What the rail shake-up means for passengers
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.