The delivery of these is going to have to pick up substantially to meet the PPP contract. Evolution are supposed to have 37 7 car units operational by August 2nd 2021, with all 65 delivered by July 2023. Somewhere I've seen it stated that the intention was delivery of 15 sets a year, which is not going to be met, at least this year. At this rate it will take 5 years to deliver all 65, meaning the last will enter service in 2025, two years late. Assembling and adding the middle three cars will then take more time. I don't have the details on contractual obligation for the intermediate cars but I assume that they would be contracted for delivery by 2025 so 10 car sets can be available when the Metro tunnel opens.
The time between assembly beginning on the first set and it going to Pakenham was about 5 months and it wasn't complete then. It would appear that the first one was sent to East Pakenham early, as a government PR stunt before the 2018 election. It obviously lacked seats and numbers; who knows what else was incomplete at the time. I wonder how many of the Downer workforce, from Newport, spent time out at Pakenham finishing it off when they should have been at Newport working on subsequent sets? The fact that it then took 6 months for the next set to be transferred implies a lot about the speed at which assembly is occurring.
Since then they've been transferred at roughly 5 week intervals with a much bigger gap between #3 and 4; i.e. 3/5, 20/6, 14/8 & 21/9. Based on this pattern #6 will head east late October, followed by #7 early December and then, probably, #8 and #9 in reasonably close succession late January. What happens after that is anyone's guess. From what I've seen, cars for #8 are at Newport and probably, by now, #9 and maybe #10. Deliveries of shells from China don't seem
to be the constraint on completion as there appeared to be up to four sets of cars waiting for assembly before #4 was transferred. It appears to me that Downer need to pick up speed at their end if they're going to meet their obligations.
The refurbished Comengs are going to be in service a lot longer than expected at this rate, even if X'trapolis mk2 are ordered and delivered in the interim.