In the Welsh Assembly this morning Professor Paul Salveson MBE and Vaughan Gething AM launched a new report, Rail Cymru, on a new vision for Wales’ railways.
The proposals in this report are for a railway company serving the people of Wales and the Borders which puts their needs before those of private shareholders and foreign owners (the current Wales and Borders franchise is operated by Arriva which is owned by German Railways).
The vision for a ‘Rail Cymru’ is an exciting one, involving rail employees, passengers, the wider community and the elected government of Wales. I firmly believe that this approach of a not-for-profit company, based on co-operative values, will deliver better value for money to the taxpayer and provide excellent quality of service.
The franchise comes up for renewal in 2018 so that allows more than enough time for the Welsh Government to develop its plans in detail, ensuring employees, passengers and the community are fully engaged with the vision for a people’s railway.
Central to the vision for ‘Rail Cymru’ is building an integrated network of rail and connecting bus services, with improved access for walkers and cyclists to stations. Stations should be transformed into hubs of community and business activity.
Professor Paul Salveson MBE is a rail expert and Labour Councillor in Yorkshire. He writes at www.paulsalveson.org.uk