Wales and Borders Franchise Agreement

The Wales and Borders Franchise Agreement: What You Need to Know

In October 2018, the Welsh Government announced the signing of a new franchise agreement with KeolisAmey. This agreement is set to transform rail services in Wales and the Borders region, and is part of a broader push to improve transport infrastructure in the area.

Here`s what you need to know about the Wales and Borders Franchise Agreement:

1. Who is KeolisAmey?

KeolisAmey is a joint venture between French transport company Keolis and infrastructure support services company Amey. The company has been awarded the Wales and Borders rail franchise for a period of 15 years, with an option to extend for a further five years.

2. What does the franchise agreement cover?

The franchise agreement covers the operation of rail services in Wales and the Borders region, including the following lines:

• The Cambrian Lines

• The North Wales Coast Line

• The South Wales Metro

• The Ebbw Vale Line

• The Heart of Wales Line

• The Marches Line

• The Wrexham-Bidston Line

• The Cardiff Valleys Lines

• The Borderlands Line

The franchise agreement also includes a commitment to improve stations and infrastructure across the network.

3. What are the key improvements being made?

The Wales and Borders Franchise Agreement includes a number of key improvements, including:

• The introduction of new rolling stock, including 148 new trains and 1,500 new carriages.

• An increase in the frequency of services on key routes, with more trains running on the North Wales Coast Line and the Cambrian Lines.

• The creation of a South Wales Metro, which will provide faster, more frequent and reliable services for commuters in the Cardiff and Valleys area.

• Improvements to stations and infrastructure, including new car parks, cycle facilities and ticket vending machines.

4. What are the benefits of the franchise agreement?

The benefits of the Wales and Borders Franchise Agreement include:

• Improved services, with more trains and better connectivity across the network.

• More sustainable transport options, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions and promoting cycling and walking.

• Improved access to employment and education opportunities for people across the region.

• Boosting the local economy, by connecting businesses and communities across Wales and the Borders.

5. What are the challenges?

The Wales and Borders Franchise Agreement is not without its challenges. Key challenges include:

• Ensuring that the new rolling stock and infrastructure improvements are delivered on time and within budget.

• Managing the transition to the new franchise and ensuring that services continue to run smoothly during this time.

• Balancing the needs of different stakeholders, including passengers, local authorities and the Welsh Government.

In conclusion, the Wales and Borders Franchise Agreement is set to bring significant improvements to rail services in Wales and the Borders region. With a focus on sustainability, connectivity and economic growth, this agreement has the potential to transform transport infrastructure in the area for years to come.