Deal complete for 1,500 cars for Berlin underground

Swiss-based railcar manufacturer Stadler has won the contract for 1,500 underground metro cars for the Berlin transport network, Berliner Vekehrsbetriebe (BVG).

The framework agreement, worth up to 3 billion Euros, will also include the supply of spare parts for 32 years.

The announcement, made on March 20, followed the rejection by the Berlin Court of Appeal of a review procedure initiated by an unsuccessful bidder.

The agreement includes a fixed minimum order of 606 cars. Stadler will supply 376 cars for two to four-car vehicle units across the small and large profile sections of the Berlin underground network. Another 230 cars have been ordered, but the call off order has not yet been placed. An additional 894 cars could also be ordered at a later date, however that part of the agreement is optional.

Stadler already has rail vehicles in use on the U1, U2, and U5 lines in Berlin. The new cars will be based on the Stadler-METRO vehicles with the design optimised for improved access, and faster passenger loading and unloading.

A revised design will see the information screens moved from the door to the curved intercar connection between the side wall and ceiling.

“We are delighted that BVG has decided to continue its successful cooperation with our company. We are very proud to have won one of the largest delivery contracts ever awarded in Europe and to be able to complete the order in Berlin for Berlin,” said Jure Mikolčić, CEO of Stadler in Germany.

The new cars will be built at the Stadler Berlin-Pankow site, where Stadler will invest 70 million euros. The investment will go towards a new production hall, and spaces for logistics and commissioning. Furthermore, office space and a new canteen for workers will be built.

“We have decided to bring forward our planned investments in the Stadler location in the German capital in order to create an optimal basis for the implementation of this major project,” said Mikolčić.

WA transport minister defends railcar manufacturing in Bellevue

Liza Harvey, leader of the opposition in Western Australia, has labelled railcar manufacturing as a practise from a bygone era.

In a speech to the state’s business community at the Business News Politics Breakfast on Wednesday morning, Harvey said “we don’t know the total cost to the state of the McGowan Government rail car experiment” and claimed that railcar manufacturing should not be a focus for WA.

“What we will not do is heavily subsidise industries where the State has no comparative advantage, nor bring back industries from a bygone era,” Harvey said in her speech.

Harvey said the opposition has been trying to scrutinise the decision by the McGowan Labor government to determine if this decision delivers value for money for the taxpayer of Western Australia given that this is a $1.3 billion investment.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that building railcars in WA was cheaper than other options.

“The cost of WA-made railcars is cheaper than the cost of the previous procurement of B-Series from Queensland that was ordered when she was Deputy Premier,” Saffioti said.

“The cost per railcar under the last order of B-Series trains was $4.05 million, while the cost under the new C-Series contract is around $2.97 million.”

The spokesperson from the office of Liza Harvey said Saffioti has refused on many occasions to provide any transparency regarding this contract.

“The Minister has refused to provide any breakdown regarding the various cost elements of the contract such as the cost of maintenance,” she said.

“The Minister has refused to table the contract or provide a business case.

“The Leader of the Opposition indicated that a future Liberal Government would not be subsidising uncompetitive industries however, we will not do what the current Government does and create sovereign risk by ripping up contracts,” Harvey said.

Saffioti denied Harvey’s claims including a comment that WA’s facility was going to “fit out trains from Victoria”.

“Victoria builds its own trains – as do many modern economies around the world. WA will also be building its own trains,” she said.

Saffioti said train manufacturing involves modern skills that are easily transferable to other industries.

“The Opposition Leader’s embarrassing attack on WA workers shows the Liberal Party hasn’t moved on from their fundamental opposition to rail and local jobs,” she said.

“Our vision for WA is to build a modern train manufacturing and maintenance hub, that not only builds and maintains our public transport trains, but creates further opportunities for the freight, agricultural and mining industries.”

Saffioti said these industries are major users of rail and rolling stock, and the railcar contract provides growth opportunities throughout the state.

“The question for Ms Harvey is: If Western Australia should not build our 246 C-series railcars, and six Australind railcars, then who should?”

Construction begins on Bellevue railcar manufacturing site

Work has begun on the Bellevue manufacturing site, where Western Australia’s fleet of railcars will be built, tested, and maintained.

Part of the Metronet project, the $46 million facility will be where manufacturer Alstom will construct and maintain 246 C-series railcars, as well the replacement railcars for the Australind service.

Subiaco-based company, Firm Construction, will build the assembly and maintenance facility, as well as a high-voltage testing building. The 180m long building will include a railcar assembly area, offices, workshops and storage areas, two overhead cranes lifting 25t each, and a heavy maintenance railroad with a 10t capable crane.

“Today marks the start of the return of the railcar manufacturing industry to the Midland area,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan.

Under the terms of the agreement, 50 per cent of the total $1.25 billion contract will be delivered locally. The WA government estimates that 100 jobs will result from construction of the facility, with more jobs once production and maintenance begins.

“In a year from now, local workers will be standing in this very spot assembling Western Australia’s new Metronet railcars,” said McGowan.

The effects of the contract will also be felt more widely across the workforce.

“At the North Metropolitan TAFE campus, just down the road, our specialist Metronet Trade Training Centre will ensure local apprentices and trainees learn the skills for this important work,” said McGowan.

Once complete, the first of the C-series railcars are expected to run on the Perth network in 2022. Previously, railcars were manufactured in Midland up until 1994, when the Midland Railway Workshops closed down.

Australind railcar design and action plan revealed

Designs for new Western Australian made Australind railcar have been revealed.

WA Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti visited Bunbury Station on Thursday to unveil the designs of the brand new $54 million Australind railcar sets, which will be built by Alstom.

The two new Australind trains are apart of the McGowan Government’s $1.25 billion railcar program.

The state government also announced an Australind Action Plan, promising to deliver additional public transport for South-West commuters ahead of completion of new railcars.

The existing Australind train was originally planned to have an operational life of up to 30 years, however factors such as corrosion that built up over time has been a leading cause of cancelled services.

The McGowan Government in a statement said while extensive maintenance has been undertaken to keep the rolling stock operating, “ageing and obsolescence resulting from this neglect has led to a number of delays and cancelled services”.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said, “as we transition from the old Australind to the new Australind railcars, we are committed to ensuring that the current train continues to provide a reliable service”.

“We have also introduced a raft of measures to provide more certainty for passengers as we await the delivery of the new train.”

As part of this, the McGowan Government is introducing a trial non-stop road coach service departing from Bunbury Station at 6am every weekday and returning to Bunbury in the evening, enabling passengers who need to commute the opportunity to travel on a fast-tracked, non-stop luxury road coach service.

The road coach will drop passengers at Mandurah Station, where they can continue their journey free of charge on the metropolitan rail system by presenting their Transwa ticket.

The McGowan Government has also introduced a credit program for Australind rail passengers so if their train journey is delayed by more than an hour due to maintenance issues or failure of rolling stock, they will be given a credit to take their next journey free of charge.

The new Australind trains will be a three-car set, and will have a modernised interior, with USB connection points, Wi-Fi, an improved kiosk, upright storage for 16 bicycles, and three toilets.

The railcar sets, being built by Western Australian workers in Bellevue, are expected to be delivered in 2022-23.

Midland’s 51-year-old station will be replaced with a new 12,000sqm facility

A new METRONET train station will be built in Perth’s Eastern suburbs.

The McGowan Government has confirmed the relocation of Midland’s new train station will be between Helena and Cale streets.

The current 51-year-old station will be replaced with a new 12,000sqm railcar manufacturing and assembly facility.

The next stage of the project will focus on station layout and design in preparation for procurement and construction.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti highlighted that the project will integrate transport modes and infrastructure.

“METRONET is not just about creating new rail lines, it’s also about reinvigorating existing stations and infrastructure to provide the community with well-designed places that support walking, cycling and public transport.”

The facility will feature three platforms, a new bus interchange, car park, bicycle facilities and a new shared path.

The Helena Street level crossing will close due to growth in freight rail operations and frequency of metro trains.

The crossing will be replaced with a new one at Cale Street and will connect through to Centennial Place.

The business case for the project has been submitted to Infrastructure Australia and the project definition plan will be completed in mid-2020.

Saffioti said the new Midland Station will make it easier for commuters, local businesses and residents to connect to public transport

“Relocating Midland Station has been high on the wish list of eastern suburbs locals for many years and it is now another step closer to becoming a reality,” Saffioti said.

The new station will be closer to the centre of Midland, Midland Health Campus, and the Workshops precinct.

Midland MLA Michelle Roberts said a new Midland train station has been needed for a long time.

“State of the art facilities, combined with a more central location will help boost train patronage and visitors to local businesses,” Roberts said.

Construction will start on the new manufacturing facility in Bellevue in the first half of this year.

Planning will continue for a future rail extension to Bellevue, which would be delivered in the next stage of the McGowan Government’s METRONET transformation of Perth’s rail network.