BBC News

The Transport for London empire grows

Tom Edwards
Transport correspondent, London
@BBCTomEdwardson Twitter

image copyrightGreater Anglia
image captionTwenty-three stations out to Cheshunt in Hertfordshire and Chingford will be taken over

More details are emerging of how and when Transport for London (TfL) is going to take over some of Greater Anglia services.

By 2015, services to Cheshunt and Chingford from Liverpool Street will be run by TfL. And 23 stations will be taken over on the West Anglia line.

TfL says it hopes to upgrade facilities and make services more reliable.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has for a long time wanted more power over commuter rail - as did Ken Livingstone - but it has been a long time coming.

This deal looked nicely cooked after the mayor recently allocated £25m funding to improve the tracks on the line - that was probably a counterweight in the deal.

Concessions calls

One interesting point is two stations in Hertfordshire will now get TfL services.

Many at those stations may not care but there are some commuters on far ends of the Metropolitan Line, like Chesham, who feel they are treated poorly by TfL.

They feel disenfranchised and believe London travellers (and voters) on the same line get better services.

The second interesting point is this will be run as a concession.

So, TfL will pay a private operator to run the service on its behalf and it will keep the fare box - like the DLR & London Overground.

It's pretty rare for a franchise to become a concession. The only one I can think of is Silverlink on the North London Line becoming London Overground.

Unlike a franchise, there is more risk to the authority if there are losses.

TfL no doubt believes with London's growing population the risk is low, however, it's bound to increase the calls for more concessions especially around London.

Southeastern and Southern customers, though, who wanted the same to happen to their services will be disappointed.

Plans to takeover Southeastern services are "unlikely to happen at the present time".

I'm told the strength of feeling from some politicians in Kent against such a move influenced that decision.

More on this story

  • TfL to run West Anglia routes from Liverpool Street