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Inquiry into the Priorities for the future of Welsh Rail Infrastructure

Response to the consultation

Evidence submitted in response to this Consultation

Purpose of the consultation

The Enterprise and Business Committee carried out an inquiry into whether Wales’ railway infrastructure meets the needs of passengers and businesses as demand increases. Between November 2015 and January 2016 the Committee held a public consultation to gather evidence.




Powers and devolution

Unlike in Scotland, planning and delivery of rail infrastructure in Wales is not devolved.  While Welsh Government has powers to fund infrastructure investment, primary responsibility for funding Network Rail, and the development of the Welsh network, rests with the UK Government.  However, the UK Government’s St David’s Day Command Paper said there was “no consensus” on devolution of infrastructure powers so that there are currently no plans to devolve these powers.


Preparations for rail control period 6 and beyond

Rail industry priorities and funding are set in five year “Control Periods”.  Preparations are led by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR, formerly the Office of Rail Regulation) through the period review process, which reviews Network Rail’s outputs and funding for each control period.


Infrastructure proposals are initially developed by Network Rail, which sets out “choices for funders” working with the rail industry and funders such as the Welsh Government. This work feeds into the preparation of an Initial Industry Plan by the rail industry and ultimately to publication of the Secretary of State for Transport’s High Level Output Specification (HLOS) and Statement of Funds Available (SOFA). Preparations for Control Period 6 (2019-2024) are underway.


This Committee sought views from the public on issues relevant to the rail infrastructure in Wales in order to inform decisions on Welsh rail infrastructure in Control Period 6 and beyond.


Terms of Reference and Key Issues


The scope of the inquiry covered:

  • The operational effectiveness of current rail infrastructure for passengers and freight within Wales and priorities for the development of Welsh infrastructure, particularly in Control Period 6 (2019-24) and beyond;
  • The relationship between the Welsh and English rail networks in terms of planning, management, maintenance/renewal and enhancement, and how these should be co-ordinated to benefit passenger and freight users on both sides of the border;
  • The effectiveness of the current approach to planning rail infrastructure in Wales, as well as delivery of maintenance/renewal and enhancement, and whether the current approach achieves the best outcomes for passengers and freight users in Wales.


The public were asked for their views on:

  • High level priorities for the development of rail infrastructure to provide the capacity and connectivity necessary to support the social and economic well-being of Wales;
  • How far Welsh Government’s rail infrastructure priorities, including those in the National Transport Finance Plan, and the Ministerial Task Force on North Wales Transport report meet the needs of Wales;
  • How the development and exploitation of rail infrastructure in England affects Wales, and vice versa;
  • The impact on Wales of key planned developments in England including High Speed Rail, electrification, Northern Power House / Transport for the North, and wider devolution of responsibility for rail within England;
  • How Welsh Government can best engage with and influence infrastructure developments in England and the development of passenger and freight services using the network;
  • Whether the periodic review process meets the needs of Wales and takes account of the needs of Welsh passenger and freight users, and how this should be developed;
  • The effectiveness of the Network Rail Wales Route and whether the approach to delivery of network management, maintenance, renewal and enhancement functions are effective in delivering value for money, capacity, frequency, speed, reliability and handling disruption for passengers and freight users in Wales;
  • The fact that funding for Welsh rail infrastructure is not devolved. The advantages, disadvantages, opportunities and risks potentially associated with devolution.


Disclosure of Information

You can find further details about how we use your information at Please ensure that you have considered these details carefully before submitting information to the Committee.


Contact details

Should you wish to speak to someone regarding this consultation, please use the below contact details:

Enterprise and Business Committee - Fourth Assembly
National Assembly for Wales
Pierhead Street
Cf99 1NA

Email: Contact@Assembly.Wales
Telephone: 0300 200 6565



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