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Wales and Borders (Arriva Trains Wales)

What is happening now?

Transport for Wales is currently assessing two bids to run the new Wales and Borders rail service, which is due to start in October 2018. They are:

  • KeolisAmey;
  • MTR Corp (Cymru) Ltd.

A third bidder, Abellio Rail Cymru, has had to withdraw from the competition following the collapse of its partner Carillion.

Arriva Rail Wales/Rheilffyrdd Arriva Cymru Ltd, the fourth shortlisted bidder, withdrew at an earlier stage of the process.

A decision on the winning bid could be announced in early summer.


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

Welsh Government has joint responsibility for managing the franchise alongside the UK Government and rail franchising will be fully devolved in 2018.

The procurement process is being 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 develop plans for, and subsequently implement and operate, the Core Valley Lines as part of Metro Phase 2. 

Our role in the franchising process

We responded to the DfT’s consultation on the next franchise.

Our response is based on insight from passengers, including our focus group research into the experiences and aspirations of current Arriva Trains Wales passengers, which we published in June 2017.

We used the results from our research and responses to the consultation in discussions with Transport for Wales and franchise bidders. Ensuring the passenger voice is embedded at the heart of the procurement process.

We also provided expert reports on bidder’s proposals on the passenger experience to assist in appraising each bid.

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

June 2017 Wales and Borders rail franchise – consultation response
June 2017 The future of the Wales and Borders rail service: what passengers want
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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