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Written Statement - Update on Rail Electrification and Rail Franchise

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport 

Following discussions with the Department for Transport, an agreement has been reached on funding of rail electrification in South Wales.  The agreement will deliver electrification all the way from London to Swansea and will enable us to move forward with plans for modernising the Valleys Lines at no net cost to the Welsh Government.

Agreement was also reached to fully devolve executive rail franchising functions to the Welsh Government effective from 2017.  This will enable us to specify and award future Wales and Borders franchises.

Electrification of the main line will be a significant step in creating a modern train service that is capable of meeting future demand and supporting economic growth.  Upgrading, electrifying and improving the Valleys Lines is vital to delivery of our aspirations for the South Wales Metro.  Together with devolved power over the Welsh rail franchise, this will allow us to plan and implement changes to create a more efficient and reliable rail service in Wales.