Growth Track 360 welcomes the announcement of the successful bidder for the Wales & Borders rail franchise

The North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force, the group behind the Growth Track360 campaign, welcomes today’s announcement that Keolis Amey have been confirmed as the successful bidder for the Wales and Borders Franchise.

This is a crucial announcement as we view the new franchise as the opportunity to deliver transformational improvements to rail services across the North Wales and Mersey Dee geography.

We had constructive discussions with Keolis Amey during the bidding process. We now look forward to working with them to deliver our vision for better, faster and more connected rail services. Growth Track 360 has repeatedly made the case in recent years that the rail network is not sufficiently supporting our economy. Effective and affordable rail services can support the strong sustained growth of the North Wales and Mersey Dee economy and help to manage and reduce transport congestion as well as reducing carbon emissions.

Growth Track 360 does not work in isolation and is linked to work to create integrated transport networks that includes bus, private cars and active travel through the North Wales Metro concept, the proposed North Wales Growth Deal and connected proposed investment in the cross border area.

Cllr. Samantha Dixon, Chair of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force said,

The new franchise is an opportunity for transformational change in our rail services. Growth Track 360 has worked assiduously with the Welsh and UK Governments and the bidders to propose new services and investments in our rail infrastructure to improve rail services and their linkage to the economy.

We are particularly grateful to Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport in Wales who has met with us regularly and listened to our ideas for improved services and encouraged us to engage with bidders. Through our work with the Minister we are confident that our aspirations for the North Wales and the Mersey Dee area have been impressed upon the successful bidder.

We are cautiously optimistic that when the details of the franchise are announced will be able to see improvements in services and will have a platform from which to  work with the franchise holder to implement changes in services that have a beneficial impact on the daily lives of our citizens.”

Cllr. Aaron Shotton, Chair of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and a member of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force said,

“At this stage whilst the detail of the winning bid is not known, we expect to see improvements to rail services delivered for our area from the new franchise.  It is essential that we obtain improved services and rail infrastructure around which we can build an integrated public transport solutions that reduce congestion and carbon emissions. We have linked transport proposals within the North Wales Growth Bid that will help make public transport more relevant to commuting to work and thereby better serve our economy by dovetailing with a better Wales and Borderlands franchise.

We look forward to having further information on the winning bid and how we can establish a strong working relationship to achieve better rail services in the North Wales and Mersey Dee area.”