Memorandum by Transport for London (FOR
THE FUTURE OF THE RAILWAYS
1.1 Transport for London (TfL) is the Mayor
of London's strategic transport authority with responsibility
for providing public transport services and infrastructure across
1.2 London has a high demand for commuter
rail servicesapproximately 500,000 people per weekday travel
into central London during the morning peak on National Rail (NR)
services, the provision of which are outside TfL London Rail's
1.3 London relies on rail for a host of
reasons, primarily because its major road network capacity is
small in comparison to other world cities but it has a much larger
1.4 The Mayor of London gives Directions
and Guidance to the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) on its needs
from the National Rail Network to support London's Transport Plan.
1.5 There is a London Rail Partnership Agreement
(LRPA) in place between TfL London Rail and the SRA to facilitate
the development and implementation of service improvements. There
is, however, no obligation on the SRA to follow the Mayor's directions
if additional costs would be incurred.
1.6 The effective management of London's
railways is critical to delivering both the Mayor's Transport
Strategy and London's contribution to the Government's Ten Year
1.7 An effective rail network is central
to the Mayor's strategy to improve transport in London and TfL
London Rail is committed to working in partnership with other
organisations to achieve better financial and service delivery
value. TfL is committed to supporting service enhancements on
London's National Rail network. Its policies, strategies and plans
do not naturally harmonise with the SRA's objectives and policies
for the national UK rail network.
1.8 TfL London Rail recognises the pressure
on existing resources (operational and financial) and the many
conflicting priorities faced by the rail industry through such
agreements as the LRPA. We have creatively sought to build a robust
partnership with key industry participants in order to more effectively
concentrate existing resources and capabilities on the immediate
job in hand.
1.9 TfL London Rail welcomes the Transport
Committee's inquiry into the future of rail and would be happy
to answer any questions. In this submission we have focused on
the Committee's key themes, as follows:
Is rail an outmoded form of transport?
Is the present network the right
one; if not, how should it be changed?
What sort of traffic is the network
best used for?
How does our network compare with
other railways, and what lessons can we learn from other countries?
2. IS RAIL
2.1 No. Without rail, London and the nation's
economy will decline. NR currently has a 42% weekday share of
morning peak travel demand into central London. This figure rises
to 77% when London Underground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
services are added. Amongst other things, these figures reflect
that the capital has an extensive and well used rail system.
2.2 A study recently undertaken by the Centre
for Economic Business Research concluded that a failure to invest
in expanding London's rail network, to meet the forecast increase
in London's population, would slow down the capital's Gross Domestic
Product to below 2% per year and sacrifice around 500,000 London
jobs. London could also lose its place as Europe's most important
2.3 Without sustained investment in the
existing network, London will cease to function because we cannot
simply build roads as a means of addressing transport infrastructure
problems. London's railways are already at, or near, capacity,
resulting in serious overcrowding.
2.4 Subject to financial investment and
a favourable planning regime, rail can play its part in meeting
the massive future growth demand predicted in the Mayor's London
Plan. This document, which is the Mayor's spatial development
strategy, anticipates London's population will increase by approximately
650,000 people by 2016. The existing rail network will not be
able to meet such growth.
3. IS THE
3.1 The present network has evolved in a
mostly unplanned fashion during the post-war period. It has many
competing demands and requires a long-term strategic vision.
3.2 Rail in and around London essentially
comprises large volumes of commuter and InterCity traffic with
a limited amount of freight. The "mixed" railway does
what it can to meet the differing needs of these audiences, but
at certain times of the day and at certain locations, struggles.
Orbital routes such as the North London Line are highly congested
and passenger demand is suppressed by the lack of paths due to
freight requirements. Many radial routes into London are already
at capacity, limited by short platforms and lack of terminal platforms
3.3 It is also worth stressing that whether
a public or private asset, rail will always be reliant on Government
support, be that in the financial, legislative or planning areas.
3.4 TfL, in controlling other aspects of
London's transport provision, is well placed through its London
Rail directorate to ensure that commuter rail services in and
around the capital are properly planned and integrated into a
single transport network.
3.5 Planned improvements will not be effective
unless rail capacity is increased and this involves the need for
prioritised and properly funded project management. TfL London
Rail should take direct involvement in the management of what
are presently SRA duties including service specification, fare
setting, capacity enhancement and strategic planning for London's
rail services. This is essential if a properly planned, integrated
transport network is to be developed in London.
3.6 A possible mechanism to improve performance
is to enhance TfL's authorities and responsibilities in a similar
way as to its other transport modes. The Passenger Transport Executives
and the Scottish Executive have significantly greater authority
to plan and fund NR services than TfL.
3.7 An enhanced TfL London Rail body could
directly sponsor the franchising of London's commuter rail services
and ensure that non-rail modes support increases in output from
the rail system.
4. WHAT SORT
4.1 The key issue for London is primarily
about how to get people to/from work. A small and congested road
network and an increasingly overcrowded rail system cannot deliver
this. A balance has to be drawn between long distance and local
rail services, both of which are currently competing for passenger
traffic and slots.
4.2 The existing SRA franchise process does
not reflect that approximately 70% of all passenger journeys originate
or terminate in the London area. The balance at present is largely
dictated by commercial considerations where the Train Operating
Companies (understandably from their perspective) bid for contracts
in terms of what profit they can extract. The franchise specifications
are constructed by the SRA using affordability criteria from a
national perspective rather than regional.
4.3 An expanded and technically upgraded
rail network that complements TfL's existing priorities can deliver
on behalf of London, but it will take political will, secure finance
and a decade of work. The planning delivery and efficiency of
London's overall transport system both today and in the future
is dependent on integration.
5. HOW DOES
5.1 Whilst London is the focus of seven
out of 10 rail journeys in the United Kingdom, it has been the
poor relation when receiving SRA grant support. £70.1 million
of public subsidy was invested in London's rail network last year,
compared to £890.7 million in provincial rail services. Most
recent franchise renewal contracts in London and the South East
are short term, with forecast increases in grant requirement primarily
linked to essential asset renewal, such as replacement of old
trains rather than enhancement of peak capacity.
5.2 Each pound spent supporting London's
rail services secures social benefits that are greater than in
any other part of the NR network. Steer Davies Gleave calculate
that the socio-economic benefits (including journey time, decongestion
and health) for each pound of government rail subsidy are as follows:
5.3 TfL London Rail is not proposing reductions
in rail expenditure elsewhere in the country in favour of Londonwe
believe there is an overwhelming and urgent case to prioritise
additional investment for the capital.
6.1 Rail, as a transport mode has never
been more important, which is why TfL created a London Rail directorate.
We believe we have already made a positive impact on the capital's
rail scene by laying the foundations of a partnership approach
with other industry players and that this work has enabled immediate
term improvements, such as those currently experienced by passengers
on the South London Metro services. Increasing London's rail capacity
is the only truly effective long-term solution.
6.2 London's continued success and prosperity
as a world city is dependent on its public transport, most especially
rail, which is the most effective mode at moving large volumes
of people in and around the city.
6.3 More must be done to improve the quality
and range of service provision and infrastructure. Although much
of this stems from the industry itself securing a fair and sustained
budget settlement from Government and other stakeholders, there
is also an onus on the industry to improve operational and financial
6.4 One of the main reasons for this is
TfL London Rail's desire to secure new schemes, such as Crossrail,
and extensions to the existing system, such as Thameslink 2000
and the East London Line, that are so badly needed to alleviate
pressure on an already overcrowded system. The first two projects
alone would reduce forecast overcrowding on Underground services
by 17% and 30% on DLR. This will not happen if rail funding is
solely determined on a national basis.
6.5 The simple fact is that after years
of planning, numerous delays and setbacks, none of these key projects
have been given final Government approval. Each is still in a
state of uncertainty and the worst case scenario is that none
will go ahead or, even if they do, all will face more serious
delays. New methods of financing have not yet brought these schemes
any nearer implementation and there is constant talk of whether
they are affordable. This is precisely the prescription that has
led, over many years, to the current condition of London's railway
6.6 There needs to be a much more robust
commitment towards getting projects under way, a more flexible
approach towards alternative methods of funding, and greater co-operation
between Government, London bodies, the business community and
the private sector, as all benefit from an efficient rail system.
6.7 The challenge of meeting London's future
transport demands will take time. Even if started today, major
rail projects are unlikely to be delivered before the 2010 to
2013 timeframe. Action is urgently required in the interim to
improve today's service standards. Within its limited budget and
power, TfL London Rail is attempting to deliver such as the South
London "Overground Network" but a more significant strategic
effort is needed if we are to meet the emerging short-term demands
of London's rail network.
6.8 TfL London Rail has no statutory duty
to fund NR services, but faced with inadequate standards and the
impact they have on the TfL network, is investing in upgrading
inner London off peak NR services and stations.
6.9 Where possible, TfL's investment aims
to secure off peak service frequencies of at least four trains
per hour and station upgrades to include "real time"
train information screens, security cameras, help points and new
maps. A pilot exercise on four routes in south London is currently
being assessed before a possible London wide extension.
6.10 Ideally such improvements should be
undertaken in partnership with the SRA through its Rail Partnership
Programme but the SRA has recently suspended the scheme to save
money. TfL believes that a dedicated Partnership Fund for London
is essential and will make a substantial financial contribution
6.11 It is not just a question of financial
investmentthere is also a requirement for more focus on
the needs of London and to ensure that funds are spent wisely.
TfL London Rail and the SRA must build on their new partnership
agreement to give London a greater say in the planning and delivery
of its rail services.
6.12 Some progress can be made through co-operation
between the various bodies responsible for London's railways and
some improvements can be secured at comparatively low cost.
6.13 However, it is major new projects which
are key to the long-term development of London. The total project
cost of implementing Crossrail, Thameslink 2000, the East London
Line extension, power supply upgrade and platform lengthening
is estimated to be in the region of £15 billion. This figure
is significantly less than the contribution London makes in a
single year to other parts of the country.
TfL London Rail