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Written Statement - Wales and Borders Rail Franchise Update

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Rail Services for the Future, which is aimed at passengers, outlines the Welsh Government’s requirements for the services and gives insight into the solutions being sought from bidders.
Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

I am writing to inform members that yesterday (Thursday September 28th), Abellio Rail Cymru, Arriva Rail Wales, KeolisAmey and MTR Corporation (Cymru) Ltd were invited by Welsh Government to submit final tenders for the next Wales and Borders Rail Service.

The new rail service will deliver a step-change in the quality of rail travel in Wales so rather than follow the traditional model for procuring a rail service, with the issue of a set specification that companies bid for, our approach has been to allow new ideas to be explored and collaborative working relationships to be developed.

Detailed discussions with all four of the shortlisted potential operators have only served to reinforce my optimism that the next service will see big improvements. The successful operator will be announced in early 2018.

Proposals for the South Wales Metro are being developed alongside the Wales and Borders service to aid development of an integrated transport system in the region. The deadline to submit final tender is 21st December.

Alongside this I will continue to press the UK Government on fair funding for services and rail infrastructure enhancements to ensure that Wales gets the investment it deserves to support our communities and economic growth.

I intend to create a rail service that benefits the whole of the Wales and Borders network, one with passengers at its heart. Today’s announcement is another important step towards that.

More information can be found in the ‘Rail Services for the Future’ document published by Transport for Wales