LABOUR AMs Eluned Morgan and Joyce Watson have hailed an exciting and transformative new Wales and Borders rail service franchise that will put passenger interests right at the heart of the operation.

KeolisAmey are the new providers and will take over the operation of the service from Arriva in October of this year.

The new service will underpin a transport revolution in Wales that will see a £5 billion investment to transform rail services across Wales.

Highlights of the deal include:

· more frequent trains;

· reduced journey times;

· more flexible fares;

· and a £1.9 billion investment into improving passengers’ travel experience, including an £800 million investment in trains, boosting overall service capacity by 65 per cent.

Local commuters in Carmarthenshire can expect to see improvements including additional services to and from the county on a Sunday, creating a truly 7 day service, the installation of new cycle lockers and a target to achieve Secure Station accreditation for all stations.

Eluned Morgan AM said: “I have no doubt people right across the length and breadth of Wales will be welcoming the details of this new franchise.

“I know that my constituents want better availability, better reliability and better affordability when they travel. The figures and details outlined in this announcement by Transport for Wales and KeolisAmey are truly exciting, and I can’t wait for it to steam ahead.”

There have been calls for a public sector or ‘nationalised’ Wales and Borders franchise, but the Welsh Government is prevented from doing so by the 1993 Railways Act.

Joyce Watson AM added: “I would love to see railway under public ownership with the powers for passenger services and infrastructure sustainably and comprehensively devolved to the Welsh Government. Until that is possible, I know that the Welsh Labour Government will ensure that it will take every opportunity to guarantee passengers in Wales get the best possible deal.”

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