London

Govia Thameslink Railway: Fresh call for TfL to run routes

Southern train at Victoria Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption City Hall has suggested Southern and Great Northern services which run in London could be taken over by 2020

London's deputy mayor for transport has called for "urgent talks" to bring parts of the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise under the control of Transport for London (TfL).

Heidi Alexander said some sections which run in the capital could be transferred by 2020.

The franchise has come under fire over the introduction of new timetables.

The transport secretary has previously said he held "initial discussions" with Mayor Sadiq Khan about some services.

Transferring services to TfL would see routes currently run by a privatised company coming under the control of City Hall.

Under the proposed restructure of GTR, TfL would run Southern and Great Northern services which run in the city from 2020.

These would include trains between Moorgate and Enfield, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City, and suburban services from Victoria and London Bridge to places like Croydon and Sutton.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Heidi Alexander quit as MP of Lewisham East to take up her role at City Hall

In her first major speech, Ms Alexander told a transport conference, hosted by Centre for London, that transferring some services was a "no-brainer".

"The crisis with Govia Thameslink is blighting the lives of Londoners and risks causing our city economic damage if it continues much longer," she said.

She added that TfL was also "ready to take over West London Line services between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction" and had ambitions to take over "metro services across Southern, SouthWestern and SouthEastern."

The Department for Transport has yet to comment on Ms Alexander's speech.

Speaking in the House of Commons in May, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he had discussed the "possibility of transferring" some Great Northern services to TfL.

However, there have been previous warnings that giving power to TfL could be detrimental to commuters outside London.

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