Arriva's Wales and Boarder contract, which has extended 15 years, has come to an end.

Transport for Wales, with partners KeolisAmey, launched the new rail service this morning bringing to an end Arriva's 15 year Wales and Boarder contract.

First Minister, Carwyn Jones - who launched the new service from Pontypridd station this morning- said by 2033 the service could be the best in the UK.

Mr Jones said: “This is an important moment for rail in Wales – indeed for devolution itself.

“Led by Transport for Wales with our partners KeolisAmey this will be the very first ‘made in Wales’ rail service, designed and delivered by the Welsh Government.

“The opportunity to re-design and re-purpose our railway network in Wales is a once in a generation opportunity and I am confident that by 2033 it can be the best passenger rail service in the UK.

“The chance to develop an integrated transport system that encourages economic growth and better supports our public services is supported across all political parties, and the opportunities to develop Metro systems here in South East Wales, in the North East and around Swansea Bay are drawing attention from across the globe.”

Mr Jones said the transition and changes would not just take place overnight and would take time.

North Wales, Transport Secretary Ken Skates, said there would be a number of major improvements passengers can expect to see in the next few weeks, months and years.

Mr Skates said: "With investment totalling almost £5 billion over the next decade and a half, our network will be transformed.

"We have committed £800 million to deliver new trains across the network, which by 2023 will see 95% of rail journeys made on new trains.

"A further £194m will be put to improving the passenger experiences at our stations across the Wales and Borders network.

“There is £738m earmarked to modernise the central metro lines, support the next phase of Metro and run more trains every hour.

"Transport for Wales rail services will offer 600 new jobs and 450 apprenticeships over the 15 year lifespan of the contract.

“Passengers will enjoy the benefits of the introduction of smart ticketing across the network, and through the extension of free travel to under-11s with half-price fares for 16 to18 year olds, they will see economic improvements also.

“This is an exciting time for Wales, and we wish Transport for Wales every success in bringing about these transformational changes on our behalf.”

Transport for Wales chief executive, James Price, added: "Transport for Wales has innovative plans to revolutionise transport across Wales and ambitions to create a rail service that puts customers first.

"Taking over the running of the Wales and Borders rail service is an important first step on an exciting journey of transformation that will also see the creation of the South Wales Metro."