What the rail shake-up means for pas­sen­gers

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

KEOLISAMEY has been con­firmed as the con­sor­tium to run the Wales and the Bor­ders rail fran­chise for the next 15 years – but what does that mean for North Wales pas­sen­gers?

There is the prom­ise of £5bn in­vest­ment in rail ser­vices, with new trains and ex­tra ser­vices.

Now more de­tails have been re­vealed – in­clud­ing re­vamped sta­tions and new con­nec­tions.

Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Ken Skates said: “This will be trans­for­ma­tive for ser­vices in North Wales, it is very ex­cit­ing. Pas­sen­gers will see real dif­fer­ences to ser­vices and to sta­tions, cre­at­ing 21st cen­tury, safe and aes­thes­ti­cally pleas­ing sta­tions that are open to all.”

He said, un­like the pre­vi­ous contract, they are plan­ning for growth in pas­sen­ger num­bers thanks to the en­hanced ser­vices: “We have planned huge growth into the sys­tem. The last contract as­sumed zero growth in pas­sen­ger num­bers, this has pro­vi­sion for a 74% in­crease in pas­sen­ger num­bers to over 50 mil­lion a year.”

So what changes will North Wales pas­sen­gers see? NEW ROUTES AND EX­TRA SER­VICES

A new direct Liver­pool to Llan­dudno/Shrews­bury ser­vice (one train per hour) with the train split­ting at Chester; Liver­pool to Cardiff ser­vice (one train ev­ery two hours); new direct ser­vices be­tween Manch­ester Air­port and Ban­gor. These three ser­vices will start in 2022.

In­creas­ing the fre­quency on the Wrex­ham-Bid­ston line to two trains per hour from De­cem­ber 2021. The plan is to re­place stock on these ser­vices with diesel-elec­tric bi­modal trains so they could op­er­ate from Wrex­ham direct to Liver­pool.

Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Mr Skates said talks were at an ad­vanced stage with Merseyrail. From De­cem­ber 2018 there will be a new one train per hour ser­vice from Chester to Liver­pool Lime St. NORTH-SOUTH LINK

Mr Skates said the am­bi­tion was to cre­ate a “truly in­ter­city ex­pe­ri­ence”. They will bring in 12 Mark IV car­riages that are de­signed to give cus­tomers a com­fort­able trav­el­ling ex­pe­ri­ence.

There will be a 72% in­crease in the num­ber of ser­vices run­ning be­tween North and South Wales. STA­TION UP­GRADES

There will be a £4m in­vest­ment at Shot­ton and £2.4m at Wrex­ham Gen­eral start­ing in April 2024. There will be a fur­ther in­vest­ment of £7.5m at Chester sta­tion in 2028 and £1m in­vest­ment to­wards co-fund­ing of new sta­tion build­ings at Blae­nau Ffes­tin­iog.

Across the net­work, there is £194m al­lo­cated to sta­tion up­grades.

Ev­ery sin­gle sta­tion in North Wales will be up­graded.

This will range from aes­thetic im­prove­ments to more sig­nif­i­cant changes.

There will be ticket vend­ing ma­chines at more sta­tions and more, and im­proved, live elec­tronic boards.

Across Wales there will be an ex­tra 1,500 car park­ing places at sta­tions and £15m to im­prove dis­abil­ity ac­cess. TRAIN FARES

Make fares fairer by re­duc­ing walk-up and sea­son fares to, from and within North Wales by 10% to tackle dis­par­i­ties and en­cour­age travel. DIG­I­TAL CON­NEC­TIV­ITY Free wifi at sta­tions and on trains. TRAINS

All trains will be re­placed by 2023, by which time 95% of jour­neys will be on brand-new trains, half of which will be as­sem­bled in Wales.

New rail fran­chise holder Ke­o­lis Amey has or­dered five Class 230 D-Trains from Vi­varail which will op­er­ate on the Conwy Val­ley line be­tween Llan­dudno and Blae­nau Ffes­tin­iog, the Wrex­ham to Bid­ston line, and the Crewe to Chester shut­tles.

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