Passenger Rail, Rolling stock & Rail Vehicle Design

XPT, XPLORER, Endeavour replacement deal to go to market

Expressions of interest will open soon for the design, construction and maintenance of rollingstock to replace the entire regional train fleet in New South Wales.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced on Monday the replacement of the entire regional train fleet, and the construction of a new rail maintenance facility in regional NSW.

The Regional Fleet contract will use private financing to facilitate the delivery of the new trains and maintenance facility.

The contract will replace the ageing XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains for passengers who tracvel between Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, and major regional centres.

It comes in addition to the $2.3 billion New Intercity Fleet contract handed to a consortium of UGL, Hyundai Rotem and Mitsubishi last year, to build more than 500 new carriages to operate between Sydney and the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains, and the South Coast.

Barilaro said Dubbo was already earmarked as the preferred maintenance location for the new contract.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce this entire new regional fleet will be serviced in regional NSW,” the deputy premier said.

“This will be a game-changer for the people of regional NSW, delivering more convenient timetabling and reduced congestion for regional and rural passengers.

“Importantly, the new maintenance facility will also deliver long-term skilled jobs, including apprentices and traineeships for the Orana region.

“This announcement signals the depth of our commitment to rural and regional communities by ensuring that services that deliver for country areas are supported by country jobs.”

With EoIs opening soon, a tender evaluation process will be conducted next year, ahead of the contract being awarded in early 2019.

Transport and infrastructure minister Andrew Constance said the modernisation of the entire regional fleet would significantly improve regional public transport, with 60 XPT passenger cars (plus 19 diesel locomotives) to be replaced, along with 23 XPLORER and 28 Endeavour passenger cars.

“Modernising the entire regional fleet allows the opportunity to incorporate benefits that were not available in 1982, when the first XPT rolled onto our tracks,” Constance said.

“When the NSW Government promised to deliver new trains to replace the ageing XPT fleet, we also committed to looking at the feasibility of replacing Endeavour and XPLORER trains. The result of those considerations has been a decision to replace all three sets, in favour of more modern rolling stock.”


Privatisation by stealth?

NSW Greens MP and transport spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi criticised the announcement, saying the privately-funded project was essentially a move to privatise the regional service.

“Before the 2015 election they promised new regional trains and now two years later they are saying they might be on track for 2020,” Faruqi said.

“Regional NSW desperately needs trains after forty years of bipartisan neglect. The Government has repeatedly promised it would replace the ageing XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains and now it is offloading that responsibility to the private sector.”

With a Budget surplus over $4 billion, Faruqi says there is no reason to look to the private sector to fund the new trains.

“We have no idea what this deal could mean for regional communities, how much it will cost the taxpayer in giving profits to the private sector and how this will affect ticket prices,” she said.

“The job of the Government is to provide services, so they should just get on and build them.

“This could be the beginning of more privatisation by stealth. We know as soon as the private sector gets involved in public transport, profit is the main motive, often at the expense of routes and services.”

1 Comment

  1. I supplied the battery chargers for the Xplorer, Endeavour and Hunter cars as well as the Vlocity cars in Victoria. The XPT used a power supply to charge the batteries so change out has had to be 2 years instead of 8 years.