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Keolis/Amey wins contract to run Welsh rail services

Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/PA Images

A joint venture between French and Spanish companies has been given a contract to run rail services in Wales.

Keolis/Amey was awarded the 15-year contract ahead of Hong Kong-based MTR.

Arriva, which has been operating the franchise for 15 years, pulled out of the bidding last year.

Final tenders were received from three companies in December 2017.

One of those tenders was subsequently withdrawn and the two remaining bids were evaluated, with each bid being assessed for its quality, robustness and ability to deliver on the Welsh Government's policy priorities, as set out in 'Rail Services for the Future'.

Throughout the procurement process we have prioritised investment in the quality of trains, stations and services for the Wales and Borders Rail Service and South Wales Metro

– Welsh Government spokesperson

KeolisAmey says it is pleased that the Welsh Government has today announced its intention to award the contract to operate the Wales and Borders rail service and the South Wales Metro to KeolisAmey.

Upon successful completion of a 10-day standstill period, the contract will run from June 4, 2018, to October 14, 2033, with rail services transferring on October 14, 2018.

KeolisAmey is a joint venture partnership of international public transport operator Keolis, and infrastructure asset management specialist Amey.

KeolisAmey currently runs the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in London, and operates and maintain Greater Manchester’s Metrolink – the largest tram network in the UK.

This will be a transformative new rail service for Wales and its borders which will see Keolis once more combine its worldwide expertise in passenger operations with Amey’s engineering excellence.

We look forward to the successful completion of the procurement process - this exciting contract will deliver for all of Wales. The procurement process was rigorous, resulting in transformative solutions for the benefit of all in Wales, and indeed, future generations.

While the proposed changes won’t happen overnight, the railway will be unrecognisable in five years thanks to the vision of the Welsh Government.

– Alistair Gordon, Chief Executive of Keolis UK

RMT policy is for a national integrated railway under public ownership, and the Welsh Government has made it clear that this is their aspiration as well if they did not have to work under the pro-privatisation legislative straitjacket imposed by the UK Government.

The fact that rail privatisation is being enforced on the people of Wales by Whitehall is even more galling when the Tories have been forced to nationalise East Coast and the Westminster cross-party Public Accounts Committee have said the rail franchising model is broken.

However, RMT welcomes the fact that despite these constraints the Welsh Government has committed to keep a guard on every train alongside other commitments to work with RMT to protect jobs and conditions of rail workers in Wales.

– Mick Cash, Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary

The move continues the awarding of contracts to run rail services in the UK by foreign firms, often state owned. Keolis is three-quarters owned by French state railway SNCF.

Keolis/Amey already runs the Docklands Light Railway in London and the Manchester Metrolink. Keolis also runs Nottingham's trams.

The new contract starts in October.