KeolisAmey to take over Wales and Borders train franchise from Arriva Trains Wales

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Arriva Trains Wales 158829 stands at Machynlleth with a service for Aberystwyth
158829 stands at Machynlleth with a service for Aberystwyth // Credit: RailAdvent

The Welsh Government has announced who will be taking over from Arriva Trains Wales as the new franchise owner for the Wales and Borders route.

KeolisAmey, who already run the Docklands Light Railway and the Manchester Metrolink, amongst others, will take over from the Arriva Trains Wales, who has run the franchise for the last 15 years.

KeolisAmey saw off competition from Hong Kong’s MTR after Arriva pulled out of the running in December 2017.

The company will also run the South Wales Metro as well as the Wales and Border franchise.

Upon successful completion of a 10-day standstill period. KeolisAmey’s contract will run from June 4, 2018, to October 14, 2033. This standstill period is normal procurement practice.

Rail services will transfer from Arriva Trains Wales to KeliosAmey on October 14, 2018.

The contract is said to be around £5 billion to run the services for the next 15 years.

Staff and colleagues will move over to working for KeolisAmey when they take over in the coming months.

What did the officials say?

Tom Joyner, Managing Director for Arriva Trains Wales said;

“As Arriva Trains Wales, it has been a privilege to operate rail services in Wales and the Borders over the past 15 years and we are proud of the many achievements made in that time. During that period, we have helped passenger numbers grow from 18 million to 33.5 million last year, and have grown the number of services we operate from around 620 services per day, up to more than 1,000 per day.

“Our 2200 colleagues, as well as the thousands of people in our supply chain in businesses across Wales, are looking forward to working with Keolis Amey and our partners in Transport for Wales in the coming months. We will work to ensure as smooth a transition as possible and to support the successful delivery of the new passenger service agreement.

“Our customers can look forward to some important changes here in Wales and the borders, which will have a positive impact on the people and communities of Wales and the borders.”

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.

“While the proposed changes won’t happen overnight, the railway will be unrecognisable in five years thanks to the vision of the Welsh Government.”

Andy Milner, Amey’s Chief Executive, said:

“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.

“This is a great opportunity for us to use our joint capabilities to deliver a first-rate service for Wales. We will be focused on working with Transport for Wales to transform the existing infrastructure and introduce new trains to significantly improve the passenger experience, as well as creating hundreds of new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.

General Secretary Mick Cash said;

“RMT policy is for a national integrated railway under public ownership and the Welsh government has made it clear that this is their aspiration as well if they did not have to work under the pro-privatisation legislative straightjacket imposed by the UK Government.

“The fact that rail privatisation is being enforced on the people of Wales by Whitehall is even more galling when the Tories have been forced to nationalise East Coast and the Westminster Cross Party Public Accounts Committee have said the rail franchising model is broken.

“However, RMT welcomes the fact that despite these constraints the Welsh Government has committed to keep a guard on every train alongside other commitments to work with RMT to protect jobs and conditions of rail workers in Wales.”

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