The Western Australian government will ensure more rollingstock maintenance and manufacturing happens in WA, with a $40 million investment and a new focus on building iron ore cars in the state.
$40m will go towards the maintenance of Western Australia’s new Australind fleet with the construction of an expanded Metronet Railcar Manufacturing and Assembly facility in Bellevue.
WA Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti announced that the Bellevue site will be grow to include the maintenance of the new diesel multiple units (DMUs), manufactured by Alstom, which will replace the current Australind fleet.
The Bellevue facility will also service the Prospector and AvonLink railcars, WA’s infrastructure diagnostic vehicle, and track maintenance and rail shunting locomotives.
WA had previously brought railcar manufacturing back to the state with the announcement that 246 C-series railcars will be built with 50 per cent local content, said McGowan.
“One of my Government’s key election commitments was to return railcar manufacturing back to the Midland area,” he said.
“We’re delivering on this and now we’re doing what we can to ensure we’re removing interruptions in supply chains and allowing local businesses to take advantage of the great manufacturing opportunities in our State.”
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the scale of the project will provide opportunities for local workers and suppliers.
“Around 250 railcars will be produced at Bellevue over the next decade, while it will also serve as a permanent maintenance facility for the expanded METRONET fleet,” she said.
“This new $40 million diesel maintenance facility will be a new key element to the services provided at Bellevue and will provide local job and training opportunities for local Western Australians.”
In a joint statement, McGowan and Saffioti said that an “action group” will be created to investigate the viability of manufacturing and maintaining iron ore railcar wagons that service the iron ore rail network in the Pilbara. This manufacturing could occur in the Pilbara or other parts of WA. Currently, manufacture of iron ore wagons often happens in China.
The study will look at how initiatives can support the steel fabrication industry in WA, and maintenance opportunities for new and existing ore wagons.
A contract for the construction of the diesel maintenance facility will be awarded next year.
Construction of the main manufacturing site is underway and is expected to be completed later in 2020. Local manufacturers are now able to register to supply components to the railcars.