1 January 2017

Some good news to report, following an intervention by Campaign for Rail.  The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has announced that the new Wales and Borders rail franchise will include cross-border services between England and the principality.

A consultation held at the start of the year on the new franchise had included the suggestion that these services should have been split at the border, with WAG having responsibility for the portion running within Wales and another franchise running the portion in England.  The result could have been rail passengers wishing to travel to or from Wales being forced to change trains at stations such as Shrewsbury or Hereford on the border.  

Campaign for Rail reminded WAG in its comments to the “Setting the Direction for Wales and Borders Rail” consultation” that these cross-border services are important for users both in Wales and England  and that they should be maintained.   WAG has now stated “it has reached an understanding with the UK Department for Transport that the current Wales and Borders franchise map will remain intact”.

This is a victory for rail passengers.  Current through services such as Birmingham – Aberystwyth, Birmingham – Holyhead and Manchester – Cardiff will continue, and WAG are looking at the possibility for additional services from Wales to Bristol and Liverpool.

Four companies are currently bidding for the new Wales and Borders franchise.  They are:

A further consultation on the Invitation to Tender and service specification is to be held at the start of 2017 by an organisation called “Transport for Wales” established by WAG.  The winning bidder will be known later on in the year.

Through Trains To Wales Saved