Government Changes Affecting Rail in Wales

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LNW-GW Joint

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The recent cabinet upheaval at Westminster has caused a shuffle of ministers.
Stephen Crabb moves from Welsh Secretary to Work and Pensions.
Alun Cairns (Mid-Glamorgan) becomes Welsh Secretary, and Guto Bebb (Aberconwy) becomes his deputy.

This is a pity, as Stephen Crabb was getting to grips with the rail brief which involves more devolution to the Welsh Government.
Issues like electrification, the South Wales Metro, and the specification/letting of the next Wales & Borders franchise are now in new Westminster hands.
Relations between Westminster and Cardiff Bay have often been fraught on these issues. Hopefully the new team will find a workable solution.
 
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Gareth Marston

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The recent cabinet upheaval at Westminster has caused a shuffle of ministers.
Stephen Crabb moves from Welsh Secretary to Work and Pensions.
Alun Cairns (Mid-Glamorgan) becomes Welsh Secretary, and Guto Bebb (Aberconwy) becomes his deputy.

This is a pity, as Stephen Crabb was getting to grips with the rail brief which involves more devolution to the Welsh Government.
Issues like electrification, the South Wales Metro, and the specification/letting of the next Wales & Borders franchise are now in new Westminster hands.
Relations between Westminster and Cardiff Bay have often been fraught on these issues. Hopefully the new team will find a workable solution.

They'll be new team in Cardiff Bay come whatever in May. Perhaps some fresh faces will help.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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In the April Modern Railways, Rhodri Clark has a piece which suggests the WG is trying to detach the Valley lines network from Network Rail so that they can manage the physical infrastructure themselves as a "concession", as well as managing the passenger services.
This would be part of the devolution deal with Westminster for transport, which is also currently on the table.
He reports that WG has "lost patience" with NR's ability to deliver for Wales, and particularly for the Metro.
Amazingly, the idea is to invite bids from construction/transport firms which would specify a network and deliver a solution.
This means WG are not intending to specify the network and then seek bids to deliver it.
The timing is said to be urgent, because WG will lose access to EU funding to develop such a network by 2022.

I can't decide if this is another round of fantasy planning by the power-mad WG, or a serious proposal which will benefit South Wales (the Cardiff City Region, really).
Maybe being election year has something to do with it.
Sticking points are likely to be the interaction between the Valleys network and the "main line", and protecting access for the freight operators (if there is any freight left in the Valleys after the power stations close).
We also know that Merseytravel eventually decided not to go for full devolution of Merseyrail when they saw the costs and risks that NR shoulder.
 
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Class 170101

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I can understand their frustration with NR, given that Chester to Wrexham re-doubling doesn't appear finished yet and electrification in Wales (along with the rest of the UK) is slipping back from CP5 and into CP6. However didn't Transport Scotland try this with the Borders Link and in the end had to concede only NR could built the line as there were no contractors interested?
 

Gareth Marston

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In the April Modern Railways, Rhodri Clark has a piece which suggests the WG is trying to detach the Valley lines network from Network Rail so that they can manage the physical infrastructure themselves as a "concession", as well as managing the passenger services.
This would be part of the devolution deal with Westminster for transport, which is also currently on the table.
He reports that WG has "lost patience" with NR's ability to deliver for Wales, and particularly for the Metro.
Amazingly, the idea is to invite bids from construction/transport firms which would specify a network and deliver a solution.
This means WG are not intending to specify the network and then seek bids to deliver it.
The timing is said to be urgent, because WG will lose access to EU funding to develop such a network by 2022.

I can't decide if this is another round of fantasy planning by the power-mad WG, or a serious proposal which will benefit South Wales (the Cardiff City Region, really).
Maybe being election year has something to do with it.
Sticking points are likely to be the interaction between the Valleys network and the "main line", and protecting access for the freight operators (if there is any freight left in the Valleys after the power stations close).
We also know that Merseytravel eventually decided not to go for full devolution of Merseyrail when they saw the costs and risks that NR shoulder.

As with many politicians Edwina Hart has pressed the GO button and expected the instant good news result for herself. Welcome to the post 1993 Railways Act railway! This has her paw prints all over it and will be binned once she's no longer the Mnister. Never mind Network Rail is her party's own creation and they had 13 years in Westminster to sort out the mess. As with many politicians she's found out the problems she faces are the result of her predecessors failings.
 
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