The Victorian government has purchased another 18 locally-built trains for regional Victoria.
The government will purchase 18 three-carriage VLocity trains from Bombardier, which will be manufactured in Dandenong, south east Melbourne.
Victorian Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said that the new trains will include extra passenger amenities, based on customer feedback.
“We’re delivering the world-class regional trains Victorians deserve – with modern amenities to make people’s journeys around our state more reliable, accessible and enjoyable.”
The order includes standard and broad gauge variants, with the standard gauge trains running on the North East line to Albury. These will replace V/Line’s existing fleet of locomotive-hauled carriages.
Bombardier’s president, Australia and New Zealand Wendy McMillan said the extra trains, an extension of the 2018 rollingstock order, built on ties between the rollingstock manufacturer and regional Victoria.
“These 18 new award-winning VLocity trains build on the already strong bond between regional Victoria and Bombardier.”
The carriages will be built with 69 per cent local content, supporting up to 100 jobs directly.
“Not only are we building great trains for Victorians – we’re doing it right here in Dandenong, providing jobs for 100 Victorians in construction, and creating work for hundreds more across the supply chain,” said Carroll.
McMillan said this order confirmed Bombardier will be building trains in Dandenong for the foreseeable future.
“Providing job security for our workforce and our local supply chain in Dandenong is critically important for our business and we look forward to being here for many years to come.”
CEO of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Caroline Wilkie said the contract showed the value of building trains locally.
“This is an outstanding example of the jobs, innovation and opportunity contracts like these can create for communities like Dandenong,” she said.
“A nationally consistent approach would provide even greater scale for the industry and extend those benefits further.”
The new fleet recently won two prestigious design awards that recognised improvements in safety and passenger comfort. The new design includes built-in USB chargers, extra luggage racks and storage, modern catering, and wheelchair spaces with companion spaces nearby. The trains also include mobile phone signal boosters for improved coverage.
The trains are already under construction and the standard gauge variant will begin running on the North East line once the trains have completed testing and when the current upgrade of the line is complete, said Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan.
“Alongside the upgrade of the North East Line, these trains will deliver a more modern, comfortable journey for passengers travelling between Melbourne and Albury – we can’t wait for them to hit the tracks.”
Victoria has increased regional rail services by 40 per cent since 2015. 2,000 services run each week and with further work on regional lines being carried out currently, greater patronage on regional lines is expected in the future.