Wales & Borders Franchise, Proposal, Mobilisation, Transition, Transformation – United Kingdom

  • Over 240 stations
  • 22 routes covering urban and rural areas
  • 13 million miles travelled per year by rolling stock
  • £1 billion upgrade project

The Wales & Borders franchise is a railway franchise for the majority of passenger services in Wales and some services in the bordering regions in England. The network has historically suffered from poor operational performance, ageing rolling stock and low levels of passenger satisfaction. As part of the tender for the new franchise operating period (2018 – 2033), the Welsh Assembly Government mandated that bidders must propose a series of transformational improvements.

Since 2017, North Star has supported the successful operator through the tender stage and, subsequently, the mobilisation and operational delivery stages of the new franchisee.

  • Tender stage – we provided an operations specialist to support the successful bidder’s operations delivery workstream throughout the tender stage, leading on command and control, disruption and incident management and developing the operations workforce organisation.
  • Mobilisation stage – we were heavily involved in the operations and performance mobilisation of the new franchise, supporting a smooth handover of operations from the incumbent operator to the new one, ensuring that risks to delivery were appropriately mitigated.
  • Operations readiness – we provided the Operations Readiness Director to lead the Operations Readiness Team to deliver the national transformation programme to improve passenger experiences and connectivity.
  • Improving operational performance – we established and led a new Rapid Action Task Force to deliver key performance improvement initiatives, with a focus on achieveing key contractual targets for the new franchise operator. We also redefined rolling stock usage to align formations with customer demand patterns.

“To ensure readiness for handover on Day One, North Star ensured our mobilisation and transition planning for operational readiness was robust and that all risks were mitigated. North Star’s support in delivering our improvement activities was essential to strengthen the senior management team and ensure clear ownership within the operational function for the significant changes underway in Wales. North Star’s work has also ensured that our organisation is prepared for further planned changes through to 2023.”

Leticia Frank, Performance & Planning Director, Transport for Wales Rail Services