New regional train fleet on track
NEW trains and a maintenance facility are set to be a reality for regional transport by 2020, according to a State Government announcement made yesterday.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the fleet replacement program would not only establish a better service but also boost regional jobs.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce this entire new regional fleet will be serviced in regional New South Wales," Mr Barilaro said.
"This will be a game-changer for the people of regional NSW, delivering more convenient timetabling and reduced congestion for regional and rural passengers."
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.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the modernisation of the entire regional fleet would significantly improve regional public transport.
Not only will 60 XPT passenger cars and 19 diesel locomotives be replaced, but so too will 23 XPLORER and 28 Endeavour passenger cars.
"Modernising the entire regional fleet allows the opportunity to incorporate benefits that were not available in 1982, when the first XPT rolled on to our tracks," Mr Constance said.
However, Lismore MP Thomas George said he was still waiting for consultation on what the new regional train fleet would mean for the Northern Rivers.
"We haven't had it confirmed with us yet what it's going to look like for that Brisbane to Sydney service," Mr George said.
"The new train announcement is great, but unless we improve the timetable people are not going to use the train."
Mr George said his priority for regional transport was to improve timetabling as the current service was not as accessible as it could be.
"At the moment, the biggest criticism we receive about CountryLink services is the time you have to board the train to get to Brisbane," he said.
"The National Party members representing those areas have been working with CountryLink and the rail service to try to achieve better timetables to encourage more people to use it."
Transport for NSW spokesman addressed these concerns and said this new upgrade will introduce improvements to all timetables and services as necessary.
"The investment in new trains comes as the NSW Government develops a 20-year plan to improve regional passenger rail services and enhance connections to and between regional centres," he said.
It is still yet to be determined where the new fleet will be built, however Transport for NSW said the contract would aim for up to 100% train completion works in NSW.