Transport for Wales Rail Services

Keolis Amey Operations, trading as Transport for Wales Rail Services is a Welsh train operating company owned by Keolis and Amey that operates the Wales and Borders franchise.
The government body Transport for Wales awarded the contract for the Wales and Borders franchise to Keolis Amey in 2018 which commenced rail operations on 14 October 2018. Keolis Amey uses the brand names Transport for Wales and TfW Rail, which are owned by the Welsh Government, for day-to-day operations.


In October 2016 four bids were shortlisted for the next Wales & Borders franchise: Abellio, the incumbent operator Arriva, a Keolis/Amey joint venture, and MTR Corporation.
In October 2017, Arriva withdrew from the bidding process, followed in February 2018 by Abellio, after the collapse of its partner Carillion. In May 2018, the franchise was awarded to Keolis Amey Wales Cymru. It commenced on 14 October 2018 and runs for 15 years.
Unlike the previous franchise, which was awarded by the Department for Transport, the new franchise was awarded by Transport for Wales, on behalf of the Welsh Government.
As of January 2020 Keolis Amey has been fined £2.3 million by the Welsh government for poor performance of rail services. The company is also expected to be criticised by the Welsh Language Commissioner later in 2020 for reportedly breaking legislation on Welsh language provision six times since taking over the franchise in 2018. TfW Rail told the BBC that it did not believe any rules had been broken. Complaints included that Welsh was given lesser treatment on self-service machines, websites, and on the mobile app, that correspondence was not issued fully in Welsh, that train tickets were printed only in English, and that station and train announcements were not always made bilingually.


Typical TfW weekday off-peak service is as follows:

Planned improvements

There are plans to improve services between 2018 and 2033 as part of the new franchise:
North Wales and North West England
South West and Mid Wales and the Borders
South East Wales
TfW Rail inherited a fleet of Class 142, 143, 150, 153, 158 and 175 diesel multiple units and Mark 3 carriages from Arriva Trains Wales, which had been refurbished starting from 2011 and had been fitted with WiFi in 2017. It has since acquired some Class 170 units and more Class 153 units from some English operators to work alongside and with the ex-ATW fleet, to add capacity and support new services.

Class 153 ''Super Sprinters''

In April 2019 TfW Rail added 5 153s acquired from Great Western Railway to the 8 it previously had. Four of these entered service the following month, and the fifth returned from works on 5 October 2019 as the first 153 on the whole GB rail network with PRM modifications, and entered service on 21 October 2019.
In October 2019, Porterbrook Leasing Company announced that they will lease a further 9 Class 153 units to TfW for use on a short term basis. These comprise 5 153s from Greater Anglia which were delivered in December 2019 and started to enter service in January 2020, and 4 153s from East Midlands Railway which were delivered in January 2020 and started to enter service in February 2020.

Class 170 ''Turbostars''

In September 2019 Transport for Wales took delivery of the first 3 of 12 total Class 170 Turbostar DMUs from Greater Anglia, with 3 more of the units following in November 2019, a further 4 in December 2019 and the last two in January and February 2020 respectively. Driver training had taken place from September 2019, and in April 2020, the last unit to enter service finally did so.
On 12 December 2019, 3-car 170202 worked TfW Rail's first Class 170 passenger services, and five units were in passenger service on 16 December 2019. The units had been refurbished under Greater Anglia and are initially being used by TfW Rail cosmetically unchanged, but as they will be retained for the duration of the franchise, it is planned that they will later receive further refurbishment to TfW Rail specification.
As of April 2019, all of TfW Rail's Class 142 and 143 Pacer DMUs, which were intended to be withdrawn and replaced by the 1 January 2020 PRM deadline but will now continue in service until July 2020 under dispensation from law,
have had advertising vinyls applied, with the messages 'The start of a new journey', 'The journey is almost over for old trains', and 'These trains will terminate soon', stating rolling stock, infrastructure and service improvements. The Mark 3 carriages for the locomotive-hauled trains had Transport for Wales logos applied to the ex-Arriva Trains Wales livery. They were withdrawn in March 2020.

Class 150, 153, 158 and 175 DMUs

The rest of TfW Rail's rolling stock, which will be withdrawn and replaced by 2023, is in the process of undergoing several changes. These include the application of Transport for Wales livery, and TfW Rail specification interior refurbishment.
In addition, the 150s/153s/158s staying until 2022–23 are receiving PRM-TSI 2020 modifications.

Fleet summary

Train maintenance depots

TfW Rail's current fleet is stored and maintained at the following depots.
Due to space limitations, Chrysalis Rail currently allows TfW Rail to store any unallocated units or carriages at its Landore TMD in Swansea, even if they are not being worked on. This arrangement has been in place since late 2019.

Past fleet

Train types formerly operated by Transport for Wales Rail Services include:

Class 37-hauled Mark 2 sets

From June 2019 to March 2020, TfW Rail hired two Class 37-hauled Mark 2 sets to temporarily operate rush-hour services between Cardiff and Rhymney to add capacity. From January 2020 they were operating under PRM non-compliance dispensation, but were withdrawn in March due to decreasing reliability and replaced with trains formed of multiple Class 153 railcars coupled together, with many more of those now in the fleet.

Future fleet

All of TfW Rail's ATW-inherited and extra temporary fleet is due to be replaced by 2023.

Cascades and refurbishments

Class 769 ''Flex'' units

Nine Class 769 Flex bi-mode multiple units were due to be delivered by 2019, following conversion from Class 319 electric multiple units which were previously in service with Thameslink, by fitting diesel generators and extra electronic equipment to some previously unused below-solebar space. This work has been delayed for a number of operators who wished to run the Flex units, including Great Western Railway and Northern. The expected delivery date of May was not achieved, and in July 2019 TfW confirmed that regulatory issues with the units were preventing their introduction. As of 16 March 2020, only 4 769s have been delivered, though test runs on the Rhymney Line commenced on the same day. These units are currently expected to enter service sometime in 2020.

Class 67-hauled Mark 4 sets

In addition, at least three Class 67 locomotives have been adapted to work with 12 Mark 4 carriages and 3 Mark 4 DVTs from London North Eastern Railway, which will replace the Mark 3 stock currently used on locomotive-hauled services. These were able to cascade as a result of the introduction of Class 800s on the East Coast Main Line. Testing and training of these sets commenced on 28 January 2020, and they are expected to enter service by mid-2020. The Mark 4 Coaches will retain the Virgin Trains East Coast livery, but with Transport for Wales labels attached. The Mark 4 Driving Van Trailers will be repainted into the New Transport for Wales livery. The Class 67 locomotives selected have been repainted into TfW livery.

Class 230 ''D-Trains''

The first "new" trains will also join the fleet during 2020 in the form of 5 D-Train diesel-battery-electric multiple units, which are being built in England from former London Underground D78 Stock aluminium bodyshells by start-up rolling stock manufacturer Vivarail. The first Class 230 units were delivered to London Northwestern Railway in April 2019, on the Marston Vale Line. The five-month delay for introduction of these services indicated however that the units will also be delayed on the North Wales mainline. On 9 September 2019, a test unit that was reconfigured to the same configuration as the TfW Rail units commenced test runs in the manufacturer's area, and on 10 April 2020, 230006 was the first TfW Rail unit to undergo testing there. The units are currently expected to enter service sometime in 2020.

New rolling stock orders

For the longer term fleet replacement, 148 brand new trains have been ordered.

Class 197 ''Civitys''

A total of 77 Class 197 CAF Civity diesel multiple units have been ordered, which are due to be assembled in Wales at CAF's new UK factory in Llanwern, Newport. These trains will have end gangways. The first Class 197 Driving Motor carriage vehicle bodyshell was assembled, welded and painted in Spain by 12 February 2020; the bodyshells will be shipped to Newport for fitment of all components.

Class 756/231 ''FLIRTs'' and Class 398 ''Citylinks''

Also, a total of 35 Stadler FLIRT units have been ordered along with 36 Class 398 Stadler Citylink tram-trains. These will be manufactured at the Stadler factory in Szolnok, Hungary and assembled at their plant in Bussnang, Switzerland. The addition of these trains to the fleet, from 2021–24 but mostly in 2022–23, will allow the 109 Class 150, 153, 158, 175 and 769 units to be withdrawn.
Alongside the brand new fleet, the 170s will be retained for the duration of the franchise but will work different routes, with the Mark 4 sets also being retained and remaining on the routes it will work from their date of introduction on TfW Rail services. The 230s will however, move off the Conwy Valley Line services to give the doubled frequency on the Borderlands Line once the Class 197s enter service.