Transport for New South Wales (TNSW) is to replace its entire 130-vehicle train fleet.
The procurement process will be initiated ‘soon’, according to the region’s deputy premier John Barilaro, with an expression of interest (EOI) to be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the new trains.
In total, 60 XPT passenger carriages – which are based on Britain’s Intercity 125 – 19 locomotives, 23 XPLORER passenger carriages and 28 Endeavour passenger carriages will be replaced.
The new rolling stock will be operated by NSW TrainLink, the NSW government-owned regional rail operator.
TNSW will also be releasing an EOI for a new maintenance facility too, with the preferred site in the city of Dubbo.
Work will shortly begin to obtain the necessary planning approvals with the expectation it will be built ahead of the introduction of the new trains in the early 2020s.
The tender evaluation process for both will be conducted in 2018, and the contracts are expected to be awarded at the start of 2019.
Both projects will be privately financed.
The NSW government said the fleet overhaul will deliver “unprecedented levels of comfort and service for regional rail customers” and boost jobs.
Deputy premier John Barilaro said: “This will be a game-changer for the people of regional NSW, delivering more convenient timetabling and reduced congestion for regional and rural passengers.
“Importantly, the new maintenance facility will also deliver long-term skilled jobs, including apprentices and traineeships for the Orana region.”
Minister for transport and infrastructure Andrew Constance added: “Modernising the entire regional fleet allows the opportunity to incorporate benefits that were not available in 1982, when the first XPT rolled onto our tracks.
“When the NSW government promised to deliver new trains to replace the ageing XPT fleet, we also committed to looking at the feasibility of replacing Endeavour and XPLORER trains.
“The result of those considerations has been a decision to replace all three sets, in favour of more modern rolling stock.”