THE Victorian Government last week announced that the Evolution Rail consortium, comprising Downer Rail, CRRC, and Plenary, has been selected as the preferred group to build Melbourne's 65 new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT).
Premier Daniel Andrews joined Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan and Industry and Employment Minister Wade Noonan to make the announcement, which follows an extensive 12-month global tender process.
All 65 of the new trains will be built in Victoria, with 60 per cent local content. The trains will be manufactured with an industry participation plan that includes 15 per cent Victorian apprentices, trainees and cadets, as well as workers from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Partnerships with Toyota, Chisholm Institute and Swinburne University will help transition automotive manufacturing workers on to the project.
To build the trains, Downer's Newport manufacturing facility will undergo a $16 million upgrade, CRRC will establish a new regional headquarters in Melbourne, and Australia's only bogie manufacturer will be established.
A new maintenance and stabling depot in Pakenham East will be built with 87 per cent local content and provide 100 new long-term ongoing jobs for the community.
The lead members of the Evolution Rail consortium, the local Downer EDI, and CRRC – the world's largest train manufacturer – have a proven track record of delivering trains both in Australia and around the world, including Sydney, Hong Kong, Beijing, Chicago and Boston.
The brand new HCMTs will be longer than existing trains – with 20 per cent more space to reduce overcrowding – and the innovative design will use the latest technology, making them safer, more reliable and more comfortable for passengers.
The first high capacity train will be delivered and in testing by November 2018, boosting capacity on the level-crossing free Cranbourne-Pakenham Line from 2019, with all 65 trains rolling out as a dedicated fleet in time for the opening of the Metro Tunnel in 2026.
Nine new six-car trains will also be ordered from Alstom to meet demand on the network prior to the roll-out of HCMTs, securing work at Alstom's Ballarat workshop until at least 2019, with 114 carriages ordered.
Bombardier in Dandenong are currently delivering Victoria's VLocity Regional Trains and Melbourne's E-Class trams, with more than $811 million invested in new VLocity and E-Class orders since 2015, and the option for further contract extensions in the future.
The Government is also developing a business case for a Next Generation Regional Train, a major diesel train contract expected to go to market by 2018 to deliver hundreds of new regional carriages for the V/Line network.
These new trains and trams are part of Victoria's 10-year Rolling Stock Strategy, with more than $3 billion already invested in a long-term order book of new and upgraded trains and trams since the start of 2015.