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London's rail infrastructure 'hampering growth'

Shortcomings in the capital’s rail infrastructure are hampering economic growth and quality of life, a new report by the London Assembly has said.

The report from the assembly’s transport committee called for a single rail strategy for the capital, produced by Transport for London and Network Rail and to which all parties would commit to implementing.

A strategic plan would strengthen the case for London receiving infrastructure funding, the report argued, while setting out “how rail investment can unlock jobs, housing and growth within and beyond the capital”.

The report noted that, while it had heard details of “a great range of rail projects” that would benefit London, it was not clear which schemes were a priority and in what order they should be delivered.

A single rail strategy would reduce fragmentation of the network, which could be exacerbated if Network Rail’s routes were devolved, the transport committee added.

It also called for more funding for accessibility upgrades and for the Department for Transport to rethink the Access for All funding available to ensure all priority upgrades are delivered in the next five years.

TfL should consider funding certain Network Rail schemes where necessary, the report suggested, and contributing to projects outside London such as freight “where this will enable the provision of more frequent and bigger trains for passengers in the capital”.

London Assembly transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon said: “We have seen from our investigation that the rail network is failing passengers because trains are too small, too infrequent and too unreliable, and stations are often difficult to access.

“Poor rail infrastructure has a direct and negative effect on our quality of life and economic productivity – in a major world city like London, this is simply unacceptable.

“We are also calling for a rail strategy for London [so] that TfL and Network Rail can ensure a sharper, joined-up focus on delivering for London’s rail passengers.

“For London’s rail network to thrive, and for passengers to get the service they deserve, we challenge the mayor, TfL and Network Rail to deliver on the priorities set out in our report.” 

Readers' comments (1)

  • I love how London seems to think it is being hard done to. The "lack of investment" in London is minuscule in relation to the lack of investment in the rest of the country. Midland Mainline Electrification would not have been cancelled if it had benefited London in any small way.

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