Will Taking Southern Railway’s Franchise Away Give Norbury Travellers A Better Deal?

On 9 November Norbury resident Paul Cowling had an article about his frustrations as a user of the Southern Railway train service published on Croydon Citizen (http://thecroydoncitizen.com/politics-society/croydon-commuters-tale).

He is not convinced that things will change if Southern’s franchise is taken away from it.

This idea is supported by Croydon South Conservative MP Chris Philp who said back in May:  “This franchise is too big and unmanageable, and is being very badly run at present. I am therefore calling for the franchise to be removed from GTR immediately and broken up into smaller franchises.” GTR (Govia) is Southern’s owner company. For further details of his views see his web site at


Suburban commuter lines are due to be transferred to Transport for London by 2021. In relation to Southern London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said it will be his “top priority” to speed it up.

In October Croydon Council Cabinet member Stuart King, who is responsible for traffic and environment, launched a petition to have Southern’s franchise taken away from it and transferred to Transport for London.

You can see the arguments in favour at


and if you agree you can sign the petition on it.

Southern’s insistence on wanting to make drivers responsible for closing the doors has now aggravated two railwaymen’s trade unions: RMT and ASLEF. They argue that this change in responsibilities is bad for passenger safety. RMT says:

‘Currently, both the driver and the guard protect the safety of the train. Guards must be fully trained in operational safety and route knowledge, including being able to secure the doors safely, protecting the train and acting in emergencies such as derailments or fires.
Independent inquiries after train crashes and fatalities have consistently said that we need on-board staff trained in protection and evacuation procedure.

If there is an accident, antisocial behaviour, or even a terrorist attack, the guard can call for assistance and inform and reassure passengers.’

Further details of the RMT case can be seen at:





About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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