Passenger Rail, Products & Technology, Rolling stock & Rail Vehicle Design

Victorian government hails rail investment

Close to one billion dollars have been announced in the Victorian budget for a new fleet of trains.

A NEW fleet of more accessible, reliable and energy efficient trains built locally to create a better public transport network has been announced by the Victorian government.

The Victorian Budget 2021/2022 is investing $986 million to build 25 brand-new X’Trapolis 2.0 trains and the infrastructure they need to modernise the state’s train fleet.

Designed and manufactured predominantly in Victoria, the new trains are to provide a vital boost to the state’s advanced rolling stock manufacturing industry – particularly in regional Victoria, with at least 150 of the new jobs to be based at Alstom’s Ballarat facility.

This investment in new trains is also set to support the gradual retirement of the Comeng fleet – the longest- running trains on the metropolitan network – with the new trains set to run through some of Melbourne’s fastest- growing suburbs along the Craigieburn, Upfield and Frankston lines.

Part of the investment will also upgrade the Craigieburn Train Maintenance Facility, creating space for these modern trains and improving train maintenance to make the fleet more reliable and improve their longevity.

Detailed design work is already underway, with manufacturing of the X’Trapolis 2.0 trains to begin late next year.

This significant investment builds on the $1.48 billion investment in last year’s budget to design, build and maintain 100 brand-new Next Generation trams in Victoria, improving the state’s transport network for all Victorians and supporting more than 1800 jobs at the peak of production.

The government has invested more than $7.5 billion in Victoria’s rolling stock since 2015, building new trains, trams and buses to deliver better journeys for passengers and attracting – and retaining – the best and brightest manufacturing talent to Victoria.

“We’re designing and building Melbourne’s new train fleet right here in Victoria, delivering better journeys for Victorians in some of our fastest-growing suburbs,” acting premier James Merlino said.

“These are trains made in Victoria, for Victorians, by Victorians – supporting local jobs at a time we need them most.”

Public transport minister Ben Carroll said they had added hundreds of new services.

“We’ve added hundreds of new services to our timetable – and we’re delivering a big pipeline of new trains and trams to support our Big Build projects and support thousands of jobs,” Carroll said.

Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison said they had pledged to work with rail manufacturer Alstom.

“We said we’d work with Alstom to protect local jobs, and that’s exactly what this announcement does by delivering yet another huge pipeline of work,” Addison said.

The Australasian Railway Association welcomed the announcement.

ARA chief executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said the new commitment expanded on the state government’s significant investment in new rollingstock in recent years and would ensure a better journey for passengers.

“We are pleased to see the Victorian government further its commitment to modernising its fleet for the benefit of all rail users,” Wilkie said.

“These new trains will make passengers’ rail journey as easy, comfortable and efficient as possible.

“This is a great opportunity to ensure more trains on the network are accessible for all as older models are retired.

“We look forward to seeing the delivery of new trains that leverage new technologies to improve sustainability outcomes.”

Wilkie said the new investment would also be a welcome boost for the local manufacturing sector.

She said it was pleasing to see at least 150 of the new jobs created would be based in Ballarat.

It was important the procurement process adopted best practice principles that aligned with national and international standards.

“Victoria’s continued investment in rollingstock will help strengthen the rail supply chain and allow rail manufacturing businesses to innovate and grow,” she said.

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