The UK’s Wales and Borders rail franchise is to be taken under the direct control of the Welsh Government. The decision, announced on 22 October, follows a collapse in passenger numbers due to COVID-19.
Services will become the responsibility of a publicly-owned subsidiary of Transport for Wales (TfW), to include a new partnership between TfW, Keolis and Amey. The move follows emergency revenue support by the Welsh Government for the franchise, and similar steps by the UK Government to support heavy rail franchises in England.
Currently, TfW is undertaking an ambitious project to not only convert the Valley Lines routes around Cardiff to tram-train, but also to return street-running to the Welsh capital and to take over the local heavy rail network from national infrastructure owner Network Rail. Stadler is to provide 36 three-car Citylink cars for the tram-train service, under a deal announced in 2019.