Rail passengers in England and Wales will benefit from thousands more seats on services across the border thanks to a £1.2 million deal between the Department for Transport and Arriva Train Wales, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (16 July 2014).
Under the plans, which have been supported by the Welsh government, the train operator will run an additional locomotive and 4 carriages, boosting services for passengers and local businesses on the popular routes between Llandudno and Holyhead to Manchester and Birmingham.
The additional services are expected to start in December and will mean at least 2,450 extra seats across the morning and evening peaks every week. They include:
- Chester to Manchester Piccadilly
- Manchester Piccadilly to Holyhead
- Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly
- Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
This is good news for passengers travelling between England and Wales. I know how popular these services are, so it’s important to get extra carriages and seats on the network. It will mean better connections for thousands of passengers, and is further proof our long term economic plan is on track, making a real difference to hard-working people.
The department is currently embarked on a massive programme of infrastructure investment. Network Rail will spend £38 billion over the next 5 years, maintaining and enhancing the network, including extensive electrification across England and Wales. This will allow new state-of-the-art trains to run between London and South Wales, delivering improved connections and thousands more seats.
Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy Science and Transport in the Welsh government said:
This announcement is excellent news for passengers on both sides of the border and is an excellent example of the Welsh government and UK government working together for the benefit of the public. This announcement builds on the Welsh government’s investment in locomotives that are currently used on the north-south express service and have capacity to be used for the additional services. This fits with my on-going commitment to develop improved public transport in north Wales and will provide people in Wales with greater flexibility and better services enabling them to access jobs and services more easily.
The deal has been made possible through money paid to the department by Deutsche Bahn, following the company’s acquisition of Arriva Plc. Under the current rail industry framework train companies are required to pay a change of control fee when changes to the operator are made.
Ian Bullock, Managing Director of Arriva Trains Wales, said:
We would like to thank both the Department for Transport and the Welsh government for supporting the provision of extra capacity on some of our busiest routes. Improved service performance levels and the increased popularity of sustainable transport has led to more than 75% growth in passenger numbers using our Manchester and Birmingham services since our Wales and borders franchise began in late 2003. This extra capacity will help us better meet the demand along these key routes and hopefully encourage even more passengers to use the rail network.