Four rail companies are in contention for the single Welsh Government “not-for-profit” franchise to operate the new Wales and Borders rail services in Wales – including those to and from Penarth.
The four firms have been named as:-
- Arriva Trains Wales,
- Abellio Rail Cymru,
- MTR Corporation.
The new rail service is supposed to begin operating in 2018 along similar ‘not-for-profit’ lines to that of Transport for London.
The new operator will be expected to introduce new rolling stock – which would be a welcome innovation for Penarth Rail commuters currently travelling on trains which are 30 years old.
The Welsh Government’s policy is being attacked by the RMT rail union Mike Cash who says “All these bids will mean that the foreign-owned railways will be making profit out of Welsh services whilst the Welsh public sector is not even being allowed to bid – that is a ludicrous situation that we should be uniting to fight.”
Meanwhile the German-owned Arriva Trains Wales – which currently operates Penarth rail services – has racked up one of the highest rates of complaints amongst rail operators this year. Latest figures from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) reveal that Arriva received 71 complaints per 100,000 passenger journeys.
This morning brought no respite for Penarth commuters – as dozens of trains were cancelled or delayed as per normal – and led to the customary plethora of complaints from customers on Twitter:-