The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee will undertake an inquiry into the Welsh Government’s plans for the next Wales and Borders Rail Franchise and the next stage in development of the South Wales Metro.
The inquiry will build on the work undertaken by the Enterprise and Business Committee on the future of the Wales and Borders Franchise. The Welsh Government aims to award an integrated contact for both the next rail franchise and South Wales Metro infrastructure delivery in 2017.
At present the majority of rail services in Wales are provided under the Wales and Border Rail Franchise, operated by Arriva Trains Wales with the diesel rolling stock leased from two rolling stock companies (Angel Trains and Porterbrook). The current contract was awarded in 2003 and will end in 2018. At present Arriva Trains Wales receives a subsidy from the Welsh Government of between £150m and £180m a year.
In November 2014 the UK and Welsh Governments reached agreement on devolution of executive powers to procure the next Wales and Borders Rail Franchise which is due to start in October 2018. The devolution of executive powers means that the Welsh Government will have powers to procure the franchise within a statutory framework set by Westminster.
While the Metro for South Wales will be part of the bid, the company's proposals will also be scrutinised in terms of how they will affect all geographical locations. The Welsh Government has set out its ambitions for the Metro but it will be up to the bidders to propose how it will operate, as well as drawing up plans to build a new rail or tram system.
Since it will be the Welsh Government, rather than our Committee or the National Assembly for Wales, which actually takes the decision on priorities for the next rail franchise and Metro and awards the contracts, you may also wish to tell the Government what you think. The Welsh Government will soon be consulting on its plans and you will find further information, including how to respond to that consultation, once it has been published on the Welsh Government’s website.
If you're a rail user we'd like to hear your views. We will use your contributions as we take evidence and make recommendations to feed into the Welsh Government's negotiations. We want to ensure that the new contract for rail services in Wales takes the needs of passengers into account, and that the contract provides value for money for passengers and the taxpayer. The survey can be found here:
Committee Chair, Russell George AM provides some background information on the Committee's inquiry into the Rail Franchise and the Metro. https://youtu.be/ASjF-KBEt5I
Reason considered: Assembly Business;
Type: For information
First published: 27/09/2016