Monday, 14 August 2017
TRAIN trips to Sydney will soon be more comfortable, accessible and reliable for people across the region with the NSW Government today starting the process of replacing all passenger trains in country NSW with a new and modern fleet.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall welcomed the news, hailing it as a “red letter day” for people across rural and regional NSW.
He said that with the procurement process for new regional trains now underway, the ageing Xplorer train fleet, servicing Armidale and Moree, would “soon be leaving the station for the very last time.”
“I’m delighted that the government listened to our communities here in the North West and will replace the decades-old Xplorer fleet at the same time as the XPT and Endeavour class regional trains,” Mr marshall said.
“The new carriages will offer a vastly improved service for the thousands of travellers who travel via rail to Sydney, giving them a 21st century experience for the lengthy trip.
“This will be a tremendous boon for Northern Tablelands travellers, who have been left with an increasingly issue-prone service – struggling with delays and train breakdowns in the 24-year-old Xplorer carriages.
“In December last year, following yet another train breakdown, I called upon the NSW Government to overhaul our rail carriage fleet and I’m excited to announce that process is now underway from today.”
The government will soon issue an Expression of Interest for the design, construction and maintenance of the new fleet.
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. A thorough tender evaluation process will be conducted next year, ahead of the contract being awarded in early 2019.
The new trains will be operated by NSW TrainLink, the NSW Government owned regional rail and coach service provider.
Mr Marshall said that rail travel was an important link for regional people, with travel via rail preferable to many.
“Rail has traditionally been the access route for regional NSW – whether it’s to do business, see loved ones or attend medical appointments,” he said.
“By updating these aging trains, regional passengers can be assured that their service will arrive on time every time – putting an end to coach transfers and cancelled plans.
“In return, this will help to boost patronage and customer satisfaction, which only helps secure further investment in our valuable rail network.”
Mr Marshall said that the new trains would also be maintained in regional NSW, further boosting the regional economy.
“This entire fleet will be serviced right here in regional NSW, not in Sydney,” Mr Marshall said.
“In addition, we’re aiming for 100 per cent of all train completion works to occur in regional NSW. Further providing local jobs and helping the country economy.
“By doing as much work as possible here in regional NSW – we’re making sure that the new trains are for country people, by country people.”