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"Accelerate TfL takeover of Southern train services"

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londonerhere

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The guardian reports that TfL could potentially hasten its takeover of Southern train services sooner rather than later after a motion from Chuka Umunna to strip Govia Thameslink of its franchise. Link below.

Any thoughts?

For me, I wonder to what extent TfL could take over such a large network that extends far beyond London's typical zones.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...e-tfl-takeover-of-southern-train-services-mps

MPs have called on the government to accelerate a proposed takeover of Southern metropolitan services by Transport for London, as the train operating company Govia Thameslink Railway prepares to cut back its timetable by 350 trains a day.

An early-day motion sponsored by Labour former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, and backed by MPs of other parties in affected constituencies, has added to opposition calls to strip GTR of its franchise. It proposed that TfL run the trains instead by adding them to its London Overground network.

The government signalled last year that it would look to bring more lines under TfL control, but that this would not happen until at least 2021, when the franchise expires.

Umunna, the MP for Streatham, has also launched a public petition to demand GTR be stripped of the franchise...
 
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BuryBlue

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I believe that the plan is to give TfL suburban services and then the rump ones remaining amalgamated into a new franchise.

I think that, technically under the LPTB Act that effectively gives TfL its remit it could take over all services heading into London if it really wanted to; but in reality this will never be done.

Plus TFL have no experience in dealing with fast, long distance railway networks - even the Met's extremities' fast services are slowly being axed, and I'm fairly sure LO is an all stopping network too.
 

DasLunatic

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They'll probably only take the Reigate services and the Southern Metros, with stations outside the Travelcard region being moved into a special area, as per Watford Junction and Shenfield. Everything else will be business as usual, I think.
 

100andthirty

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Decide in haste, repent at leisure. I would advocate doing nothing in a hurry. If GTR services were to be handed to TfL, not only does it extend TfL's influence from Kings Lynn to the south coast, it would simply hand all the staff and problems to TfL. The issue over guards and DOO isn't going away. In any event, TfL probably has more experience of DOO trains than any other body in the UK.

GTR's problems are many and complex. As well as DOO, they have a shortage of drivers inherited from the last lot and the "challenges"at London Bridge which have caused a lot more trouble than had been hoped, probably because the traffic increased so much during the works.
 

DasLunatic

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I believe that the plan is to give TfL suburban services and then the rump ones remaining amalgamated into a new franchise.

I think that, technically under the LPTB Act that effectively gives TfL its remit it could take over all services heading into London if it really wanted to; but in reality this will never be done.

Plus TFL have no experience in dealing with fast, long distance railway networks - even the Met's extremities' fast services are slowly being axed, and I'm fairly sure LO is an all stopping network too.

Not quite. The Met runs fast between Baker Street and Wembley Park, and the Picc runs express between Acton Town and Earls Court.
(and some of the Liverpool St services are express from Bethnal Green to Hackney, IIRC)
 
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fgwrich

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They'll probably only take the Reigate services and the Southern Metros, with stations outside the Travelcard region being moved into a special area, as per Watford Junction and Shenfield. Everything else will be business as usual, I think.

Indeed, If not already going to Thameslink then I can imagine the Sutton Loop / Epsom / Reigate & Caterham services switching to TfL.
 

tbtc

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TFL have no experience in dealing with fast, long distance railway networks - even the Met's extremities' fast services are slowly being axed

What special experience is needed though?

There's not a lot of scope to rip up timetables and start again, so any "takeover" would presumably be using the same drivers with the same trains at the same times.

The only questions are whether it's appropriate for a public body to operate services outside its own area (e.g. Chester to Crewe being run by politicians in Cardiff) and how they'd treat fares (Oyster with everything?) - they'd cope with the operational stuff fine
 

londonerhere

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They'll probably only take the Reigate services and the Southern Metros, with stations outside the Travelcard region being moved into a special area, as per Watford Junction and Shenfield. Everything else will be business as usual, I think.

The Metros seem to be quite a complicated network. Do you think TfL would try and simplify the lines at least for the appearance on a TfL map?
 

Busaholic

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Not quite. The Met runs fast between Baker Street and Wembley Park, and the Picc runs express between Acton Town and Earls Court.
(and some of the Liverpool St services are express from Bethnal Green to Hackney, IIRC)

But the post you were responding to was referring to LO i.e. London Overground.
 

Minstral25

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As an outside observer having watched this debacle for some time, it seems to me that the reality is that this problem has been brewing for ages.

For example DfT under the last Labour government decided to order the new Siemens trains without Guards panels for the proposed specifications issued in April 2008 under the last Labour government. Even then it was planned they would take over trains that had Guards on them (i.e. the ex-Southern services, to for example Horsham). The required DOO was always going to cause conflict with the Unions and the RMT seem to have played it well so far, although ultimately I expect they will lose.

DfT/Network Rail also planned/decided to do the works at London Bridge without thinking about how it would affect the Southern sections of the routes. Key Outputs 0 and 1 were all about getting the Bedford and core lines ready, as far as I am aware very little work was done south of the core. This has imploded on them, as the extra pressure on the network has meant every creaking part, every flat junction in South London and the Brighton Main line is now a pressure point that could pop any moment.

They also didn't plan enough ahead for extra stock, so Southern have had to increase the availability of the 377's from 86% to 95% every weekday leaving precious little time available to maintain the stock and in the end failures are causing delays everywhere. That may relieve if 700's start appearing on trains and the 377s aren't stolen to go elsewhere too quickly.

Southern/GTR are just the poor sods who walked into this mess, they should have known better and not bid for the franchise. Having an abrasive idiot like Horton at the top hasn't helped but now they are doing the Governments dirty work and getting shedloads of criticism for it from their staff and their passengers.

I don't think anyone saw this coming but a lot of incompetent decisions over many years has caused the current nightmare

This is just my view and I am sure there are lots of Greys about it - please correct me if I am wrong anywhere
 

swt_passenger

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Indeed, If not already going to Thameslink then I can imagine the Sutton Loop / Epsom / Reigate & Caterham services switching to TfL.

The Sutton/Wimbledon Loop is definitely remaining with Thameslink, it was a major decision made after the TSGN franchise consultation which resulted in it staying by public demand. It has been fairly frequently mentioned in forum discussions ever since.

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

The Metros seem to be quite a complicated network. Do you think TfL would try and simplify the lines at least for the appearance on a TfL map?

Yes, TfL have already stated that is their intention in the Southern and Southeastern Metro areas. They would rather provide a 4 tph service to a single terminus than 2 tph to 2 different terminals, especially if it reduces junction conflicts.

Of course that may not be what the public want, at all...
 
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fgwrich

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The Sutton/Wimbledon Loop is definitely remaining with Thameslink, it was a major decision made after the TSGN franchise consultation which resulted in it staying by public demand. It has been fairly frequently mentioned in forum discussions ever since.

Is there not a Southern operated service along this route anymore? I knew of the Thameslink service remaining within the T/L Franchise, but thought Southern also operated some services along this route. Or am I confusing myself with the ex Southern 319s which often turned up on the Sutton Loop Thameslink services?
 

Domh245

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Is there not a Southern operated service along this route anymore? I knew of the Thameslink service remaining within the T/L Franchise, but thought Southern also operated some services along this route. Or am I confusing myself with the ex Southern 319s which often turned up on the Sutton Loop Thameslink services?

Southern worked a few morning and evening services to and from London Bridge, but it may have been withdrawn in the most recent "emergency" timetable
 

swt_passenger

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Southern worked a few morning and evening services to and from London Bridge, but it may have been withdrawn in the most recent "emergency" timetable

Yes, I was thinking only of the main all day Thameslinks, agree the peak extra Southerns would presumably come under any TfL transfer.

I don't think a sudden transfer is on the cards though, TfL won't be geared up to do it for ages.
 

yorkie

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Is there not a Southern operated service along this route anymore? I knew of the Thameslink service remaining within the T/L Franchise, but thought Southern also operated some services along this route. Or am I confusing myself with the ex Southern 319s which often turned up on the Sutton Loop Thameslink services?
Well, not these days as they're all Govia Thameslink operated; it doesn't really matter what brand name they're using!;)
 

matt_world2004

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I don't think southern would cancel 350 services a day for long if it was being fined upto £36 000 for each cancelled service , which is the charge TfL levy on the crossrail concessionaire for cancellations.
 

Surreytraveller

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Not quite. The Met runs fast between Baker Street and Wembley Park, and the Picc runs express between Acton Town and Earls Court.
(and some of the Liverpool St services are express from Bethnal Green to Hackney, IIRC)

The Met and Picc are LU, not LO.
 

londonboi198o5

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Southern worked a few morning and evening services to and from London Bridge, but it may have been withdrawn in the most recent "emergency" timetable


No the southern service still runs through Wimbledon I saw a class 455/8 with London Bridge on the front only Friday just gone whilst I was alighting the tram so they are still serving that route
 

maniacmartin

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No the southern service still runs through Wimbledon I saw a class 455/8 with London Bridge on the front only Friday just gone whilst I was alighting the tram so they are still serving that route

The emergency timetable doesn't kick in until Monday
 

embers25

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As an outside observer having watched this debacle for some time, it seems to me that the reality is that this problem has been brewing for ages.

For example DfT under the last Labour government decided to order the new Siemens trains without Guards panels for the proposed specifications issued in April 2008 under the last Labour government. Even then it was planned they would take over trains that had Guards on them (i.e. the ex-Southern services, to for example Horsham). The required DOO was always going to cause conflict with the Unions and the RMT seem to have played it well so far, although ultimately I expect they will lose.

How could you say such things as Labour and the unions are still spouting their rubbish that this mess is due to the Tories, despite it clearly being Labour who created this one. The RMT were an awful lot quieter when Labour were in power doing exactly the same things that are being done now but of course the RMT are only protecting their members with no political objectives at all....it's very sad that as soon as Corbyn was threatened the unions came running around defending him as they are only too aware that he is their last hope of ever getting their power back and god help the country if they do as Brexit will seem like a small blot of the path of history if unions ever get their power back.
 

LLivery

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Are all of Southern's "Metro" routes DOO?

Yes. Have only once seen a guard on the suburbans in over ten years.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The Metros seem to be quite a complicated network. Do you think TfL would try and simplify the lines at least for the appearance on a TfL map?

I doubt the routes will see massive timetable differences. The Greenwich line only goes into Cannon Street and capacity problems across South London especially at Lewisham, Clapham and East Croydon means most of this increased frequency talk is as likely as pigs flying no matter how simplified the routes are. As for the appearance on the tube map, I doubt they'll be on it because they wont fit on unless the actual map size is bigger. If they did appear on it, they won't be shown as separate routes either.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
A lot of these calls for a quicker TfL take over are on the assumptions things will be better the day after takeover. West Anglia users have learn't that is a very stupid assumption. I am in favour for a quicker TfL take over, but people should not be sold a lie. Whilst the mess of GTRs disputes will be over, there is no way the Southern and Southeastern suburbans will get better over night or even a year and LO take over is not nationalisation. Furthermore, LOs serious overcrowding issues, slightly increased delays and very poor staff to passenger communication in times of disruption means that the wonderful honeymoon period TfL has enjoyed from its daily commuters is wearing off. It seems the only people who call it wonderful use LO occasionally.
 
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BuryBlue

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Not quite. The Met runs fast between Baker Street and Wembley Park, and the Picc runs express between Acton Town and Earls Court.
(and some of the Liverpool St services are express from Bethnal Green to Hackney, IIRC)

Yes, but while I admit I've never been down the shared Met/Jub section I thought there were only deep level platforms on the Stanmore branch, and the Met's tracks are fully segregated, and the Picc/District section has a mish mash of platforms which makes it impossible for the Picc to stop. Not quite what I was getting at, rather the example that the Amersham fast trains now only exist in peak times and are slowly being whittled down to an unfavourable off peak, very slow stopping service.

I didn't know about the LO fasts though, thank you. However, they are the exception as opposed to the rule.

What special experience is needed though?

There's not a lot of scope to rip up timetables and start again, so any "takeover" would presumably be using the same drivers with the same trains at the same times.

The only questions are whether it's appropriate for a public body to operate services outside its own area (e.g. Chester to Crewe being run by politicians in Cardiff) and how they'd treat fares (Oyster with everything?) - they'd cope with the operational stuff fine

I suppose so. But I think that with a TfL takeover of services there's generally the impression that the railway's problems will magically go away because of TfL's more fluid funding. I suppose in a way they have - the early problems with knackered trains on the LOROL Hertford East branch due to Abellio's impressive neglect went away eventually. How would such a split work? Would TfL be given management of a London Terminal (Victoria?) and try to run as many services as possible from there? I'd think they would want to stay as far out of the way as Govia (and therefore London Bridge) as they can.

They already do so. I'm not sure how the London fare zones are drawn up but currently it's an odd way of doing things. Watford is a special zone (I gather due to the fares being set by London Midland) whereas Epping makes it into Zone 6, and conversely Amersham somehow deserves Zone 9.

While there is an argument to be had, like I say, the LPTB act that gives TfL its operating remit does in theory give the operator scope to take over services that London bound commuters rely on. But where do you stop? Inner suburbans? Outer suburbans? InterCity? Airport Expresses? It will open a can of worms that I'd suspect TfL would rather leave. Though either a council charge (for out of zone workings) or fare rebalances (Eg making Zone 7,8,9 out of London zones and standardising fares) would be in order so the situation of London taxpayers subsidising suburban commuters does not become a glaring issue.

If you go for the Zone rebalancing then Oyster could well be used. Failing that then you probably will have to build another smart card system which uses distance to calculate the fares - I can only imagine the confusion that would cause.
 

samuelmorris

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Apart from the issues stemming from reintroducing EMUs with bottom of the table MTIN figures, I can't say I've noticed punctuality on the WA come out much worse post-Abellio, but I will agree on the customer service front. It's effectively like getting a machine to run things in place of a person - it may do a better job when things go right, but when they go wrong expect radio silence. That being said, when it comes to TSGN, TfL would be hard pressed to do a worse job on punctuality than the incumbent. Looking at the 'our performance' chart at a Southern station this week and seeing all the RT% figures in the thirties made for depressing reading.

Not entirely sure how overcrowding can be directly attributed to LO on the West Anglia side, they just took over the existing service as-was and new rolling stock has yet to arrive. The overcrowding is pretty horrific on the North London route, but that's all been driven by the growth that came from them actually offering a half-decent service to begin with. Now they've pretty much hit the physical capacity of the line. Is that the TOC's fault?

Overcrowding on TfL Rail is bad, but only as bad as it's been for years. Almost zero growth in the number of trains running for 30 odd years is going to make things a bit of a squeeze. Really the only legitimate complaint I have about their takeovers is the fact they don't talk to you.
 

LLivery

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Yes, but while I admit I've never been down the shared Met/Jub section I thought there were only deep level platforms on the Stanmore branch, and the Met's tracks are fully segregated, and the Picc/District section has a mish mash of platforms which makes it impossible for the Picc to stop. Not quite what I was getting at, rather the example that the Amersham fast trains now only exist in peak times and are slowly being whittled down to an unfavourable off peak, very slow stopping service.

I didn't know about the LO fasts though, thank you. However, they are the exception as opposed to the rule.

Willesden Green and Neasden both have Met platforms and neither see regular service. The Amersham service is awfully slow now, however I feel they did it because people have the much faster Chiltern service.

As for the LO fasts, no other route is practical for fasts. Its Silverlink routes never had them.
 

glbotu

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Yes, TfL have already stated that is their intention in the Southern and Southeastern Metro areas. They would rather provide a 4 tph service to a single terminus than 2 tph to 2 different terminals, especially if it reduces junction conflicts.

Of course that may not be what the public want, at all...

I mean, that's an admirable stated aim, but I can't see it successfully done without some infrastructure changes, largely because you're dealing with a large number of 2tph sections, where the "Metro" frequency can't be increased, because of conflicts etc.

Looking at Sutton, it has 8tph stopping to Victoria (I've ignored the faster Horsham/Dorkings which run as effective fast trains). Of those, 4tph go via Selhurst, 2tph via Mitcham and 2tph via Crystal Palace. If you were to rationalise that, then you'd either have to run more trains via Mitcham (interferes with Thameslink and the faster Horsham services) or more trains via Crystal Palace (interferes with LO at Norwood Junction/West Croydon as well as all kinds of complexity around Gloucester Road/Windmill Bridge junctions).

The awkwardness interestingly doesn't really come in the branch form (like, say the Metropolitan line), but in the little chords here and there that actually make up the services.

Additionally, you then have problems of connectivity, but that's been highlighted in other threads.
 

DynamicSpirit

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I doubt the routes will see massive timetable differences. The Greenwich line only goes into Cannon Street and capacity problems across South London especially at Lewisham, Clapham and East Croydon means most of this increased frequency talk is as likely as pigs flying no matter how simplified the routes are.

I would imagine that capacity problems at Lewisham could be somewhat eased simply by running more of the Blackheath services to Cannon Street, and more of the Ladywell/Hither Green services to Charing Cross or Victoria - thus avoiding having so many trains cross each others' paths.
 

Philip C

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........there's generally the impression that the railway's problems will magically go away because of TfL's more fluid funding. I suppose in a way they have - the early problems with knackered trains on the LOROL Hertford East branch due to Abellio's impressive neglect went away eventually. ..........

Could I point out that, to my knowledge, LOROL does not work the Hertford East branch.

I'm no expert on these matters but my impression is that, were TfL to take control of Southern/Southeastern services they would permit the 'London Elderly' to travel, without restriction, in peak hours. There was also some suggestion that this would be extended to children too, but I'm unfamiliar with the detail. If this is the case the immediate effect of a transfer would be additional passengers on already heavily loaded services.

Perhaps someone with greater knowledge of these matters would like to comment?
 

swt_passenger

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I mean, that's an admirable stated aim, but I can't see it successfully done without some infrastructure changes, largely because you're dealing with a large number of 2tph sections, where the "Metro" frequency can't be increased, because of conflicts etc.

That's exactly how I see it panning out. It is dead easy for TfL and their various cheerleaders to suggest frequency improvements, but the Central and Southeastern areas of the old Southern Region (unlike the Southwestern division) have always provided this ability for direct travel to a choice of two or more terminals, and if that is what people prefer, then TfL's aims will have to be forced through after consultation tells them people don't want higher frequencies to a single terminus.

That's before you consider infrastructure changes needed which NR will take 15 to 20 years to process...
 
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