The McGowan Government has announced a major step forward in bringing railcar manufacturing back to Western Australia, with Alstom announced as the preferred proponent to deliver 246 C-series trains and six new Australind rail cars.
Under the policy, at least 50 per cent of the railcars must be made in Western Australia, creating hundreds of new jobs in construction and maintenance.
The $1.6 billion project will deliver 246 new railcars over the next decade as well as six diesel rail cars for the Australind – the biggest order of railcars in the State’s history.
The target delivery date for the new Australind railcars is 2022-23, subject to final negotiations with the contractor.
Once the contract is finalised, Alstom will also be responsible for maintaining the fleet of rail cars for the next 30 years, creating a pipeline of work for local businesses and maximising opportunities for local workers and local content.
Funding of up to $20,000 is available through the Local Capability Fund to assist local businesses interested in working on METRONET projects in improving their capability and competitiveness in supplying goods and services.
While the design details are still being finalised, the McGowan Government is committed to keeping the same high standard of comfort on the new Australind railcars, with comfortable seats and a kiosk available for purchase of refreshments and snacks.
It’s anticipated the new railcars will also be much more efficient and, similar to the new C-Series metropolitan railcars, more aesthetically pleasing.
Work will begin next month to upgrade North Dandalup and Cookernup train stations, another key election commitment.
The $1.28 million upgrades will improve passengers travelling experience with the stations to be sheltered, accessible via ramp or stairs and with seating for three people.
Upgrades will also be made to the existing low-level platforms raising the platforms so they are fully compliant with Disability and Discrimination Act standards.
Two car bays and one ACROD bay, line marking and bollards, new kerbing and bitumen surfaces will also be installed.
The station upgrades are expected to be complete early next year.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“Alstom is the preferred proponent to deliver the six new diesel Australind rail cars, an important train service for residents in the South-West.
“The Australind service has been neglected for too long, but will finally get the attention it deserves under the McGowan Labor Government.
“We are continuing to deliver on our election commitments in the South West region with upgrades to North Dandalup and Cookernup stations getting underway next month.
“We committed to bringing rail car manufacturing back to WA and we are delivering on this important commitment.”
As stated by Bunbury MLA Don Punch:
“The Australind is one of the key issues that my constituents in Bunbury always raise with me.
“Under the previous Liberal Government the Australind and the people of Bunbury were forgotten.
“Now we have a plan to replace the aged railcars and bring rail car manufacturing back to Western Australia.
“I am looking forward to working with the Transport Minister and the Public Transport Authority to ensure local South-West businesses and workers are given the opportunity to be a part of this important project.”
As stated by Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke:
“The Australind is an important link for people living in the South-West.
“Reliable, well planned transport options benefit our tourism industry, increase education and employment options for our communities, keeping local jobs for locals.
“Upgrades to the rail cars and the train stations will make a big difference for local residents- making their journeys quicker and safer.
“I’m pleased to be a part of a Government committed to delivering on its election promises and delivering for our South-West.”
As stated by Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray:
“We understand how important the Australind is to communities in the South-West and these upgrades will ensure a strong future for the vital service.
“We committed at the last election to revitalise the neglected Australind to ensure faster and more reliable services to and from Perth. Many country people rely solely on public transport to get around and it is important we have decent services in place for everyone.
“The revitalised Australind will also provide a much improved experience for tourists travelling by train into the South-West, creating more opportunities for tourism and small business as we work to diversify local economies.”