TfL hopes to push Overground onto key suburban rail routes

TRANSPORT for London (TfL) remains optimistic that it will get the go-ahead to take control of key suburban rail routes early next year.

Howard Smith, chief operating officer for TfL’s rail operations, told City A.M. that he is “hopeful of coming to some conclusions in the next few months” following discussions with the Department for Transport.

TfL wants to build on the success of its London Overground network by running parts of the current West Anglia service from Liverpool Street to Enfield and Chingford, as well as some inner suburban services out of London Bridge and Charing Cross operated by Southeastern.

“We would plan to bring – where we can – more trains, integrated ticketing, more security at stations, greater reliability and better staffing,” Smith said.

“Franchisees can only justify investment over seven years but we’re able to take a thirty-year view. Our job is to make the case to the secretary of state as to what we could do.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson backs the plan, although it is understood that current transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin is less supportive than his predecessor Justine Greening.

Smith was talking at a preview of the new London Overground route from Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays, which launches on 9 December. The new service promises to cut journey times for commuters heading from South London to Canary Wharf.

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April 22, 2014, 2:25pm