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Consolidate London's train operators - TfL

LONDON SHOULD only have three train operators rather than 12, the mayor's Transport for London (TfL) department said this week.

TfL also wants to set and collect fares and control timetables, leaving the train operating companies to concentrate on running a 'more reliable service'.

The proposal forms part of TfL's submission for transport secretary Alistair Darling's railway review (NCE 22 January).

'The Department for Transport like what we've said and we're now discussing the details, ' said a TfL spokesman.

Train operators dismissed the proposals. 'TfL does some good things, but this is a pointless distraction, ' said an Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) spokesman.

'It can run buses, but it's a newcomer to the railways.

They'd be better off working with us to improve transport in London, ' he added.

TfL also wants to control sections of railway running into the home counties so it can exert greater control over services.

It claims to be able to increase train capacity by 5% by adjusting timetables to include more stopping trains between London and the outer suburbs, with options to join bus routes en route.

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