London mayor may control commuter trains

LONDON Mayor Ken Livingstone may be given powers to control rail services outside the capital if proposals outlined by the Government today are adopted.

By Graham Dines

LONDON Mayor Ken Livingstone may be given powers to control rail services outside the capital if proposals outlined by the Government today are adopted.

The Mayor would be able to propose and pay for changes to local rail services which run outside Greater London and could have a say in operations on outer suburban routes, although the InterCity services, including Norwich-Stowmarket-Ipswich-Manningtree-Colchester-Liverpool Street, would be exempt.

Mr Livingstone's powers could include his paying for additional services and different stopping patterns, for trains and he could even propose reductions to services on commuter routes such as those from Essex and Suffolk and use the resulting savings elsewhere in London or in the area affected.


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The plans were outlined in a consultation programme launched by the Department for Transport, which said that as a number of train services on the London inner suburban rail network begin or end outside the Greater London Authority boundary, there was a case for extending the Mayor's ability to propose changes to services on these routes.

The consultation document follows last month's announcement that Mr Livingstone's Transport for London would, from November 2007, take over responsibility for the Metro services of train company Silverlink, which operates out of London's Euston station.

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Shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “My fear is that outer suburban services will become run down, as inner London services, which serve the people that vote for the Mayor, will inevitably get priority.”

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