Takeover would be a 'major change'
Professor Stuart Cole, one of Wales and the UK’s leading experts in transport economics described the takeover as a major change.
“You might say it is going back to the days of British Railway,” he said.
Discussing the reasoning behind the takeover, Professor Cole said: “My understanding of it is that clearly the revenue that was expected to come into the franchises when the bid for the operations was made has turned out to be considerably less following the Covid crisis, but the costs largely remain the same.
“They still have the trains and maintain the services, but the passengers are not there.”
'Every operational part of the railway will now be run by the Welsh Government'
Most of Wales’ rail tracks are owned by Network Rail, which is owned by the UK Government, but the Welsh Government owns the South Wales Valleys lines.
According to Professor Cole by taking over the franchise every operational part of the railway will now be run by the Welsh Government
“Everything the traveller sees will be operated by the Welsh Government.
“They probably won’t like the word nationalise, but that is what in effect has happened.”
According to Professor Cole, the renationalising of the railways has long been a desire for the Welsh Government but Westminster laws prevented them from bidding for the 2018 contract, despite the companies that did bid being owned by four countries - Hong Kong, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
“But I don’t think at this point in time it was the Government’s desire to take over the railways, it is because of Covid,” Professor Cole added.