HS2

14.10.16

Shortlist for Wales and Borders franchise revealed

A shortlist of four foreign-owned companies to operate the Wales and Borders franchise, as well taking forward key aspects of the £600m South Wales Metro, has been revealed.

The four operational and development partner bidders are Abellio Rail Cymru, Arriva Rail Wales/Rheilffyrdd Arriva Cymru Limited, KeolisAmey and MTR Corporation (Cymru) Ltd.

They will operate the franchise and take forward aspects of the next stage of Metro as part of the Welsh government’s ambition of delivering a not-for-profit rail service, similar to that used by Transport for London.

Ken Skates, the economy and infrastructure secretary, said: “I am pleased with the way we are taking forward our ambitious plans to transform rail services in Wales.  The new Wales and borders service from 2018 and the next phase of the Metro are part of an ambitious and creative not for profit model that we are building for Welsh rail.

“The rail network will be managed by Transport for Wales and I am pleased to be able to announce progress today on who will deliver some key services within that model.

“We now have four highly skilled, experienced companies entering the next, competitive phase and I am keen to hear more from them about what they can offer Wales and how they can deliver on our plans for integrated public transport.”

Transport for Wales will lead a public consultation on proposals for the future of the Welsh railway in early 2017. It then expects to announce the successful bidder at the end of next year, with the new franchise beginning in October 2018.

A recent report from the auditor general for Wales said that the government should improve its strategy for evaluating the outcome of its investments as it gains power over the franchise.

In a statement, MTR said it was “very pleased” to be shortlisted and would prepare “an innovative, community-focussed bid”.

KeolisAmey bid director Sarah Kendall said: “We are delighted to have come through the Pre-Qualification phase, and are looking forward to taking part in the next stage of the bid process. 

“With an established track record of working together, KeolisAmey is committed to working with client authorities to delivering the highest possible level of service, supporting communities and creating sustainable networks to enable economic growth.”

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, criticised the list for consisting of foreign-owned companies.

Abellio belongs to the Dutch state rail company, Arriva is owned by German state company Deutsche Bahn, Keolis is owned by French state company SNCF, and MTR is Hong Kong-owned.

“Wales should not be maintained as another nation’s rail colony,” he said. “Profits made in Wales should be reinvested to reduce fares In Wales and modernising and expanding the rail service in Wales not Berlin, Hong Kong, Paris or Amsterdam.”

(Image c. Mattbuck)

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Comments

Andrew Gwilt   14/10/2016 at 12:41

I think its between Abellio, MTR Corporation and KeliosAmey that could win the franchise. Abellio operates the Scotland rail franchise as well Merseyside and East of England, MTR operates Crossrail/TfL Rail "Elizabeth Line" and KeliosAmey operates Docklands Light Railway (in partnership with TfL).

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