Press Release

London’s Suburban Railways Need Major Investment From Central Government

Responding to the announcement of Rail Prospectus, a new partnership between the Department for Transport and Transport for London, Ben Rogers, Director at Centre for London, said:

“South Londoners have been badly served by the rail network for years. Giving the Mayor control over South London’s suburban rail is a big step forward. It could improve the journeys of millions of Londoners and help generate new homes and jobs south of the Thames.

“However if we are going to meet the growing pressures on South London’s public transport system we will need to double capacity in its rail network. This will require major investment from central government beyond what can be funded from TfL and business contributions.
“Without spending on signalling and train management systems, new trains and better platform management, London could still grind to a halt.”

Last week Centre for London published Turning South London Orange, argues that upgrading south London’s rail network into Overground would:

  • Potentially deliver the full 100 per cent increase in capacity required by 2050.
  • Cost an estimated £10 billion to £15 billion to deliver over 25 years.
  • Support the development of 16,000 new homes in south central London alone.
  • Support employment growth: between 2025 and 2035 34,000 new jobs will be created within 1km of potential Overground stations.

The report outlines an ambitious package of upgrades, and concludes that to deliver the Overground in south London the Department for Transport should devolve suburban rail services to Transport for London, as the current franchises expire.