The Welsh Government has confirmed that it has contracted a KeolisAmey joint venture to operate and develop the Wales and Borders rail service and the South Wales Metro.
A 15-year contract will run from this week until October, 2033, with KeolisAmey taking over the Wales and Borders rail service from Arriva Trains Wales in October.
The Welsh Government said the deal represents a £5bn investment.
The partnership of international public transport operator Keolis with infrastructure asset management specialist Amey will work in partnership with Transport for Wales (TfW), running all services under the TfW brand.
The announcement followed the end of a 10-day standstill period in the procurement process.
Wales’ first minister Carwyn Jones said: ‘This is an important moment for transport in Wales and begins a new chapter for rail services in this country.
‘The way we shaped this procurement was different. We put passengers’ priorities at the centre of our thinking and threw out a challenge to all of the bidders to address the concerns they had about seat capacity, journey times and service frequency. People said they wanted affordable fares and newer, cleaner trains and we have worked hard to ensure this is reflected in what we are launching today.
‘This is a chance not simply to build a modern, forward looking transport system, but to use it as an important tool to shape the life of the nation around us. This is a landmark moment in the future development of Wales.’
Amey said that from October the joint venure ‘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 networking’, including:
- Five new stations will be built and all 247 existing stations will be modernised.
- 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.