One of the three remaining bidders for the next Wales and Borders rail franchise has pulled out.
Dutch-owned Abellio Rail Cymru (ARC) has withdrawn from the bidding process as it is 'unable to overcome the impact' of Carillion’s liquidation.
Abellio's withdrawal leaves just two other bidders in contention for the franchise, which operates much of the country's railway network
- Keolis Amey -French state railways
- MTR Corporation (Cymru) -Hong Kong's mass transit railway
In January Carillion collapsed with debts of around £1.5 billion.
Carillion employed around 20,000 British workers.
In October last year, Transport for Wales has announced that existing franchisee Arriva Rail had pulled out of the bidding process.
The Welsh Government intends the winner of the Wales and Borders rail franchise to achieve major improvements to the service.
These include new trains and the electrification of the Valleys lines, which will be integrated into a new South Wales Metro that combines trains, trams and buses.
In a statement Ken Skates, economy secretary, explained that despite the 'best efforts of the team of experts, lawyers and counsel at Transport for Wales, and the ARC team, ARC has taken the regrettable decision to withdraw its bid having been unable to overcome the impact of Carillion’s liquidation'.
Earlier this month the Economy Secretary told ITV Wales' Sharp End that all three bidders are 'world class operators'.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, Adam Price AM said the news that Abellio has withdrawn its bid reveals the Labour Welsh Government's 'amateurism' during the process.