City Hall Labour calls for TfL rail devolution

The London Assembly’s Labour group has called on the Government to “urgently reconsider” its plans for overhauling Britain’s rail network.

The Government yesterday announced plans to create a new “TfL-inspired” public body, Great British Railways, that will take over the running and planning of the country’s rail network.

But City Hall Labour’s new transport spokesperson Elly Baker has said it is “incredibly disappointing” that the Government’s Williams Review “ignored the strong and compelling case” for TfL to take over the running of rail services within Greater London.

Ms Baker said: “The Review itself uses TfL as a gold standard for comparison. The Government knows that with the track record of the London Overground and TfL Rail, devolution would mean more reliable and affordable services for thousands more commuters, but it has decided to pass up on this golden opportunity.

“And let’s remember, when he was Mayor, Boris Johnson was a passionate advocate for devolution of rail services to TfL. This is a deeply frustrating and concerning U-turn and I’m calling on the Government to urgently reconsider.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan revealed in his re-election manifesto that he was working with the Department for Transport to take Great Northern services from Moorgate under TfL control.

Mr Khan also made a pledge to “build on the progress we’ve made in the last five years on rail devolution” and said he would “explore this with the Government as it reforms the national rail network”.

Previously, Sadiq Khan had sought to have suburban Southeastern and South Western rail services devolved to TfL, though this has not yet materialised.

TfL Rail currently operates services from Liverpool Street to Shenfield and from Paddington to Reading and Heathrow Airport, which will be a part of the eventual TfL-run Crossrail route.

Announced yesterday, Great British Railways will use “a model similar to that used by Transport for London” and will see the new body run and plan the network, including setting fares and timetables, while private partners continue to operate services.

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