KeolisAmey unveils bold plans for the Wales and Borders rail network.
On 4 June 2018, KeolisAmey unveiled bold plans for the Wales and Borders rail network and the development of the South Wales Metro working in partnership with Transport for Wales (TfW). £1.9billion, from a range of sources, including the Welsh Government will be invested to achieve these plans.
The announcement came as the Welsh Government confirmed that KeolisAmey would be the next operator and development partner for the network, following the end of a 10-day standstill period in the procurement process.
The awarding of this prestigious contract to KeolisAmey has been welcomed by the business. It acknowledges the confidence and trust being placed in the company to support the delivery of significant change to public transport in the region over the coming years.
From October 14, 2018, KeolisAmey will set about a series of improvements for what is a new era for passengers and for Wales with more services, newer trains, better stations and a more reliable network, including:
- £194m will be spent on station improvements, including the building of five new stations and the modernisation of all 247 already existing stations on the network;
- £800m will be spent replacing trains. From 2023, 95% of journeys will be made on new trains, half of which (50%) will be assembled in Wales;
- by December 2023 KeolisAmey will be running an extra 285 services every weekday across Wales, with improvements on the Ebbw Vale line, North Wales Metro (Wrexham-Bidston), Cambrian and Heart of Wales lines;
- there will be an extra 294 services across Wales on Sundays, an increase of 61%, creating a true 7-day service for the first time;
- there will be investment in new technology to reduce disruption and enhance performance;
- a new website and app will be created in the first year;
- investment will be made to improve on-board mobile phone connectivity.
- Six hundred new jobs will be created to deliver the contract, and 30 new apprenticeships will be created every year.
These improvements are part of a series of investments from a range of sources, including the Welsh Government, totalling £1.9bn that will be made over the 15-year contract period to bring about a transformation in rail travel for people and communities the length and breadth of Wales and its borders.
The contract will run from June 4, 2018, until October 14, 2033, with rail services transferring on October 14, 2018. It also includes delivering the next phases of the South Wales Metro project.
As part of the South Wales Metro development, journey times will be reduced and the frequency of trains will be increased, while new Metro vehicles will bring on-street running back to Cardiff.
And the link from Penarth, Barry and Bridgend to destinations north of Cardiff Central will be maintained using new tri-mode trains which can run on power from overhead electric cables, batteries and diesel engines.
Smart ticketing will be rolled out across Wales making travel easier and fares more flexible.
And new cheaper off-peak fares will be introduced, including reductions to fares in North Wales and at the heads of the Valleys.
KeolisAmey is a joint venture partnership between international transport operator Keolis and infrastructure asset management specialist Amey.
The announcement comes at the end of a long and rigorous procurement process, led by TfW, which initially saw KeolisAmey competing against three other bidders.
Alistair Gordon, Chief Executive of Keolis UK, said: “We are excited about the transformation we’re going to deliver here in Wales, working alongside Amey once again and in partnership with Transport for Wales.
“For too long the railways in Wales have suffered from under-investment and, while the changes we need to make will take time, we are creating a platform for future economic growth and prosperity that will benefit all of Wales now and for generations to come.
“In five years’ time, the railway will be unrecognisable from what it is today thanks to the vision of the Welsh Government. We can’t wait to get started.”
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 Docklands Light Railway – we are excited to be taking on the Wales and Borders contract.
“This is a great opportunity for us to use our joint capabilities to deliver a first-rate service for Wales and its communities. As well as creating new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities, we will be focused on upgrading the existing infrastructure and introducing new trains to significantly improve the passenger experience.
“We are looking forward to working with Transport for Wales in a partnership which will see the full replacement of all trains and major upgrades.
“We are also looking forward to working with the very proud and dedicated men and women running the railway in Wales today, who will join us on this exciting journey.