Latest Rail News

08.12.14

Welsh government has ‘serious reservations’ about Network Rail

The Welsh government has “serious reservations” about Network Rail and its ability to deliver projects and “might have to choose others to undertake some of the work for us”.

The revelation was made by Welsh transport minister Edwina Hart last week at a session of the Welsh Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee.

She said: “We have serious reservations about Network Rail and its ability to deliver, and the cost overruns that are going on elsewhere, within a Welsh context.”

She also said: “We are having discussions now about issues with Network Rail in north Wales in terms of improving the lines where we cannot get clarity, certainty or understanding of what is going on.”

Hart also said that due to the lack of confidence in Network Rail, the Welsh government may look at finding other companies to undertake the future works they want done on Welsh railways.

“We only have to look, as well, at Network Rail in terms of how tardy it has been in finishing certain projects,” she said. “Look at Cardiff and the signalling...We have to be quite clear that we have people there who can really take on what is going on there, put in challenge and, at the at the end of the day, perhaps be prepared to put in contestability and not use what is effectively a public company now – Network Rail. We might have to choose others to undertake some of the work for us.”

The Welsh transport secretary has also announced the creation of a new wholly-owned subsidiary company of the Welsh government, which will provide technical expertise on the Valleys Modernisation and Electrification Project and the Wales and Borders Franchise.

Hart also said that the new company could expand its remit and eventually take on the responsibility of running the Wales & Borders rail franchise.

However, in the committee session it was admitted that the Railways Act as it stands would not allow this and would require changes.

But Hart added that with the general election coming this may provide the opportunity to make the changes happen.

“We know what we have to do. We know that there will be a general election coming and I am fairly certain that we could lobby whoever is in power to make changes to the Railways Act,” she said.

Until this issue is resolved and the new company gets up and running, Hart said that the government will “probably look at an extension” of the current franchise with Arriva.

(Image: c. Jonathan Brady)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Pedr   12/12/2014 at 14:48

Well said, Mrs Hart. The North Wales Main line used to be one of the fastest in the country, with reputed speeds of up to 110 in steam days and while pieces are still passed for 90mph, the service speeds are by English main line standards lackadaisical (mind you, it is better since the Voyagers came). The Conwy Valley Railway used to run at 70mph and now it ambles three times a day at 45; the Cambrian Coast line was closed for months because the timber Dwyryd viaduct fell to bits before the new bridge was ready. The re-opening of the line to Llangefni, the county town of Anglesey, has been sidelined and reopening the line to the other county town and World Heritage Site of Caernarfon is not even under consideration. Yet little local tourist railways ( I can think of a dozen in Wales!) expand and thrive....you would think there should be pickings for the main line.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Grand Central plans new rail route from Blackpool to London from spring 2020

25/06/2019Grand Central plans new rail route from Blackpool to London from spring 2020

Grand Central will run a new route from Blackpool to London from spring 2020, the train operator announced today. The new InterCity services... more >
Transport for Wales awards first ECI contracts for £700m South Wales Metro

25/06/2019Transport for Wales awards first ECI contracts for £700m South Wales Metro

Transport for Wales (TfW) has awarded three companies to begin preparatory works on the £738m South Wales Metro, the organisation announced... more >
Increasing passenger confidence and accessibility with the Rail Delivery Group

25/06/2019Increasing passenger confidence and accessibility with the Rail Delivery Group

The Rail Delivery Group plans to make travelling by train easier than ever before by making trains and stations more accessible and developing a ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

By Ewan Quayle, Rail Technology Magazine Reporter Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on R... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in ... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Increasing passenger confidence and accessibility with the Rail Delivery Group

25/06/2019Increasing passenger confidence and accessibility with the Rail Delivery Group

The Rail Delivery Group plans to make travelling by train easier than ever before by making trains and stations more accessible and developing a ... more >
Diversity, inclusion and marking 100 years of Women in Engineering

24/06/2019Diversity, inclusion and marking 100 years of Women in Engineering

100 years of Women in Engineering, and transforming the future too One hundred years on from the birth of the Women in Engineering Society (... more >
Challenging perceptions of apprenticeships in the rail industry with Anna Delvecchio

20/06/2019Challenging perceptions of apprenticeships in the rail industry with Anna Delvecchio

RTM talks exclusively to one of the rising stars of the industry and Transport’s Woman of the Year 2018, Anna Delvecchio. Amey’s... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >