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The NSW Government has begun ‘market sounding’ for the new contract to deliver locally-assembled trains for the state’s regional railway, and intends to launch a formal tender process later this year.
Expressions of Interest would be targeted for the end of 2017, and a contract could be awarded as soon as early 2019.
Transport for NSW said it met with regional businesses on Wednesday to outline the Government’s plan to ‘fast-track’ the next fleet of XPTs.
The first XPT, short for Express Passenger Train, was built by Comeng and entered into service in 1982. There are now 79 XPT cars in service, including 19 powered cars and 60 passenger carriages.
$50 million is being spent by the State Government over three years to replace the oldest members of this fleet.
Regional NSW minister John Barilaro said the project presents “a golden opportunity to stimulate local economies through the assembly and maintenance of these trains”.
“Today’s industry briefing means we are two years ahead of planning for a new rail fleet and are now looking at getting these new trains on track by the early 2020s.
“We’ll be consulting widely with industry to get their ideas and develop a plan to deliver the best possible solution for the people of NSW.”
Transport minister Andrew Constance said the fleet procurement would bring new opportunities for investment in regional NSW.
“As part of our industry engagement, we’ll also be considering opportunities to replace the XPLORER and Endeavour trains which serve key regional destinations like Armidale, the Southern Highlands, Moree, Griffith, Broken Hill, and the Hunter.”
XPTs are currently used to carry passengers between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Dubbo, travelling through regional centres like Bathurst, Orange, Taree, Coffs Harbour, Goulburn and Albury.
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