The Enterprise and Business Committee has
undertaken an inquiry into the future of the Wales and Borders Rail Franchise.
The terms of reference for
the inquiry were:
- What lessons can be learnt from the current franchise?
- What priorities can be identified to ensure that rail passenger
services in Wales and the borders provide the best possible service for
passengers from 2018?
- How can service delivery after 2018 deliver connectivity and value
for money for passengers while reducing the burden on the tax payer?
Issues that the Committee
considered as part of these terms of reference include:
- Whether the current franchise
meets passenger needs and what lessons should be learnt from it;
- How passengers should be involved in the franchise development and
- How communities and local government / Regional Transport Consortia
should be involved. Could they be involved in specifying the franchise or
perhaps even in delivering services?
- The management model to be adopted, including the Welsh Government’s
proposal for a not-for-dividend franchise;
- How the franchise specification should improve the passenger
experience, including issues such as franchise length, targets /
incentives and the core service standards which should be included;
- The routes, particularly cross-border routes, which should be
- The rolling stock needed for the new franchise. What factors need to
be considered and how this should be procured? Will new rolling stock be
- Whether additional lines, enhancements to existing lines, new
stations or other infrastructure are needed; and
- Whether the franchise can support an enhanced relationship between
Network Rail and the franchise operator and the benefits this might bring.