Evolution Rail – a consortium comprising Downer Rail, China’s CRRC, and Plenary – has been announced as the preferred bidder to supply 65 ‘High Capacity Metro Trains’ (HCMT) for the state of Victoria.

It has been described by the state government as the largest train order in Victoria’s history, with all of the units due to be built in the state.

Downer’s Newport facility, which will manufacture the trains, will be at the centre of a $16 million upgrade. A new depot and stabling facility will also be built in Pakenham East.

By November 2018, the first trains will begin testing. Services will start on the Cranbourne-Pakenham Line in 2019.

Premier Daniel Andrews said: “The state’s largest single order of new trains will be built in Victoria, for Victoria.

“This brings enormous benefits to our state, creating 1,100 local jobs and cementing Victoria’s reputation as the nation’s hub for high-skilled manufacturing and a global hub for train building.”

Separately, the state has ordered a new fleet of nine six-car X’Trapolis trains from Alstom.

Alstom will manufacture the train sets locally at its factory in Ballarat. The first trains are due to be put into passenger service between mid-2018 and early 2019.

It will take the total number of X-Trapolis trains to 101. An additional $15 million is being invested in the existing fleet to convert three five-car units into four four-car sets on the Albury line which links Benalla, Wangaratta, Wodonga and Albury with Melbourne.

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