Contenders named for next Welsh franchise

THE Welsh Government has chosen four possible operators of the next Welsh franchise, which starts in 2018 when Arriva's 15-year contract comes to an end. The aim is to create a 'not for profit' organisation, which the government said will be modelled on Transport for London.

The Government has selected Abellio Rail Cymru, Arriva Rail Wales/Rheilffyrdd Arriva Cymru Limited, KeolisAmey and MTR Corporation (Cymru) Ltd, all of whom will now move on to the next stage of the competition. A public consultation will also start in the New Year.

The successful bidder, to be known as an Operator and Development Partner, will run trains in Wales, assist with the evolution of the South and North Wales Metros and manage the transition to electric trains in several parts of the Principality.

Economy and infrastructure secretary Ken Skates said: “I am pleased with the way we are taking forward our ambitious plans to transform rail services in Wales.  The new Wales and borders service from 2018 and the next phase of the Metro are part of an ambitious and creative not for profit model that we are building for Welsh rail.

“The rail network will be managed by Transport for Wales and I am pleased to be able to announce progress today on who will deliver some key services within that model.

“We now have four highly skilled, experienced companies entering the next, competitive phase and I am keen to hear more from them about what they can offer Wales and how they can deliver on our plans for integrated public transport.

“Over the next 10 years I envisage significant strides in  the delivery of our public transport network including the electrification of the Swansea, Valleys and North Wales lines, a South and North Wales Metro and widespread structural improvements that are already in the pipeline.

“The priorities for the next franchise will include updated rolling stock, reduced journey times and the use of modern technology and approaches to deliver an improved service for passengers across Wales.

“I’m confident that we are putting the building blocks in place to deliver on our ambition and I look forward to working with these bidders in developing a high quality integrated public transport system for Wales.”

It is expected that the contract will be awarded by the end of next year.

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