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Calls for joint TfL and Network Rail strategy

Clapham junction station 3to2

Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL) are being urged to develop a joint rail strategy to provide the “focus needed to deliver a better service for passengers”.

In a report by the The Greater London Authority (GLA) Transport Committee, the lack of a single rail strategy for London was highlighted as being detrimental to the capital’s rail infrastructure. 

The report said that the lack of a combined strategy meant there was not the “focus” needed to deliver improvements across the London rail network.

It said delivering its recommendations would require a new form of joint working between the organisations but at present this “simply does not happen in a meaningful way”.

The report added that although largescale projects like Crossrail 2 would bring “significant benefits”, there were a number of improvements which could be made in the short term to ease problems such as infrequent, unreliable and overcrowded trains across the capital.

To do this, the report said Network Rail needed to deliver a large number of small-scale works to allow more and bigger trains to run on London’s suburban rail network. 

Recommendations ranged from putting turnbacks in locations such as Belmont and Cheam, lengthening of platforms including those at Victoria Station to accommodate 10-car trains, and a possible scheme to digitise signalling on the Moorgate branch of the Northern City Line to increase the frequency of trains.

It said Network Rail must prioritise delivery of “strategic, targeted upgrades” that together with TfL would ensure more frequent and longer trains across the network, moving it more towards a metro-style service “wherever possible”.

A Network Rail spokesperson said it welcomed the report and said plans to deal with overcrowding at hotspots like Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye and Clapham Junction in south London were being developed, with short term interventions like temporary entrances identified while the case for funding was made.

“Consultation is being carried out for a major project to improve reliability on the Brighton Main Line by removing the bottleneck at Croydon, alongside work on Crossrail 2, the re-development of Clapham Junction and separating lines at Woking to improve reliability,” it said. “Business cases for funding are being developed.

“Network Rail and TfL work closely together and are already developing plans for a joint London rail strategy.” 

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