A new train fleet will give “greater flexibility” in the timetables for services at Dubbo and across regional NSW, Deputy Premier John Barilaro says.
Dubbo is currently served by an XPT that leaves Central Station in Sydney about 7.15am, arrives at Dubbo in the early afternoon and returns to its origin, arriving about 8.45pm.
Mr Barilaro will be in Dubbo on Monday to announce the city is in the box seat to become home to a new rail maintenance facility, as well as the replacement of the entire regional train fleet.
The Nationals leader, he said part of the program would be looking at all the scheduling of regional NSW and looking to improve services.
When asked if the government’s move meant a morning XPT from Dubbo was a possibility, Mr Barilaro said the new fleet gave “the opportunity to look at new options”.
“And why wouldn’t Dubbo be looking at a new option,” he said.
“It’s a growing centre, we want to see more people on rail and now I think the opportunity will be there in the next few years.”
The first XPT rolled on to the tracks in 1982 and the government last year announced it would bring forward the replacement of the ageing fleet.
On Monday Mr Barilaro is announcing the replacement of the Endeavour and Xplorer trains as well.
“The truth at the moment is we have limited rolling stock, being the trains themselves,” he said.
“A lot of them are very old, they’re expensive to maintain.
“We spend a lot of money on them maintaining them every single year.
“And that’s why we brought forward the procurement of new trains because it gives us the ability to do that quickly.”
The upgrade would be two years ahead of schedule and they expected the new trains would be on the tracks “starting 2020”.
Mr Barilaro will also announce the construction of a brand new rail maintenance facility in regional NSW.
Dubbo has been identified as the preferred maintenance location, with a site accessed off White Street earmarked after comprehensive analysis.
An expression of interest will soon be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the new trains and a new maintenance facility, and be followed by a tender process.
Mr Barilaro said companies would have to “tender with Dubbo in mind”.
“We’re announcing the expressions of interest to those who are keen to tender for the project, to tender for the trains,” he said.
“And in doing so, we flag to the market some of the stuff we want out of it.
“One of the components is we recognise we don’t manufacture trains here in NSW, we have to accept that.
“But what we want to see is final assembly to be done in NSW, and we want to see 100 per cent of that final assembly in NSW.
“So that tells the market and the sector what we’re looking for in the tender documents.
“We also have said that part of this is that the maintenance facility will be in Dubbo.
“So therefore when they put in their tenders post the expressions of interest, they have to tender with Dubbo in mind.
“So this does set up Dubbo as the maintenance centre.”
Mr Barilaro, along with Dubbo MP Troy Grant, who was deputy premier at the time the train replacement process began, will make the announcement at Dubbo early this afternoon.
Also at the announcement will be NSW Trainlink chief operating officer Pete Allaway.