UK: The London Assemblys Transport Committee published a report on November 26 setting out what it sees as the short-term priorities for heavy rail services in the capital.
1. Effective small-scale interventions: The committees key recommendation is that infrastructure manager Network Rail should deliver a plan for targeted works such as signalling upgrades and the construction of turnback sidings which would enable the operation of more frequent and longer trains; it says the Mayor of London and Transport for London should press the Department for Transport and Network Rail to deliver these priority projects urgently.
2. Healthy Stations: The Mayor and TfL should produce a healthy stations charter to improve access for pedestrians, cyclists and passengers with disabilities.
4. A single rail strategy for London: London currently has no overall rail strategy, but the committee believes TfL and Network Rail should produce one that all parties will commit to implementing.
5. Improving accessibility: Funding available for accessibility upgrades is far too small, the committee says. The Mayor and TfL should press the Department for Transport to increase Access for All funding and ensure all priority upgrades are delivered in the next five years.
6. Increase funding: TfL should consider all options to increase funding for Londons rail network, including funding Network Rail schemes and contributing to projects outside London. An example could be funding upgrading and electrification of the route between Felixstowe and Nuneaton, allowing more freight services to avoid London and thus releasing capacity for more frequent passenger trains in the capital.
The committee said it would support further devolution of responsibility for awarding operating contracts from DfT to TfL, but we believe it is critical that improvements to Londons suburban rail services are prioritised now and regardless of which operators are running the services.
More than 300 improvement projects are in the pipeline over the festive spell – heres how to check if your train is cancelled or delayed