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KeolisAmey JV awarded Wales and Borders franchise deal

The Welsh Government is to award the contract to operate the new Wales and Borders franchise and the South Wales Metro to KeolisAmey, it has announced.

Following the completion of a 10-day standstill period, the contract will run from 4 June this year until 14 October 2033, with rail services transferring on 14 October 2018.

Currently, KeolisAmey – a partnership between public operator Keolis and infrastructure manager Amey – runs London’s Docklands Light Railway and maintains and operates Greater Manchester’s Metrolink.

The chosen TOC beat competitor MTR, the only other bidder in the running after Abellio withdrew from the race in February and current operator Arriva Trains Wales pulled out last October.

Commenting on the award, Alistair Gordon, chief executive of Keolis UK, said: “This will be a transformative new rail service for Wales and its borders which will see Keolis once more combine its worldwide expertise in passenger operations with Amey’s engineering excellence.

“We look forward to the successful completion of the procurement process – this exciting contract will deliver for all of Wales. The procurement process was rigorous, resulting in transformative solutions for the benefit of all in Wales, and indeed, future generations.”

He also argued that although proposed changes will not happen overnight, the railway will be “unrecognisable” in five years due to the Welsh Government’s vision.

Chief executive of Amey, Andy Milner, added: “Building on our successful partnership with Keolis, which already sees us deliver two high performing services – the Greater Manchester Metrolink and London’s DLR – we are honoured to be asked to operate the Wales and Borders service.”

He explained that the company will be focused on working with Transport for Wales to transform the existing infrastructure and introduce new trains, which he said will “significantly improve” the passenger experience, create hundreds of new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.

Andy Thomas, managing director for Network Rail’s Wales route, wrote for RTM last year about how the infrastructure owner will be working more collaboratively with the new franchise operator. This includes allowing the successful bidder to develop and implement plans for the Core Valley Lines as part of the South Wales Metro system.

Top image: wcjohnston


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