Transport for London has today announced plans to take over the running of all suburban rail routes serving the capital, including Southeastern.

The proposals launched by the Secretary of State for Transport and the Mayor of London promise to offer a "new era of rail travel", with better and more reliable trains through the south east.

Rail services that operate mostly or wholly within the Greater London boundary will transfer to TfL when the current franchises are due for renewal, the first of which is Southeastern in 2018, followed by Southern and Thameslink in 2021.

Conservative London Assembly candidate for Lewisham and Greenwich, Adam Thomas, criticised Southeastern after the company's £20m profit was exposed.

Responding to the proposals, he told News Shopper: "The decision to devolve the Southeastern rail franchise is a victory for the campaign to get a better rail service for south-east Londoners. 

"For too long we've put up with delayed, crowded and dirty trains. 

"We called for real reform and we got it, which just shows the power of a mayor who can work collaboratively with national government."

Greenwich MP Matt Pennycook described it as "great news", but highlighted the need for improvements to services before 2018.

The government believes the creation of a London Suburban Metro service has the potential for more than 80 per cent of stations to have a train every 15 minutes, up from 67 per cent today, as well as more regular services through south-east London and Kent.


Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "We are committed to making journeys better across London and the south east, and this new partnership represents a huge opportunity to transform travel by putting passengers where they should be – at the heart of the rail network."

The campaign to strip Southeastern of the route has been ramping up, as fed-up commuters continue to make their voices heard across social media.

The latest online petition, started by Oliver Passey on January 3, has reached just over 14,000 signatures.

Reacting to the news Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry said: "For far too long, suburban rail passengers have endured overcrowding, frequent cancellations and massive disruption to services at holiday periods, while the companies who run those trains make fat profits.

"It’s an obvious improvement to bring those routes under the control of TfL, which doesn’t need to make a profit and will focus on reinvestment not rewarding shareholders."