The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has urged the UK Government to allow Transport for London (TfL) to take charge of rail infrastructure on suburban rail lines from Network Rail.
Transferring railway tracks and stations in London to TfL is expected to lead to a metro-style service in south and southeast London.
TfL will be able to prioritise investment for key rail assets, which will result in increased capacity, decrease in journey times and an improvement in reliability.
The proposal comes following the publication of a strategic case for “metroisation” by TfL. If the proposal is implemented, it is expected to provide frequent, reliable services for commuters.
Sadiq Khan said that the lack of coordination between rail operators and infrastructure providers has led to delayed or cancelled services.
He further stated that the new proposal will ensure a fully integrated rail network for Londoners, as the maintenance and care of rail infrastructure could be undertaken by the same organisation.
Once responsibility is transferred to TfL and additional funding is made available, it will be able to run up to 18 trains per hour. Trains can run every seven to eight minutes from Tulse Hill to London Bridge on the flagship route between Balham and Victoria.
Current systems for ticket payment have also been termed as ‘overcomplicated’ due to differences in payment systems, thereby creating confusion and deterring the use of public transport.
London for Transport Deputy Mayor Heidi Alexander said: “Transferring responsibility for key rail assets to TfL would be the first step towards a long-overdue transformation of the transport network in south and southeast London.
“The current rail franchise system is broken beyond repair, with large dysfunctional franchises not fit for purpose, and a lack of coordination between the rail operators and the providers of the infrastructure.
“The time has come for the whole of London to have an integrated, frequent and reliable rail service fit for a global capital city with a high-quality suburban metro which would also stimulate economic growth, new jobs and homes.”