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Wales and Borders (Arriva Trains Wales)

What is happening now?

​Transport for Wales launched a consultation into the future of the Wales and Borders rail service in February 2017. Further details can be found here. We will respond before the closing date of 23 May 2017, and will publish our response on our website.

We are also running some focus group research in partnership with Transport for Wales, to understand passenger needs. We will use the results as evidence to help inform the procurement process.

The franchise currently operated by Arriva Trains Wales will run until October 2018.

A shortlist of four bidders was announced in October 2016:

  • Abellio Rail Cymru;
  • Arriva Rail Wales/Rheilffyrdd Arriva Cymru Ltd;
  • KeolisAmey;
  • MTR Corp (Cymru) Ltd.


Welsh Government currently has joint responsibility for managing the franchise alongside the UK Government. Rail franchising will be fully devolved to the Welsh Government from 2017.

The procurement process will be undertaken through a competitive dialogue, with bidders proposing their outline solutions to Transport for Wales before being invited to submit a final tender. The intention is to secure an operator and development partner (an “ODP”) to operate the Wales and Borders Rail service and to develop plans for, and subsequently implement and operate, the Core Valley Lines as part of Metro Phase 2.

It is expected that the contract will be awarded in December 2017.

Our role in the franchising process

We are engaged in discussion with the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales and are feeding in to their procurement process. We are also in contact with the shortlisted bidders.

In June 2017 we published focus group research into the experiences and aspirations of current Wales and Borders passengers.

Early in 2016 the Welsh Government consulted on its proposals for the future operation of the franchise. Our response to the 2016 consultation sets out what we consider to be the issues and priorities for the next franchise to address. A further consultation was held in Spring 2017, focussing more on various aspects of service delivery. Our response further highlighs passengers’ priorities, drawing on our focus group research among Wales and Borders passengers.

In August 2016 we submitted evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee’s inquiry into the Wales and Borders rail franchise.

In 2014 we provided input into the scope of a rail franchise inquiry held by National Assembly Enterprise & Business committee.

To view our National Rail Passenger Survey reports or to access these and our appeal complaints data through our Open Data tool, please click on the links below:

NRPS                                                                  Open data


Transport Focus reports and publications

April 2016 Wales and Borders rail franchise – consultation response
March 2015 Commission on devolution in Wales – our submission
March 2015 Wales national transport plan – our submission

Click here for Transport for Wales website and publications


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