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Friday, June 14, 2024

Wales ‘ready’ for rail reform and UK Government must be more ambitious

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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.

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.
  • Great British Rail to be accountable to the Welsh Government and the Senedd for its work in Wales.

Speaking at the committee on Tuesday 21 May, 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.”

Addressing the need for more powers in Wales, he said: “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.”

Image credit: iStockphoto.com

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