UK: The Department for Transport confirmed on February 14 that it had reached agreement to transfer responsibility for four suburban rail services to Transport for London on November 11 2007.
TfL London Rail is to start work shortly on 'procuring a concession' to run the Silverlink Metro inner suburban routes: Stratford - Richmond, Gospel Oak - Barking, Euston - Watford and Willesden Junction - Clapham Junction. National Express Group's existing Silverlink franchise is due to be broken up as part of DfT Rail's franchise restructuring in the West Midlands.
Welcoming the transfer of responsibility, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said 'from 2007, TfL can begin to revitalise London's overground rail services, just as it has done with buses and is doing on the Tube.'
TfL plans to invest £25m on station improvements and introduce additional station staff. It will also extend the use of Oyster smart cards, where the stored-value facility cannot currently be used on suburban rail services.
Over the next five years, a fleet of high-capacity trains similar to those being procured for the East London Line will be acquired to operate a basic service of eight trains/h on the North London Line between Stratford and Willesden. The route is expected to play a significant role in serving the 2012 Olympic Games venues at Stratford.