Wales ‘ready’ for rail reform to meet the needs of passengers

May 21, 2024 - 299 views

In his first appearance at the UK Parliament Transport Committee as Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport, Ken Skates set out his three asks of the UK Government as well as his ambition for a fully integrated, efficient system which meets the needs of Welsh passengers.

In the session, he called for full autonomy for the Wales and Borders franchise, a partnership role in designing and managing services run by other operators which impact Welsh passengers and ensuring the new integrated rail body (Great British Rail) is accountable to the Welsh Government and the Senedd for its work in Wales.

Speaking at the committee earlier today, the Cabinet Secretary responsible for transport said:    

"This bill could and should provide a significant step towards a clearer role for the Welsh Government. We want to work in partnership on rail reform to deliver a simplifier more efficient system for the benefit of passengers in Wales and the borders.

"The current rail industry model for Wales is 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."