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The state government’s Transport for NSW will ask for expressions of interest in the next eight weeks to build a new fleet of regional trains, which is expected to be a major spending project over the next year.
The government has already allocated $50 million to the scoping work to accelerate the planning and procurement of 60 new XPTs,
It also plans to investigate opportunities to replace more than 50 XPLORER and Endeavour trains that also operate on the regional network.
The government is expected to spend at least $1 billion on the projects.
News that the government will soon start the official tendering process has a number of Australian and international transport and logistics development companies on standby.
Major players bidding for the work are expected to include Bombardier, the Spanish group Alstom Ferroviaria, UGL, Mitsubishi and Downer EDI.
The fresh spending comes after the intercity fleet was replaced last year.
NSW is not short of funds to spend on major infrastructure projects over the next few years.
The RailConnect consortium was awarded the contract to build 50 double decker train carriages for $2.3 billion.
However, the decision by the then premier Mike Baird to choose the consortium was politically controversial because the trains were to be built in South Korea.
The consortium consisted of the Hyundai Rotem Company, Mitsubishi Electric Australia and UGL Rail.
The NSW government has received at least $20bn from its asset sale privatisations over the past few years.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance has already declared the trains must be assembled in NSW and maintenance hubs located in the state’s regional areas.
However, the successful company won’t be chosen until early 2019 and the trains are not expected to be sighted in the state until 2022.
Development of newer regional trains, which could cut travel times to the North Coast by up to two hours, was a key election promise in 2015 when Gladys Berejiklian was the transport minister.
The plan was pushed by Troy Grant, the former Nationals leader and now Police Minister, as part of a campaign to ensure that the Coalition did not lose seats in the bush.
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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