Transport for London (TfL) has announced it will take over London's entire suburban commuter rail network.

The first route to be re-branded within the London Overground will be Southeastern's, in 2018. Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern will follow in 2021.

South West Trains' franchise is under negotiation - with TfL currently running a consultation with commuters about their experiences of the service - but reports suggested a break clause is likely to be included in any new contract that would allow City Hall to take over in 2019.

Such a move would see the Mayor of London's control stretch all the way to Chessington, currently one of the area's most neglected rail outposts.

It was not immediately clear how much money would be needed to bring outlying stations up to specification, nor where the funds would come from. Chessington's stations in particular lack disabled access.

Boris Johnson told the Evening Standard the announcement had been made because the railway is "key to the day to day lives of millions of people and vital to our future prosperity" and had been "the workhorse of the London and south-east economy since Victorian times".

The changes mean that some 80 per cent of stations should see trains every 15 minutes.

TfL will run the expanded Overground services within the capital's borders, while the Department for Transport will control commuter lines further out.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This new partnership represents a huge opportunity to transform travel by putting passengers where they should be – at the heart of the rail network."

The London Assembly Transport Committee said it warmy welcomes today's announcement, with chair Valerie Shawcross calling it a 'no-brainer'.

She said said: "The Government will have scored a big hit with passengers by agreeing to devolve additional rail franchises as they come up for renewal and I’m glad they finally listened to some common sense.

"TfL has managed its Overground networks very effectively, so the majority of commuters would be happy to see them take control."

Despite saying it was a positive move, Labour's mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan pointed out no 'proper agreement' had been made with the relevant authorities.

He said: "This will do little to address the anger and frustration of commuters who deserve action now.  

"Rather than more inaction from the Government, we need to get on with giving control of London’s commuter routes to the Mayor as soon as the contracts allow.

"The Tories have been in Government for six years and City Hall for eight and have failed to listen to commuters.

"Londoners deserve an end to their rail misery now, not more delays."

What do you think? Comment below or email