NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance has announced a shortlist to tender for the supply and maintenance of a new intercity train fleet for NSW. They may include first class (’premium’) carriages for the first time.
In NSW the term ‘Intercity’ train is used to describe trains travelling from Sydney to the South Coast, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Hunter. They are integrated with the suburban fleet and carry suburban passengers within the Sydney metropolitan area before continuing to their destination. Trains that travel further afield are the 40 year old XPT (eXpress Passenger Trains), which the government has also said it will replace soon.
In 2014 the NSW Government called for Expressions of Interest to deliver and maintain the next generation intercity trains. Premier Mike Baird said then that the program would cost around $2.8 billion.
Four groups have now been invited to tender:
- Alstom Transport Australia
- A consortium of Downer EDI Rail and CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles
- Stadler Bussnang
- A consortium of UGL Rail Services, Mitsubishi Electric Australia and CSR Corporation.
“We’ve been working with interested organisations over the last few months to better understand what they have to offer,” said Mr Constance.
“We first met with prospective train manufacturers at an industry briefing in May last year, where we saw a lot of enthusiasm from experienced organisations, both from Australia and overseas, to be involved in this significant project.”
The contract includes the supply and maintenance of approximately 520 new carriages configured specifically for the NSW rail network, and offering longer-distance train customers improved comfort and reliability. The main distinguishing feature between the existing intercity trains and the suburban fleet is the provision of on-board toilets. The present ‘Oscar’ intercity fleet will be reallocated to Sydney suburban services.
Mr Constance said that as part of their tendering process the government will ask the four consortia to consider different options for seating configurations, bike storage, luggage racks and the possibility of Wi Fi and a premium carriage for customers.
The contract also includes maintenance of the new fleet and fit out and operation of a maintenance facility.
“Each of these consortia brings significant experience working on similar scale projects, either here in Australia or elsewhere in the world,” Mr Constance said. “The new fleet will deliver unprecedented levels of comfort, convenience and reliability for our intercity customers and consultation will be a key part of the design phase to make sure we understand what’s important to our customers.
“I am confident the scale of this project combined with the level of participation in market sounding, industry briefings and the Expression of Interest process will translate into strong tender responses from these high quality firms.”
A government announcement said the contract is expected to be awarded in 2016, with the new fleet coming into service from 2019 through to 2024.