New Welsh fran­chise

Rail (UK) - - Contents -

Trans­port for Wales launches its ‘made in Wales’ fran­chise, de­signed and de­liv­ered by the Welsh Government.

The new Wales & Bor­ders pas­sen­ger fran­chise started on Oc­to­ber 14, with Welsh First Min­is­ter Car­wyn Jones declar­ing that by 2033 it can be the best pas­sen­ger ser­vice in the UK.

The fran­chise is be­ing op­er­ated by Ke­olisAmey, and will be branded Trans­port for Wales (TfW). New trains worth £800 mil­lion are be­ing or­dered, while £783m is ear­marked for the South Wales Metro con­cept and £194m is be­ing in­vested in sta­tions.

TfW claims that more than 600 new jobs and 450 ap­pren­tice­ships will be cre­ated dur­ing the 15-year fran­chise. Un­der-11s will travel free and 16 to 18-year-olds will travel at half the adult fare.

Launch­ing the fran­chise at Pon­typridd sta­tion, Jones said: “This is an im­por­tant mo­ment for rail in Wales - in­deed for de­vo­lu­tion it­self. Led by Trans­port for Wales with our part­ners Ke­olisAmey, this will be the very first ‘made in Wales’ rail ser­vice, de­signed and de­liv­ered by the Welsh Government. The op­por­tu­nity to re-de­sign and re-pur­pose our railway net­work in Wales is a on­cein-a-gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity, and I am con­fi­dent that by 2033 it can be the best pas­sen­ger rail ser­vice in the UK.

“It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that our bold am­bi­tions will take time to bring to fruition, and won’t be achieved overnight. How­ever, when I talk to the driv­ers, the guards, the main­te­nance crews or ticket hall staff across Wales, I’m al­ways struck by their en­thu­si­asm and their be­lief in what our rail net­work can be in Wales. We are lucky to have so many peo­ple, who come to work for a ser­vice ev­ery day, gen­uinely want­ing to make it bet­ter - and who see in it the po­ten­tial for growth.”

TfW Chief Ex­ec­u­tive James Price said: “Trans­port for Wales has in­no­va­tive plans to rev­o­lu­tionise trans­port across Wales, and am­bi­tions to cre­ate a rail ser­vice that puts cus­tomers first. Tak­ing over the running of the Wales and Bor­ders rail ser­vice is an im­por­tant first step on an ex­cit­ing jour­ney of trans­for­ma­tion that will also see the creation of the South Wales Metro.”

Pas­sen­ger watch­dog Trans­port Focus also wel­comed the new fran­chise. Direc­tor David Side­bot­tom said: “Pas­sen­gers tell us that their pri­or­i­ties for the new Wales and Bor­ders railway are re­li­able ser­vices on which they can get a seat and are good value for money.

“Pas­sen­gers will look for­ward to see­ing the ben­e­fits of new trains, ad­di­tional ser­vices and in­creased ca­pac­ity. To main­tain pas­sen­gers’ trust, Trans­port for Wales must clearly com­mu­ni­cate when th­ese im­prove­ments will be de­liv­ered and how pas­sen­gers might be dis­rupted by any nec­es­sary changes.

“We look for­ward to work­ing closely with Trans­port for Wales in help­ing de­liver a new ser­vice with pas­sen­gers’ in­ter­ests at its heart.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.