The Welsh Government has taken the Wales and Borders rail franchise into public ownership. This will protect services, safeguard jobs and deliver infrastructure improvements in light of the ongoing challenges of Coronavirus.
As of yesterday, Transport for Wales (TfW) is now operating the Wales and Borders rail services under a subsidiary, ‘Transport for Wales Rail LTD’.
“Our rail service is a critical asset and one we must protect. Since the pandemic began we’ve provided significant financial support to keep trains running. The need for greater public control is a reflection of the ongoing pressures of coronavirus and the challenges being faced across the rail industry as passenger demand remains low,” said Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales.
Now made up of three key components, the partnership is between Transport for Wales, Keolis and Amey.
To provide Welsh rail with stronger footing services over the next few years the delivery of day-to-day rail services is the responsibility of Transport for Wales Rail Ltd. It will allow government through TfW to ensure that the delivery of rail services in Wales & the Border can continue to reflect both the needs of the passengers. Not only this, but it will support TfW’s wider policies around decarbonisation and wellbeing.
Infrastructure management and transformation of the Welsh Government owned Core Valley Lines will continue to be delivered under the current contract with Amey Keolis Infrastructure Ltd. This provides stability to ensure effective delivery of the South Wales Metro transformation work which is already underway.
To help to drive improvements for passengers a new partnership with Keolis and Amey, led by TtW, has been established. Known as ‘Transport for Wales Innovation Services’, the partnership will progress delivery of important commitments. These commitments include integrated ticketing, on-demand transport systems, design and delivery including different modes of transport and the ongoing integration of light and heavy rail.
The railway is an integral part of Wales’ transport network and we want it to be of even more importance in the future
Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, has said “The railway is an integral part of Wales’ transport network and we want it to be of even more importance in the future. Tackling the climate emergency means we need to make it easier for people to step out of their cars and walk, cycle and use public transport instead. Transport for Wales will be working across all of these areas as part of our efforts to create an integrated, more convenient transport system.”