Welsh Government: New train operator to retain safety critical guard

Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/PA Images

The new operators of trains in Wales will keep a safety critical guard on services, ministers have announced.

A shortlist of four companies will be invited to tender for the Wales & Borders franchise, with a preferred bidder revealed in early 2018.

The Welsh Government said it was committed to keep a safety critical conductor/guard on all trains, including heavy rail Metro services.

The commitment follows a "clear public response" in consultations, where more than 90% of respondents said a second member of staff was either quite important or essential in the Wales and Borders region.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is staging two 24-hour strikes next week on Southern, Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia in disputes over the role of guards and driver-only trains.

Abellio Rail Cymru, Arriva Rail Wales, Keolis Amey and MTR Corporation (Cymru) Ltd have been invited by the Welsh Government to submit final tenders for the next Wales and Borders rail service, which will come into force in October 2018.