Dubbo has been identified as the preferred location to construct a brand new rail maintenance facility, bringing with it a big boost for jobs, as the entire regional train fleet is replaced.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro will make the announcement about the XPT, Endeavour and Xplorer stock on Monday, with the new trains expected to be serving passengers in the early 2020s.
The maintenance centre is touted to create between 60 and 70 permanent jobs and “turbocharge” young people into apprenticeships.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Liberal, Mr Barilaro called it a “great outcome for the Orana region”.
He reported an expression of interest would soon be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the new trains and a new maintenance facility, with Dubbo identified as the government’s preferred maintenance location.
The new facility is earmarked for a site accessed off White Street in Dubbo.
It was selected as the preferred location after a comprehensive analysis of potential sites against criteria that included operational, engineering, environmental and construction considerations.
Work will start in the coming weeks towards obtaining the necessary planning approvals for the new facility and it is hoped that it will be built ahead of the new trains expected in the early 2020s.
Mr Barilaro said the process of upgrading the XPT fleet had started when Dubbo MP Troy Grant was deputy premier.
It had expanded to include replacement of the entire fleet and the government had started a journey of identifying the best regional location for servicing the trains.
“It was clear that Dubbo because of the infrastructure in place, because it’s where some of the lines terminate, it came out trumps as the right location to put in a maintenance facility,” Mr Barilaro told the Daily Liberal.
“And that means now 60, 70 jobs in Dubbo, which is a great outcome for the Orana region and these are jobs that are going to be around for 20, 25 years.”
Dubbo, which is currently serviced by an XPT service to Sydney, will play host to the deputy premier on Monday.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce this entire new regional fleet will be serviced in regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Dubbo has been identified as our preferred location for a brand new maintenance facility to support the new fleet.
“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.
“This announcement signals the depth of our commitment to rural and regional communities by ensuring that services that deliver for country areas are supported by country jobs.”
The procurement program will not just replace the XPT trains, but the Endeavour and XPLORER trains as well. The project will include the use of private financing to facilitate the delivery of the new trains and maintenance facility.
Under the Expression of Interest and subsequent tender process, the NSW Government will seek to deliver innovation, increased customer comfort, and greater energy efficiency for regional customers. A thorough tender evaluation process will be conducted next year, ahead of the contract being awarded in early 2019.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the modernisation of the entire regional fleet would significantly improve regional public transport.
“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,” Mr Constance said.
“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.”
The new trains will be operated by NSW TrainLink, the NSW Government owned regional rail and coach service provider.