Does Chris Grayling really want to give troubled Southern rail to Sadiq Khan?
Despite sharp exchanges between the London mayor and a Tory opponent there is cross-party consensus on suburban rail devolution, which includes concerns that the transport secretary’s heart isn’t in it
The troubled Southern rail service chuffed irritably into City Hall station during Mayor’s Question Time on Wednesday, bringing discord where there has been much harmony. Cross-party agreement on the London Assembly holds that Transport for London should be handed responsibility for the suburban parts of the notoriously tormented routes connecting the capital to Sussex and other Home Counties, but the Conservative group thought Sadiq Khan should get some grief over his overtures to new transport secretary Chris Grayling, plus a bit more besides.
Khan has been calling loudly since July for TfL to take immediate control of Southern by sending in a management hit squad to knock things into shape while the Department for Transport sorts out its longer term future. He and AMs agree that that should mean control of the Govia Thameslink company’s London operation being handed to TfL as soon as possible. Khan has written to Grayling to that effect and on Tuesday the assembly’s cross-party transport committee did the same, as part of a general expression of concern about lack of progress on rail devolution. Khan said he thought the government had “missed a trick” in failing to accept his kind offer.
Source: Guardian Transport