Wales and Borders rail network to benefit from new financing and operational model

Posted: 23 October 2020 | | No comments yet

Transport for Wales, Keolis and Amey have reached an agreement which outlines a sustainable way forward for delivering their ambitious objectives for rail despite the effects of COVID-19.

Carbon Wales and Borders rail network to benefit from new financing and operational model

Credit: Transport for Wales

Transport for Wales (TfW), Keolis and Amey have announced that they have reached an agreement which will lead to the implementation of a new financing and operational model, the details of which will be finalised in the coming months.

This agreement is welcomed by the Welsh government and TfW, who now have a sustainable way forward for delivering their ambitious objectives for rail despite the effects of COVID-19, and by Keolis and Amey, who will continue to contribute their internationally-renowned expertise in delivering the transformation for the benefit of passengers in Wales. 

Under the new agreement, the operation of day to day rail services will become the responsibility of a new publicly-owned subsidiary of Transport for Wales.

The agreement also ensures that key projects aiming to transform the passenger experience, including the delivery of brand-new rolling stock and the South Wales Metro, will continue to benefit from the support of KeolisAmey. In addition, AmeyKeolis Infrastructure will continue to deliver the exciting transformation of the Core Valley Lines and maintenance of the CVL infrastructure.

KeolisAmey will also partner with TfW in improving the customer experience significantly through integrated ticketing and on demand transport systems.

Finally, under the new arrangements, the significant international expertise of both Keolis and Amey will also be called upon to advise and support across a wider range of mobility areas.

Chief Executive at Transport for Wales, James Price, said: “I’m pleased with this agreement, which will allow Transport for Wales to continue to deliver the transformation of the Wales and Borders rail network over what’s an incredibly difficult period for the industry, with a huge reduction in passenger journeys and revenue. KeolisAmey have made a significant contribution to transport in Wales over the past two years, and I’ve welcomed their collaborative approach to securing this agreement, which has allowed us to achieve a positive way forward for the Wales and Borders contract.”

“We will continue to benefit from the international industry expertise of both Keolis and Amey whilst giving TfW and the Welsh government more control to deliver our key transport objectives, as we look to sustain the good progress of the rail network and ensure that it plays a vital role in helping Wales to be well-placed in a post-pandemic environment. There is no doubt that there will be difficult decisions in the future as we adapt to the realities of a post-COVID-19 era, but this agreement will give us a stable base from which to build back better,” he added.

Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive of KeolisAmey Wales, Operator and Development Partner of Transport for Wales, said: “Our partnership with TfW will always have the passengers and the communities we serve at its heart – finding the right solutions to improve services across Wales and the border areas. In light of COVID-19, we recognise the need for the Welsh government to have a sustainable way forward for delivering its ambitious objectives for rail, and we are pleased to have agreed and put in place robust principles as we work on the details of a new agreement.”

He continued: “A huge amount has been achieved in the two years since KeolisAmey became operators of the Wales and Borders franchise. Prior to the impact of COVID-19, the network had more trains running more frequently than ever before, with progressive improvements in performance and passenger experience. We have successfully managed the introduction of more modern and reliable trains across the network and delivered the groundwork for the introduction of new trains from 2021/22 – exclusively for Wales and supporting further service frequency improvements across vital commuter routes. An important result of these major achievements has been the creation of sustainable jobs, skills and apprenticeships, in support of the people and economy of Wales.”

“Keolis and Amey are determined to see improvements delivered, and to play a significant role in the transformation vision, adding value through our international experience and expertise. We also recognise that this as an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the additional skills we can bring to wider public transport projects across Wales in the coming years. We’re committed to our partnership with TfW and the next phase of this exciting transformation journey that will improve transport, connect communities and support prosperity,” Kevin concluded.