, should not have its infrastructure adequately funded in order to continue being the big money generator for the UK that it clearly is. Subsidy works both ways.

But frankly, subsidy is a secondary argument to the one of basic business competence. The horrific behaviour that this false market has allowed Southern, SouthEastern and others to get away with cannot be good for anyone. Contempt for customers surely cannot be tolerated, and if we really are customers rather than just passengers,the anti-capitalist lack of consequence for these organisations' failure is obviously unacceptable.

The move to introduce 'city regions' - and the other devolved government currently being introduced - will be interesting to watch in the years ahead, and should help weaken London's economic preeminence while boosting business elsewhere. But for the next twenty year span at least, Government needs to ensure that London gets the infrastructure it requires - and jettison the lying, conniving and despicable train operating companies that embarrass us all. Last week was a start, but much more is needed - starting with a pragmatic reappraisal of the international laughing stock (hmm, pun intended?) that is Thameslink.

Eagle
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by Eagle »

Stuart

I guess Network Rail or whoever will still own and maintain the track allowing TFL to operate up to the end of GLC and
other companies operate trains running out of the region.

biscuitman1978
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TfL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by biscuitman1978 »

stuart wrote:Going back to routes. I note they plan to take over the Thameslink franchise. That is an essential part of connecting North and South London. But they do that by running trains from Bedford to Brighton (OK a few end up at Beckenham Junction during peak time) so I am confused how the 'inner core' can be excised from the whole. Will we have to all change at Purley for Brighton or Mill Hill for Luton & Bedford? I don't think so.
The consultation document on rail devolution proposes the transfer of responsibility from the DfT to TfL for 'inner suburban' rail services that operate 'mostly or wholly within Greater London'. On that basis, most or even all Thameslink services may remain the responsbility of the DfT.

I suspect that Thameslink is mentioned simply because it forms part of a wider franchise (Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern), parts of which will surely transfer to TfL.
stuart wrote:Nationalisation was the wrong word. I should have more accurately said Regionalisation. Control and finance is the all important factor. Who supplies the drivers really doesn't come into it just as the operating companies have little to do with even the stock they have to operate.
I agree with your point about control and finance. It's why the concession model, to which I refer above, has worked so well for London Overground.
stuart wrote:My main worry is this is both a huge upheaval and a huge growth in TfL's operation. Whether they will be able to rapidly take control with a management to hit the ground running - or will they succumb to the complex and seemingly overwhelming problems the existing franchises have screwed up on? I mean the Southern chaos a year ago wasn't caused by Southern. It was the taking away of tracks and inadequate platform handling by National Rail. If those trains had been TfL's would they have really been able to manage their way out of the operational quagmire any better?
It will certainly be a big change, but TfL has a good track record in taking over failing rail services, so I'm optimistic.

As for whether TfL will 'succumb to the complex and seemingly overwhelming problems the existing franchises have screwed up on', I suspect TfL will find some things just as challenging as the franchise holders, but I think it will have the clout (and desire) to work as a genuine partner with Network Rail, thereby making it easier to address those challenges. And in the short- to medium-term, having the recently departed Commissioner of Transport for London, Peter Hendy, as chairman of Network Rail will surely help oil the wheels.

But the crucial point is that franchise holders' main focus is to make a profit, whereas TfL's is not. That is why we should, I hope, see better services.

michael
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Re: TFL to take over SouthEastern and Southern Rail

Post by michael »

Biscuitman is right to refer to the excellent article on London Reconnections which points out just how empty on detail the announcement actually is. The press and the public have been keen to fill in the blanks with their own vision of a well run rail service.
Personally I doubt that we will see massive improvements to suburban services just because TfL take ownership. In my view they have been lucky with overground in that they took on a) one of the worst routes in London and could not fail to make it better (North London), b) a new line that avoids most of the pinch points in South London's rail infrastructure (East London), c) another line that was running some of the oldest stock in London (GOBLIN), d) a line that replaced the Victoria to London Bridge Loop line that experienced delays from both systems. So they had a good starting point.

Running services through London Bridge, Victoria, Waterloo, and Blackfriars is a much harder job because the infrastructure needs so much investment (from Network Rail, not really from the rail operators). But I don't wish to excuse the failures of Southern and the other TOCs. We were warning them for years to sort out the timetable for the London Bridge closure and it became clear very quickly that they completely failed to properly model the timetables in the run up to Jan 2015, despite failures in August when attempting to run a similar system. Rather than making the system work (possibly by not ripping up the tracks before the start of the new timetable) they followed the Olympic model, of telling everybody to prepare for the worst - only they under-estimated what the worst was. And there have still been no refunds for commuters who were so badly disrupted for at least five months (they introduced temporary timetables that removed so many trains they were able to meet their minimum performance targets running a skeleton service).

I suspect that TfL have deliberately pushed for this change now rather than earlier, so that they didn't get the blame for 2015. They could have taken on some of the franchises last year, but clearly they didn't want to, especially in the run up to a mayoral election.

On the issue of Thameslink - I think it makes sense for TfL to control the railways connecting central London to two of London's airports. This would be for the benefit of Londoners and London as a destination for tourists and business people. Of course my first demand would be that some Thameslink trains actually stop somewhere between London Bridge and Norwood Junction (New Cross Gate being the obvious choice) to provide better connections for South Londoners.
TfL will be running Crossrail and no doubt Crossrail 2, so they are clearly taking control of services that go outside their core area, Thameslink should be just the same.

But I think it is right to be skeptical about the ideas until TfL tell us what they would actually do. Will they provide a high level station at Brockley, a new station in Camberwell, and East Brixon on the Overground? Will they provide more services on the Crystal Palace loop (possibly integrating with ELL)? Will they provide 24 hour service or late night service on Network Rail infrastructure? Could they at least put another second down escalator in Canada Water? The opportunities are endless, but that doesn't mean they will happen.

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