Fascinating results of a reader’s FOI request published over at London Reconnections, shedding more light on the murky deal between TfL and the DfT over funding ELLX Phase 2.  It quotes what is apparently a communication from the DfT (under Geoff Hoon at the time, although Boris’ mate and new Transport Secretary Lord Adonis was in charge of rail at the time) on the SLL/ELLX Phase 2 funding row.


First of all can I reiterate that, to support a project TfL price at £75m, I am already prepared to offer £24m from savings that might accrue in other areas, I am also prepared to support an application by TfL to the ORR for £19m of RAB funding, the cost of which will come from the
Department over the longer term. Against that background, you invited me to ‘split the difference’ of the remaining £32m.

I am sympathetic, but there are some things to be clear on.

Should the scheme proceed, cost and delivery risk associated with the project (including cost overruns) would be yours, not mine. That includes the risk that the ORR do not accept that the scheme should, in part, be RAB funded. The Surrey Canal Road Station must be included.

In addition

  • TfL will need to confirm that the new Shoreditch High Street is in Zone 1 – this reduces the revenue loss on South Central services as a result of the new East London Line, and is the reason why I can expect to make savings as high as £24m.
  • It will be necessary for you to propose the withdrawal of the South London Line (and the service to Bellingham) and the reduction of service between Denmark Hill / Peckham Rye and Victoria including informing all MPs on the corridor of this change; and, should this closure not proceed, I would be unable to grant the £24m savings to put towards the scheme.
  • TfL must guarantee that no East London Line services will serve London Victoria (if they did the £24m offer would be significantly reduced).

Should the scheme proceed, there are also a number of other minor issues relating to Phase 2b and Phase 1 of the project on which officials need to reach agreement. Early dialogue on these would be helpful.

I love the tone, which is exasperated paternal to wayward, dim child.  From all this it looks like Boris’s aversion to spending TfL money on the scheme has opened the way to the DfT bending him over and using him as a smokescreen for whatever they’re up to, which is presumably protecting their contracted train operators from revenue risk from TfL providing a better service for the public.  I ask again, who the hell is representing London in all of this?  The DfT sure as hell aren’t, yet Boris appears to be willing to take it from behind* from the Westminster civil servants rather than find £24m from somewhere, while his New Bus, WEZ abolition and debendification lunacy carry on unscathed.  Crazy stuff.  I look forward to the reaction of the various SLL groups to this.

* The borough boys need a rest from this from time to time, apparently.

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