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KeolisAmey handed Wales and Borders rail franchise

KeolisAmey has been handed Wales and Borders rail franchise and the South Wales Metro.

The Welsh Government confirmed this morning KeolisAmey’s bid has been successful.

The new franchise will come into effect from October 2018, replacing Arriva Trains Wales who have operated the Wales and Borders franchise for the last 15 year.

Initially there were four bidders for the franchise, Abellio Rail Cymru, had to withdraw from the competition following the collapse of its partner Carillion.

Existing franchise operator Arriva Rail Wales withdrew at an earlier stage of the process.

French company Keolis and Spanish-owned Amey already runs the Docklands Light Railway and Manchester Metrolink its bid beat Hong Kong’s MTR commuter railways.

Kelios is three-quarters owned by SNCF, the French state railway it is a major operator of multi-modal regional and urban networks, in cities such as Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, Melbourne, Hyderabad and Boston. The company claims to be the world’s biggest operator of automated metro systems – serving 925 million passengers per year.

Amey has a long history of working in Wales and delivers a range of infrastructure and transport services valued at £95 million and employs 550 people.

The company already works with the Welsh Government on roadside infrastructure, supporting communications & control systems on the motorway and trunk road network.

It also works with Wrexham County Borough Council – delivery of local highways services, street lighting and winter services.

Transports for Wales said: “We want the next rail service to change people’s views of public transport in Wales and make it the choice that can be relied upon to travel for work, to access services such as education or health services or to enjoy leisure time.”

Staff working for current Wales & Borders franchise holder Arriva Train Wales, will transfer over to Keolis.

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.

KeolisAmey is unable to make any further comment until the procurement process has concluded and the contract has been awarded.

Wrexham Council’s David A Bithell, Lead Member for Environment & Transport, has told us this morning: “Wrexham Council do not work with Keolis Amey on highways services for Wrexham council, our highway services is managed in house and procured via our framework contracts, the delivery of street lighting and winter service are provided in house by Wrexham Council.

“In respect of the new rail franchise we will await the actual detail on what benefits Wrexham area will see. Wrexham council have strongly lobbied for a 30 minute service from Wrexham to Bidston, better rail services to Chester including a 30 minute service including faster and better rolling stock to key destinations.

“We hope that the new franchise will deliver these improvements.”

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