Bring More Trains Under TfL's Control

By Londonist Last edited 34 months ago
Bring More Trains Under TfL's Control

Photo by Geoff Marshall

Transport for London should take over more of London's metro rail lines, argues London Assembly Member Darren Johnson.

The latest chapter in the London Overground success story got underway on Sunday as Transport for London (TfL) took control of rail services between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town. The move will see upgrades to all existing trains and an immediate makeover for the 23 stations on the line, many of which have suffered years of under-investment.

New ticket machines, deep-cleaning of both rolling stock and stations are the order of the day. There will also be staff at stations from the first to last trains of the day — a measure which makes travelling so much more secure for passengers. New trains will follow in summer 2018 and passengers could also benefit from lower fares and concessionary travel.

Since its establishment in 2007, Londoners have flocked to the ginger line. The Overground consistently achieves the lowest complaints rate of any train operating company in the independent Office for Rail Responsibility’s rankings and the Mayor ultimately carries the can for any performance issues that do crop up.

As commuters using London Bridge station in recent months have come to learn only too well, the lack of direct accountability that is part and parcel of non-devolved rail has a significant and detrimental effect on passengers. The ongoing chaotic situation at London Bridge rail station that has seen dangerous crushes, cancellations and delays would surely have been nipped in the bud much faster were Boris Johnson’s job on the line.

TfL, having also integrated West Anglia and Liverpool Street to Shenfield rail services into its network, now operate three quarters of all journeys in and out of Liverpool Street station. It’s hard to imagine daily London Bridge-esque meltdowns playing out there if the Mayor and his transport commissioner were being dragged over the coals for such a shambles by the London Assembly and others.

The new government will want to pursue its localism agenda with fresh vigour and making the Mayor of London accountable to Londoners for metro rail services should be at the heart of that project. It would make a tangible difference to peoples’ daily lives.

Last Updated 04 June 2015


It's fair enough taking over the stations and track from national rail... that's localism.
But why take train operations in to public hands? Get someone else to do that!


"It’s hard to imagine daily London Bridge-esque meltdowns playing out there if the Mayor and his transport commissioner were being dragged over the coals for such a shambles by the London Assembly and others."

Eh? Have you been to Liverpool Street this week? They have had a terrible week on the Liverpool Street lines, always claiming on its rubbish twitter feed that there is "a good service" when there have been constant delays, cancellations and short formations. To make it worse they have waited until today to admit and apologise.

London Overground operating out of London Bridge would have never avoided the chaotic scenes at London Bridge. Anything to do with infrastructure is not under train operator control, but is the responsibility of Network Rail.

I'm not against LO running the network, just please don't make out everything is wonderful, because it really isn't. South West Trains or Southern gets attacked for overcrowding but no one says anything about the same about London Overground's original routes. Its laughable.

By the way London Overground is not nationalised and it is a National Rail service.

Kent Commuter

Its worth remembering that many metro lines exit the Greater London area where the mayor and TfL have no electoral mandate to run transport services. There needs to be so way of enabling accountability to the electors/travellers in these areas.


one problem with the Ginger Line is it's Rolling Stock, and lack of decent window space (compared to older rolling stock on other lines); the rolling stock in use on the Ginger Line seems cheap and designed for Consumers (advertising being more prominent than window-space), instead of Citizens who like looking outside!


Connect the ginger line with the new stations somewhere so you can actually move from one part of east London to another.


Hopefully the expansion of TfL control on the former greater Anglia routes doesn't result in those stations losing their ticket offices like the Undergound !