The Welsh government has decided to nationalise its railways following a significant drop in passenger numbers because of coronavirus (Covid-19).
The country’s transport minister Ken Skates said bringing day-to-day rail services for its Wales and Borders franchise under public control would help secure the future of passenger services and protect jobs.
Private firm KeolisAmey, a joint venture between French transport giant Keolis and Amey, has run the franchise in Wales for just two years after taking it over from Arriva Trains Wales.
It was awarded the contract in 2018 by the Welsh government’s wholly-owned transport company Transport for Wales (TfW), which will now take direct control of services.
On 22 October, Skates said: “The last few months have been extremely challenging for public transport in Wales and across the UK.
“Covid has significantly impacted passenger revenues and the Welsh government has had to step in with significant support to stabilise the network and keep it running.
“We have decided to transfer day-to-day rail services to a new publicly-owned subsidiary of Transport for Wales.”
He added: “In Wales we continue a partnership approach between TfW and KeolisAmey as we work together to protect services for the Welsh public, safeguard jobs and secure the important Metro projects we have been working so hard on over the last few years.”
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?