Assurances wanted on future of Machynlleth train depot

Reporter:

Elgan Hearn

ASSURANCES have been given that Arriva Train Wales Depot workers in Machynlleth should be kept on, by whichever company operates the Wales and Borders Franchise in the future.

On Monday, October 30, the company announced that it was withdrawing from the bidding process.

This leaves Abellio Rail Cymru, Keolis Amey and MTR Corporation in the running to be the next franchise holder.

Arriva Trains Wales told The County Times that it is “business as usual” for the staff in Machynlleth and it is expected that they would be transferred to the new franchise holder, when it becomes operational.

Tom Joyner, managing director of Arriva Trains Wales, said: “Arriva Group have withdrawn from the bidding process for the next Wales and Borders franchise.

“Our key priority following this announcement is to continue to focus on the delivery of our services for the people and communities that depend on us for the remainder of the current franchise, including a £1 million Arriva Trains Wales investment in additional trains which will be introduced in 2018.

“We will continue to work closely with our government and industry partners to support them with the delivery of their priorities.”

The depot in Machynlleth services the fleet of 24 trains that serve the 33 Cambrian line stations in Mid Wales and Shropshire.

In 2007 it received a £3 million upgrade, since when the workforce has more than trebled from 10 to 33.

Izzy Lumley, acting clerk for Machynlleth Town Council, said the annoucement had been discussed at their last meeting, but not in much depth as councillors had only just found out about Arriva TW dropping out of the process.

Machynlleth County Councillor, Michael Williams, said: ”the depot is of huge importance to Machynlleth.

“Assurances will be sought from Arriva and from the company that eventually wins the tender that the jobs are safe in Machynlleth. I will be taking this up with all the railway committees that I’m part of.

“There are over 30 high quality jobs here and it’s been a shock to find out that Arriva have dropped out of the bidding.

“In my view they have done a good job running this franchise and it’s our job to continually push for improvement.”

The depot has also received political support from the top of the Welsh Government, with First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, saying in a debate at the Senedd last month that it was important to maintain the depot.

The successful franchise bidder will be announced next year and will run the service for the next 15 years.

Email:

elgan.hearn@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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