Mayor seeks to expand rail role

Ken Livingstone wants to take over parts of the Southern train franchise when it comes up for renewal in 2009, his office has confirmed.

This would be a further step in the London mayor's bid to gain control of commuter rail services in and around the capital.

In particular, Livingstone wants to compel the train operating companies to join Transport for London's pre-pay Oyster card system.

A mayoral spokesman said Livingstone wanted to "control rail services into London from places just outside, from which a lot of people commute".

But the Association of Train Operating Companies said it opposed the idea.

Transport for London this month took over the former Silverlnk franchise, which has been renamed London Overground.

The government said last year that it intended to give the mayor powers over train fares, frequencies and standards where routes run just beyond the London boundary.

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