The Welsh Government, through Transport for Wales, may have failed in its duty to undertake due diligence on the extension of an order of Flex trains which might not be fit for purpose, according to Plaid Cymru.
The previous franchise placed an order for a number of such trains – older models remodelled as electric trains with diesel engines – which was then extended under the new franchise.
During today’s First Minister’s Questions, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price AM accused the Welsh Government, through its franchisee Transport for Wales, of failing in its due diligence on the trains before extending the order.
The delay in introducing the new rolling stock means that pacer trains continue to be used, which are generally costlier to maintain than newer stock.
Transport for Wales had made a commitment to end the use of pacer trains by the end of this calendar year.
At First Minister’s Questions, Mr Price asked whether passengers would be compensated for the delays in getting the rolling stock on line.
Mr Drakeford asserted that the problems were a “legacy” of the former franchise, rather than a fault of the new franchise, despite the fact that the order was extended under the new franchise.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price AM said:
“I agree with senior Labour politicians who say that train passengers are being treated like second class citizens due to the delay in taking pacer trains out of service.
“We need to know why Transport for Wales is not be able to honour a commitment to bring in new rolling stock by the end of the year.
“If the delay is due to new Flex trains not currently being fit for purpose, we need to see details of the due diligence carried out by Transport for Wales ahead of ordering the new fleet.
“With fare payers already at a loss, taxpayers should be given assurances that the contract signed with the train provider has penalty clauses and a cancelation point built into it.”