Railway lines in Wales to be managed and maintained independently

Network Rail has spun out its Welsh business in a historic move that will see railway lines in the country managed and maintained independently for the first time.

The devolved business for Wales and the Marches is being created as part of Network Rail’s drive to break up its network into regional operating businesses.

Management for the area is currently subsumed in the large Western region based in Swindon, but will now be moved to Cardiff.

David Higgins, Network Rail’s chief executive, said: “Network Rail has saved money and transformed the railway through central control but to make further improvements in Wales we now need to increase responsiveness at a local level by operating with a one-Wales strategy.”

“We’re devolving accountability so that we can get closer to our customers and be in a better position to deliver improvements to passengers and freight users, while forging stronger ties with the Welsh Assembly Government to unlock any untapped potential on the railway.”

“The Wales route managing director will, in effect, be running their own infrastructure railway business with significant annual turnover and resources.