Railways: Wales

Department for Transport written question – answered on 11th March 2015.

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Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to devolve responsibility for the Wales and Borders rail franchise to the Welsh Government; and how the interests of stakeholders and customers in England would be protected under such a change.

Photo of Baroness Kramer Baroness Kramer Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The UK Government is proposing to devolve executive franchising functions to the Welsh Government, to enable them to lead on the procurement and management of the next Wales and Borders franchise. We continue to work with the Welsh Government on the details of the devolved franchise, including how cross-border routes are procured and managed. Cross-border routes are vital for passengers on both sides of the border; having sufficient safeguards in place to protect all cross-border rail users is extremely important.

In order for the Secretary of State for Transport to ensure proper accountability, it is likely that services primarily serving English markets will be placed into other franchises for which the Secretary of State for Transport is the franchising authority. No final decision has been made at this stage on which services would be affected and specific proposals will be consulted on in due course as is normal practice. It should also be noted that any transfer of executive franchising functions to Welsh Ministers will be subject to parliamentary process in due course.

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