Mayor takes on Silverlink services

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The Department for Transport has announced that responsibility for Silverlink Metro services will be transferred to Transport for London.

Silverlink Metro, whose overground service runs from Richmond to North Woolwich and stops at Kew Gardens, Gunnersbury, South Acton and Central Acton, will transfer control to TfL on 11th November 2007.

This latest move is in line with the Department for Transport's commitment to give the London Mayor more control over rail services within Greater London Authority area.

After the date of transfer, TfL will have complete responsibility for service levels on Silverlink Metro. It will now begin a process of procuring a concession to operate services after the transfer.

Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Transport said “The Silverlink Metro service includes the North London Line, which is a crucial link to the 2012 Olympics. The Government, Transport for London and London 2012 are developing plans to greatly enhance the capacity of the line both in preparation for the Games and to leave a lasting legacy."

Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has been lobbying for this change for several years said, "This announcement means that, from 2007, Transport for London can begin to revitalise London's overground rail services just as it has done with buses and is doing on the Tube. In addition to improved services, my first priority will be station safety and security, which means putting staff back into the stations where the public want to see them. Stations that are currently often understaffed or empty altogether will be staffed adequately, offering passengers a more visible and reassuring presence. Stations and trains will be improved with additional security enhancements including CCTV at stations and on trains.�

The Mayor is is pledging that from 2007, passengers will see some real improvements including:

  • Additional station staff to provide improved customer service, security and revenue protection;
  • Oyster ticketing, including the ability to use Pay-As-You-Go;
  • Extra train services, running earlier in the morning and later in the evening on all North London Railway routes to align with London Underground (LU) services and provide better integration with other modes of services including Tube, bus and train.

Conservative Members of the London Assembly and local councillors have welcomed the announcement and, having recently called on Network Rail to deliver large scale improvements to the line, are now demanding that these improvements go ahead before TfL takes control.

Cllr. Peter Thompson, who's ward includes Gunnersbury Station commented, "I am happy with the news and want the line to be completely refurbished. I also share the concern of many local residents that Gunnersbury Station is unsafe as its only partially manned. That is a completely unacceptable situation, especially when the solutions are obvious and relatively inexpensive."

He urged people to sign up to the London-wide petition that Conservatives on the London Assembly have launched calling for train stations in the capital to be made safer with proper lighting and CCTV.

Labour's Ann Keen MP has also launched a petition calling for proper night time staffing at train stations. “All the rail stations in London should be properly staffed with at least two members of staff during the night. Silverlink only need to make a small dip into their pockets to pay for it.”  she said, " Transport for London have assured me that when they take over the lines in 2007, the stations will be properly staffed at night. I don’t see why we all have to wait that long. Silverlink can well afford to staff stations now and deter violent crime and anti-social behaviour.”

The process to appoint an operator to run the concession will start immediately and will conclude on 11 November 2007 with the start of the North London Railway operating concession by the successful bidder. Until then the services will continue to be run by the current franchise operator, Silverlink Metro, funded by the Department for Transport.

February 18, 2006