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Should TfL run all south London train services?

A London think tank has called for train operators Southeastern, Southern and South West Trains to be replaced and the services they provide to become part of the Overground run by TfL.

In the ‘turning south London orange’ report by the Centre for London, not putting train services under TfL control will cause the network to “struggle with progressively worse crowding and congestion as demand continues to grow." It also claims extending the Overground would bring extra economic benefits and job growth. The news comes as the South West Trains franchise contact is coming to end and the Department for Transport is asking for commuter views on the current service.

South West Trains, which provide services in and out of central London from stations in Kingston, Richmond, Wandsworth, Elmbridge and Epsom, has often been a point of contention with commuters who complain of late trains, delays and cancellations on a daily basis. The franchise also has some of the most overcrowded trains in the country with certain morning services being 60 per cent over capacity. The 7.32am and 7.02am South West services from Woking to Waterloo through Surbiton are consistently in the top 10 most overcrowded trains in the country.

The report estimates any TfL takeover would cost £10b to £15b over 25 years with rail franchises being phased out when they came up for renewal. South West Trains’ franchise expires in 2017, Southeastern's in 2018 and Southern in 2021.

To give your views on the franchise email SouthWesternFranchise2016@railexecutive.gsi.gov.uk or write to South Western Consultation Coordinator, 4/15 Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, SW1P 4DR by February 9.

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