DUTCH operator Abellio has moved to quash rumours that the collapse of engineering giant Carillion could mean the end of its bid for the Wales & Borders franchise.
Arriva had already announced at the end of October that it was withdrawing from what started as a four-horse race, leaving Abellio, KeolisAmey and MTR.
Monday’s announcement that Carillion had gone into liquidation, putting 20,000 British jobs at risk, has been followed by shock waves in the railway industry – not least because Carillion was the second-largest contractor providing infrastructure services for Network Rail.
The RMT has called for affected rail jobs to be taken back in house. General secretary Mick Cash said: "Clearly, anyone working in the rail sector is providing a service to the public and we are calling on the Government to confirm that there will be no dispute over this point and that our members will continue to be paid with their functions taken directly in house."
As the extent of the Carillion fallout continued to grow yesterday, speculation also grew about the future of the Abellio bid in Wales, because Carillion had been its contracting partner. The new franchise holder will help to develop a South Wales Metro alongside the Welsh Government, while also operating the existing W&B network.
Abellio has now clarified its position. The company said: "Abellio Rail Cymru acknowledges the decision by Carillion plc to enter into liquidation on Monday 15 January.
"We remain in the contract letting process for the Wales and Borders rail service and south Wales Metro being administered by Transport for Wales and are bound by the procurement rules governing that process.
"During the duration of the competition we will make no further comments or issue any press releases relating to our bid unless there are any changes in our position."
The winning bidder is expected to be revealed in the spring.