A CONSORTIUM of Amey and Keolis has won the new Wales & Borders franchise, beating the only other surviving contender, Hong Kong-based MTR.
MTR said it was 'disappointed', but congratulated its successful rival.
Keolis is mainly owned by the French state railway SNCF, while Amey is part of Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure company. Ferrovial manages Heathrow airport, where it is also the main shareholder.
The new KeolisAmey contract will run from 4 June 2018 to 14 October 2033. However, train operations will not transfer from the present incumbent Arriva until 14 October this year.
Profits will be capped, while the new franchisee will play a major part in helping to develop the South Wales Metro. Because of this, bidders involved infrastructure companies as well as operators.
There were originally four bidders. The incumbent Arriva pulled out last year, and Dutch operator Abellio also withdrew earlier this year, after the collapse of its bidding partner Carillion.
There will now be a ten-day standstill period before the award is confirmed by the Welsh Government.
Keolis UK chief executive Alistair Gordon said: “This will be a transformative new rail service for Wales and its borders which will see Keolis once more combine its worldwide expertise in passenger operations with Amey’s engineering excellence.
“We look forward to the successful completion of the procurement process - this exciting contract will deliver for all of Wales. The procurement process was rigorous, resulting in transformative solutions for the benefit of all in Wales, and indeed, future generations.
“While the proposed changes won’t happen overnight, the railway will be unrecognisable in five years thanks to the vision of the Welsh Government.”
Amey chief executive Andy Milner said: “This is a great opportunity for us to use our joint capabilities to deliver a first-rate service for Wales. We will be focused on working with Transport for Wales to transform the existing infrastructure and introduce new trains.”