London

Sadiq Khan angry as London train devolution plan halted

Sadiq Khan
Image caption Sadiq Khan has called for TfL to takeover suburban train services in London

Sadiq Khan has accused the government of "dither and delay" after it announced that suburban rail services in London would not be devolved.

London's mayor had argued that giving Transport for London (TfL) control of trains was the only way to improve the "shocking" passenger service.

But Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he only wants TfL to be "closely involved" in developing services.

Mr Grayling has announced a major overhaul of England's railways.

Earlier this year the government indicated that services operated by Southern, Southeastern and South West trains could be devolved to London's transport agency once the current franchises end.

"The government needs to pull their finger out and get on with the task of devolving the suburban trains to TfL," Mr Khan said.

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Media captionChris Grayling explains the overhaul on England's railways

"That would lead to fewer cancellations, fewer delays and my fares freeze being extended," he said.

"We will keep pushing the government to deliver the rail devolution they have promised and that is needed."

The overhaul announced by the transport secretary will see franchises run by joint management teams involving operating companies and Network Rail.

Mr Grayling said he expected the Southeastern franchise, which the mayor had hoped to takeover in 2018, will be one of the first to have an "integrated operating team".

But he said a TfL representative will be invited to join "the franchise specification team" to be "more closely involved" in its development.


Image copyright PA

Analysis: Tim Donovan, BBC London political editor

The Transport Secretary has told Sadiq Khan he's not convinced the mayor should take over suburban train services through south east London.

Chris Grayling says he's not ready to transfer the South Eastern franchise to Transport for London.

Instead, he plans to make the new franchise one of the first where there's closer integration with Network Rail over maintenance and services.

The mayor's been asked to be "closely involved" in planning for the future on suburban routes through south east London.

Effectively the door has not been closed to TfL taking over the franchise, but the mayor's role for now is being seen as advisory.


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