Rail franchises operators & contracts

01.03.18

UK Government takes major step towards Welsh rail devolution

The Welsh Government has taken a huge step towards devolved control over the railways after a new bill was put in front of Whitehall ministers this week.

The process would see the National Assembly given new powers to oversee the Wales and Borders franchise.

These plans also include provisions for the £125m Valley Lines upgrade, part of the South Wales Metro programme which is closely linked to the new franchise.

While discussions are at an early stage, the bill represents the beginning of a devolution plan which has been years in the making.

“This is a positive and significant step in the franchise devolution process and is an example of the effective cooperation between the UK and Welsh Governments,” commented rail minister Jo Johnson.

“The devolution of these powers delivers on recommendations made by the commission on devolution in Wales and demonstrates the commitment we made as a government in the 2015 St David’s Day Agreement.”

The agreement also takes into account the issues of cross border working for any operating company, with ministers trying to smooth the transition between areas that would be under British control and those under Welsh control.

Welsh Government cabinet secretary for economy and transport Ken Skates said the National Assembly was behind the move but asked questions about the future funding of Network Rail.

“I welcome this recognition of the extensive nature of the cross-border services - and services wholly within England - provided by the Wales and Borders franchise and the need for appropriate accountability for rail operations on each side of the border,” he said.

“It will be important for devolution of funding for Network Rail to be delivered in the future and I will continue dialogue with the Department for Transport to that end.”

Earlier this week, Abellio announced that it would be pulling out of its bid for the Wales and Borders franchise, citing the collapse of its construction partner Carillion.

The move leaves just two groups left in the running for the franchise after current operator Arriva Trains Wales also pulled out in October last year.

Top image: Mattbuck

Comments

Jimbo   01/03/2018 at 22:29

Just to be clear, this new bill only transfers the responsibility of choosing and managing the Wales & Border TOC from the DfT to the Welsh government. It has nothing to do with the funding of Network Rail in Wales, so by raising this, the Welsh Government are obviously signalling their next target. You can understand why they would want this - they cannot make improvements to the services without improvements to the infrastructure - but typical of politicians to be starting the next battle even before the first one is done.

Lutz   02/03/2018 at 11:15

IIRC the Welsh Assembly proposals for the funding of rail services in Wales was a non-flyer. Some realistic proposals will have to be presented for transfer of control of funding to be considered. South Wales has already received significant infrastructure investment - not all of which has been fully put to use yet. There are also projects in the pipeline for services beyond Swansea. Besides that; there are always plenty of aspects within the operators and regulatory authority to improve service without recall for infrastructure investment.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Network Rail’s subsidiary secures systems integrator contract in Australia

14/12/2018Network Rail’s subsidiary secures systems integrator contract in Australia

The Australian subsidiary of Network Rail Consulting has been named as the systems integrator for the Digital Systems Program in Sydney by Transp... more >
Infrastructure giant Amey to be sold to private equity firm in new year

14/12/2018Infrastructure giant Amey to be sold to private equity firm in new year

 Infrastructure giant Amey is expected to be sold to a private equity firm in the new year, according to reports. The Financial Times b... more >
HS2 and Crossrail suppliers admit to running ‘illegal cartel’ for 7 years

14/12/2018HS2 and Crossrail suppliers admit to running ‘illegal cartel’ for 7 years

Two UK rail suppliers to major projects such as HS1, HS2, and Crossrail have admitted to operating an illegal cartel for almost seven years with ... 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 >

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. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27/11/2018Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Olivia Brown, business development officer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department of the University of Warwick, outlines the four exciting projects currently taking place as part of the Coventry Very Light Rail (VLR)  programme. In RTM’s June/July issue, readers were introduced to the concept of VLR and th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Passenger safety: Respect the edge

27/11/2018Passenger safety: Respect the edge

Claire Coward, communications lead at the RSSB, discusses her organisation’s latest passenger safety campaign. Incidents at the platfo... more >
Night Tube: The twilight economy

27/11/2018Night Tube: The twilight economy

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its j... more >
Monitoring the performance of earthworks

27/11/2018Monitoring the performance of earthworks

Dr Joel Smethurst, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, and Professor William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering, both of ... more >
Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >