NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro last week announced the replacement of the entire regional train fleet and the construction of a new rail maintenance facility in regional NSW, with a tender evaluation process to be conducted next year and a contract to be awarded in early 2019.
Mr Barilaro said an Expression of Interest will soon be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the new trains and a new maintenance facility, with Dubbo earmarked as the preferred maintenance location.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce this entire new regional fleet will be serviced in regional NSW," Mr Barilaro 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," he said.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the modernisation of the entire regional fleet would significantly improve regional public transport, with the 60 XPT passenger cars (plus 19 diesel locomotives) to be replaced, as well as the 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," Mr 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," he said.
The new maintenance facility is earmarked for a site accessed off White Street in Dubbo. It was selected as the preferred location after a comprehensive analysis of potential sites against criteria that included operational, engineering, environmental and construction considerations.
Work will commence in the coming weeks towards obtaining the necessary planning approvals for the new facility and it is hoped that the new facility will be built ahead of the new trains expected in the early 2020s.
The project will include the use of private financing to facilitate the delivery of the new trains and maintenance facility. Under the Expression of Interest and subsequent tender process, the NSW Government will seek to deliver innovation, increased customer comfort, and greater energy efficiency for regional customers. The new trains will be operated by NSW TrainLink.