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Wales and Borders Rail Franchise

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The Wales and Borders franchise is operated by Arriva Trains Wales ATW. Their contract was awarded in 2003 and runs for 15 years.

On April 1 2006 responsibility for the Wales and Borders Rail Franchise was passed from the Department of Transport in London to the Welsh Government in Cardiff.

As co-signatory to the Franchise with the Secretary of State the Welsh Government, through Transport, part of Local Government and Communities is responsible for the financial and performance management of passenger services covered by the agreement and any enhancements to it.

This high profile undertaking will forms a major contribution to driving forward the Welsh Government's agenda for providing and improving rail services in Wales involving a budget currently running at around £170 million per annum.

The Franchise Agreement in place with ATW details all aspects of what is expected from them in terms of running the service.

The Welsh Government have in place a Franchise Management team who work to ensure ATW follow to the best of their abilities the expectations outlined in the Franchise Agreement. Included in this agreement are annual targets for a variety of factors ranging from punctuality to cancellation rates, as well as the Performance incentive regime for the Franchise.

Network Rail is responsible for maintaining and operating the railway in steady state condition. The Welsh Government is working in partnership with Network Rail to fund enhancements to the railway infrastructure.

Preparing for the new franchise

Rail franchising will be fully devolved to the Welsh Government from 2017.

We are currently gathering the views of rail interest groups on the specification for the next Wales and Border franchise. In 2017, Welsh Ministers will initiate the formal process for procuring the next franchise.

We provided the Mid Wales Railways Implementation Group with funding to host a seminar on 11 May 2015 to discuss the franchise. Download papers from the seminar along with views from groups in north Wales below.