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Arriva out of running for Wales and Border franchise

Arriva Trains Wales are no longer competing to run the next Wales and Border Franchise, after the company withdrew their bid today.

The company – along with Abellio Rail Cymru, KeolisAmey and MTR Corporation – were invited to submit final tenders for the franchise to the Welsh Government last month.

However, Arriva’s exit from the process confirms that the franchise will definitely change hands when it ends in October 2018, as the company is the current contract holder.

“We have been notified that Arriva Group have withdrawn from the bidding process for the next Wales and Borders franchise,” explained Tom Joyner, recently appointed managing director of Arriva Trains Wales.

“Our key priority following this announcement is to continue to focus on the delivery of our services for the people and communities that depend on us for the remainder of the current franchise, including a £1m Arriva Trains Wales investment in additional trains which will be introduced in 2018.

“We will continue to work closely with our government and industry partners to support them with the delivery of their priorities.”

A Transport for Wales spokesperson added: “It is not uncommon for bidders for major projects to withdraw during the tender process and Arriva have been clear they have done this for their own commercial reasons.

“With final tenders due later this year, we have three companies with world-class credentials each putting their own, distinct cases for how they will deliver the ambitious objectives we set, with the goal of delivering a step change in rail services for passengers across Wales and the Borders.”

The shortlist for a new operator was announced in October last year, with extra work available in the form of South Wales Metro construction and improvement.

Top image: Phil Noble - PA

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D Roberts   31/10/2017 at 15:45

I would not be surprised if others drop out because: First, and most important, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) have not decided whether they want light rail trams, tram-trains, or heavy rail on the Valley lines and so no work has even started on electrification. Second, there is not yet any agreement between WAG and DfT on financing details, and I imagine that work cannot start before funding is in place. Third, the estimates of the cost of the ambitious plans for the Cardiff Metro seem ridiculously low bearing in mind the over-runs on every infrastructure project originally estimated at over £100 million. Fourth, the new franchise bids will not be in until 21st December and so it will not be let much before March 2018 and yet it comes into force in October 2018. Fifth, we have been informed by NR (who have no say in the matter) that longer trains can be in use on the Valleys by Spring 2008 though none were available because the current franchise was let on a "no increase in demand" basis. Sixth, we who use these lines have been promised the end of Pacers with no idea where new trains are to come from before (or even soon after) 2020. Seventh, it is unclear whether NR will still own the infrastructure or the WAG will own it via its not-for-profit subsidiary Transport for Wales.

Andrew Gwilt   31/10/2017 at 20:55

KeolisAmey might win the bid to take over the franchise as Abellio are to take over the West Midlands franchise in December.

Jimbo   31/10/2017 at 22:48

So either ATW think (or have been told) they won't win no matter how good their bid, so are bowing out to stop wasting anymore money on the bid, or they know something about the new franchise that we don't yet. As the incumbent, they are best placed to know how much the current services costs, so comparing the current service against what the Welsh Government have said they want, perhaps ATW can see that the future franchise is more trouble than its worth, and are getting out while they can.

PP   01/11/2017 at 09:25

Andrew, might I respectfully suggest that you, like the rest of us, have no idea who is going to win this franchise?

Tommy   01/11/2017 at 09:35

I believe the pacers have to be scrapped by 2019 as they fall foul of DDA rules. Doesn't answer where the new rolling stock is coming from but its a question that needs to be asked

Andrew Gwilt   02/11/2017 at 00:52

@PP. True. But Abellio are taking over the WM franchise in December and they could also take over the W&B franchise. But KeliosAmey as I’m suggesting could win the bid to take over the franchise next year and yes they could get some new rolling stocks such as Class 769 Bi-Mode units and to order new trains to replace the Pacers on the Welsh Valley lines and in the Cardiff area.

Andrew JG   02/11/2017 at 12:18

Arriva Trains Wales (Cymru) have done very well in the past since they took over the Welsh franchise in December 2003. They will always be remembered as the best rail operator in Wales. Sadly Arriva Rail Cymru have lost the franchise as they pulled out of the franchise and they are to focus on maintaining and improving the Crosscountry and Chiltern Railways franchises for some time. But ATW are ordering 5 Class 769 Bi-Mode “Flex” (converted Class 319 “Flex” units) in which they will operate on some services as the Class 150 and Class 158 are to undergo modifications to comply with PRM regulations. As well as allowing the company to increase its fleet capacity. When the new franchise starts next year.

Mark Hare   06/11/2017 at 11:29

Andrew - any one of the remaining bidders could win the franchise, so speculating is pointless. And what on earth does "They will always be remembered as the best rail operator in Wales" mean? They run all internal services in Wales so there isn't much competition! And as for 'maintaining an improving the Crosscountry and Chiltern Railways franchises for some time' - you seem to be forgetting Northern, Arriva Rail London and Grand Central, as well as its Open Access arm Alliance Rail, or is it not interested in those? And don't forget that the CrossCountry franchise expires in less than two years and Chiltern Railways in four.

Andrew Gwilt   08/11/2017 at 03:47

Thanks for clarifying that Mark Hare.

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