London’s transport commissioner has blamed problems facing commuters into and out of London Bridge on a lack of leadership in the UK’s rail network.
Unlike the Tube, DLR and London Overground which are overseen by the Mayor and Transport for London, services at the station are operated by rail firms which answer to national government.
Since Christmas passengers have been plagued by delays, overcrowding and cancellations as operators have struggled to work about the station’s rebuilding.
Appearing before the London Assembly on Wednesday, transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said “there’s no aspect of the recent iteration of that project which has been successful.”
He told AMs that passengers had suffered because of equipment unreliability, “inadequacies in installation” and an “inability of infrastructure to operate the train service that’s been scheduled.”
Sir Peter added: “There is no London focus for either the Southeastern or Southern train services, they’re run as part of a bigger group of services.”
AMs were told that extra demand caused by passengers switching routes and poor performance by rail operator Southern had adversely affected services on the London Overground’s East London Line.
Seeking to contrast the operators’ commercial outlook with TfL’s passenger-focused approach, Sir Peter said he and senior management would have been on site every day to ensure failings in any TfL-managed project were resolved speedily.
In 2014 City Hall unsuccessfully lobbied ministers to hand TfL control of the Southeastern rail franchise.
Sir Peter yesterday said: “I bet there are now some people outside London who were vociferous objectors to us taking over the London part of Southeastern who now rather wish we had.”