Freight train

The Western Australian Government has signed a 10-year, $1.3 billion contract with train manufacturer Alstom, to build 246 new METRONET railcars.

The contract – the biggest order of railcars in WA’s history – includes 144 railcars to replace the ageing A-Series, an additional six railcars to replace the existing Australind service, and a new manufacturing and assembly plant in Bellevue.

WA Premier, Mark McGowan, said, “METRONET is the biggest investment in public transport that the State has ever seen, and it makes sense that we maximise local jobs through policies like locally built railcars.”

Alstom will establish a base in WA at the 12,000 square metre plant near Midland, where railcar maintenance will also be carried out for the next 30 years – with at least 50 per cent of the contract value will be delivered locally.

“This METRONET contract signing marks a significant moment for our State,” Mr McGowan said.

“It marks a turning point for WA jobs and WA apprenticeships, and the return of a local railcar manufacturing industry.

“METRONET trains will be built here in Western Australia, by Western Australians.”

Since the Midland Railway Workshops were closed in 1994, new trains added to the network were predominantly built in Queensland, with only two per cent of the work completed in WA.

The WA Government says the cost per railcar under the C-Series contract, at around $2.97 million, will be cheaper than the previous B-Series trains which was $4.05 million.

Construction on the first stage of the Bellevue plant is expected to start in 2020, to be completed in 2021.

WA Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, said, “We’ve secured a quality deal for the State, by bundling multiple railcar orders into one super-contract, we have encouraged the market to make very competitive bids for the work.

“Alstom will deliver the railcars over a 10-year period and will be responsible for maintaining the fleet for the next 30 years, ensuring ongoing work and opportunities for local businesses.”

Several contracts have already been awarded to local companies, including a $850,000 contract to supply four cranes, the biggest of which will lift 25 tonnes, recently awarded to Bassendean manufacturer Eilbeck.

A $3.8 million contract to deliver lifting jacks, a bogie press and bogie turntables has been awarded to Cockburn company Vector Lifting.

The first C-series trains produced at the Bellevue plant will be ready to use on the network in 2022, while the Australind railcars are expected to be ready in 2022-23.

The six-car C-series trains will carry about 1,200 passengers, about 80 more passengers than two B-series trains, and have an operational life of 35 years. The new trains will have a combination of seating styles to enable more seats to fit on each train and make every door on the train fully accessible.

The new Australind railcars will be built to be more efficient and reliable, while maintaining high comfort standards and retaining the on-board kiosk. 

“Importantly, this project will also deliver two three-car sets to replace The Australind and provide South-West residents with the reliable rail service they deserve,” Ms Saffioti said.

Better technology including LED lighting, USB charging points and regenerative braking will also be installed to make the new trains more efficient.

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