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Umunna and Hopkins call for 'appalling' South London rail services should be taken over by TfL

By Cllr Jack Hopkins

It's about time Boris did something about the appalling rail service in South London. While he's on the campaign trail in Uxbridge, commuters in Streatham are continuing to suffer. Trains are repeatedly late or cancelled and the ones that do arrive are often overcrowded. 


The work at London Bridge which started in January, has brought the issue into sharper focus. But pretending that the problem will solved as soon as the station upgrade is finished is not good enough.

That's why I've joined with Streatham MP, Chuka Umunna, to demand that the London Mayor takes these failing services under TfL control. A similar thing was done with lines in north London ten years ago when TfL took control of the old North London Railway. The results have been impressive. Journey numbers have risen by 450%, stations are cleaner and better lit and passenger satisfaction has soared.

By contrast, passenger satisfaction on the south London lines operated by Southern Rail are the second worst in the whole country.

When I organised a public meeting to discuss Streatham's transport needs in January, sorting out the trains came up over and over again. We'll be campaigning for Boris - and all the candidates for next year's Mayoral election - to put this at the top of their to do lists. Streatham's commuters have suffered for too long. Now it's time the people in charge of the purse strings did something about it.

p.s - Lambeth Council are asking local people what transport improvements they want to see in Streatham. If you have 2 minutes, please fill in this short survey by clicking here. The text of our letter to Boris is below:



Boris Johnson

The Mayor of London

Greater London Authority

City Hall

The Queen’s Walk




Tuesday 7th April 2015 

Dear Mr Johnson,

Integration of South London Rail Services into London Overground

We are writing to urge you to support the transfer of suburban rail services in South London to the TfL-run Overground network.

The current service is failing passengers. Trains into London from Streatham and large parts of South London, particularly those operated by Southern Trains, are repeatedly late or cancelled and almost always overcrowded. Southern has the second lowest customer satisfaction ratings in the country. Despite this, their parent company Govia was selected to operate the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise for a further seven years.

It is our view that their commuters would be much better served if the service currently run by Southern were incorporated into a TfL-run overground network.

Our understanding is that the takeover of the old North London Railway by TfL ten years ago led to a transformation in service standards. Journey numbers have risen 450%, stations are cleaner and better lit, more trains are arriving on time and passenger satisfaction has soared. 

Overground integration would also hep to create new jobs, and boost local businesses and regeneration in places like Streatham. 

In recent survey of business leaders by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, half of those who were asked reported that problems with commuter train services have led to fewer customers or cancelled meetings. Tackling the chaos we have seen at major London stations is urgent from a safety, convenience and economic standpoint.

I would be grateful if you could outline what you are doing to tackle the serious shortcomings on south London suburban network and state whether you support our calls for these services to be incorporated into the Overground network. 

We look forward to your response

Yours sincerely,

Chuka Umunna

Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary


Cllr Jack Hopkins

Cabinet Member for Jobs & Growth

London Borough of Lambeth 




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