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Reaction to new rail franchise and concerns over role of Transport for Wales

A contract to run Wales' rail service for the next 15 years has been awarded by the Labour Welsh Government to two European firms, who will run it jointly.

 

France's Keolis and Spanish-owned Amey will be responsible for the new franchise and will also oversee the South Wales Metro project.

 

Welsh Conservatives’ Russell George has called the announcement a ‘significant moment’ but also highlighted concerns over the role of Transport for Wales in the process.

 

Shadow Economy and Infrastructure secretary, Russell George AM, said:

 

“The announcement of a new rail franchise is a significant moment for Wales and passengers will be expecting a truly 21st century rail service that puts commuters first.

 

“However, significant concerns remain over the role of Transport for Wales (TFW) in the award of this contract.

 

“TFW has been the key advisory body to the Welsh Government in this franchise process, and this is particularly worrying given the damning criticism of the organisation’s chief executive in yesterday’s report on the inexplicable handling of the Circuit of Wales project.

 

“The report highlighted leadership that had poor record-keeping, poor judgement and which was not properly in control of its business.

 

“Coupled with the Labour Government’s lamentable record delivering major projects in Wales, we can only hope for the sake of millions of passengers across the country that lessons have been learned.

 

“As promised by the Cabinet Secretary last year, commuters will be expecting immediate improvements – quick wins – in their daily service including access to free Wi-Fi.

 

“From the outset, we have been adamant the priorities of Welsh passengers should be at the very heart of the new franchise namely; an agreement that takes into account the commercial realities of expanding passenger numbers over time, and trains that are reliable, cost effective and contain enough seats to accommodate the travelling public.”