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Funding puts wheels in motion for local train manufacturing

The iconic NSW made Tangara trains are set to receive critical upgrades as the NSW Government forges ahead with a Future Fleet Program to return domestic manufacturing to NSW and build the next generation of Tangaras right here.

A local domestic manufacturing industry is essential both for the future of jobs in NSW and the state’s ability to deliver safe reliable public transport it needs to grow.

The 2024-25 Budget will invest $447 million to extend the life of the current fleet, keeping them on the tracks for approximately 12 more years, ensuring passengers have safe and reliable services until the new fleet is constructed and running.

NSW Premier Chris Minns explained the importance of this work.

“NSW workers are great at building trains and under this government we will build trains here again. It’s going to take time, but we’re determined to do it,” he said.

“We’ve had a decade of missed opportunities and thousands of jobs offshored, while we purchased trains, trams and ferries filled with defects, faults and failures.

“This is a modest investment now that will eventually unlock a huge boost to NSW jobs and industry well into the future.”

The state’s 55 Tangaras make up a quarter of the Sydney Trains fleet. As they age, they will continue to face major reliability issues, as they are the highest contributor to maintenance faults on the rail network.

Without life extension works, an estimated five Tangaras per year are at risk of breaking down and being pulled from service, greatly impacting commuters.

Work being undertaken will see technology upgrades, including of the Train Management System, safety and disability compliance, as well as modernising on-board information systems.

Minister for Transport Jo Haylen said millions of people use the Sydney Trains network every day and they deserve safe, reliable and accessible services.

“Building a new train fleet here won’t happen overnight. This funding is the first phase of kickstarting our local supply chain, production capabilities and workforce,” he said.

“That’s why the Tangara life extension work is vital – so we have a healthy fleet until the new locally-built trains are ready.”

The project is set to begin early next year, and Sydney Trains will work to ensure there is minimal impact to passenger services.

Upgrading the Tangaras is critical to ensure the government has the time to rebuild this industry from scratch and create a long-term pipeline of manufacturing work.

We can’t rebuild an entire sector overnight – but we have to start somewhere. It’s taken Victoria 7 years, but they have now supported 40,000 local jobs since 2014 as a direct result of their local procurement policies.

The 2024–25 Budget also sets aside a further $17.5 million for Future Fleet Program, the first step to reviving the state’s domestic train manufacturing industry that will build the next generation of Tangaras right here in NSW.

The funding will help develop a Strategic Business Case to build the new Tangara fleet.

This is all part of the Minns Labor Government’s plan to build better communities for NSW. To ensure we’re creating and building on well-connected, well-serviced neighbourhoods.