Two TfW 197s on a Llandudno Jn to Man Airport service 2023 TM01

UK: Speaking to the UK parliamentary Transport Select Committee on May 21, the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for North Wales & Transport, Ken Skates, set out his three requests from the Westminster government as part of the emerging reform programme to establish Great British Railways.

Skates called for:

  • full autonomy for the Wales & Borders operating contract, now branded as TfW Rail;
  • a partnership role for the Welsh government in designing and managing services run by other operators which impact Welsh passengers;
  • ensuring the integrated rail body GBR is accountable to the Welsh government and the Senedd for its work in Wales.

Skates told MPs that the rail reform bill now at draft stage ‘could and should provide a significant step towards a clearer role for the Welsh government. We want to work in partnership to deliver a simplifier more efficient system for the benefit of passengers in Wales and the borders.’

Addressing the need for more powers in Wales, he said the current rail industry model for the principality was ‘the most complex of all UK nations. It needs reform and our starting point remains our longstanding call for the full devolution of rail infrastructure and services - along with a fair funding settlement. We see further devolution of rail as a process not an event, and believe there is significant room for improvement within the current devolution settlement and through a staged approach to further devolution of rail powers.’