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Devolution of suburban rail

London Councils broadly supports TfL's ambition to incorporate more suburban rail lines into the London Overground network.

  • By Owain Mortimer

London is highly dependent on rail. Transport for London (TfL) awards the contract to operate and oversees the London Overground, which represents a relatively small, but growing, proportion of rail services in London.  It also contracts and oversees TfL Rail between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, Essex. Other rail services are provided by Train Operating Companies under franchise contracts awarded and managed by the Department for Transport. 

The Mayor of London has aspirations for TfL to operate and oversee more of London's suburban rail services.  Along with the Department for Transport, he published a Rail Prospectus in 2016 setting out how this could be done and how services could be improved.

London Councils' response to the Mayor of London and Department for Transport's Rail Prospectus

London Councils' response to the Rail Prospectus set out our support for greater rail devolution, subject to there being a satisfactory agreement between TfL and London Councils on the impact on Freedom Pass costs.  We also suggested that London's local authorities should be represented on the proposed Rail Partnership that would be responsible for ensuring that services are protected, and hopefully improved, both within London and the wider south east.  We argued that value for money should be a key objective of the Partnership.

Letter of support to Secretary of State

In July 2016 London Councils reiterated our support for the devolution of rail franchising by writing to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin. The letter can be read in full here