Premier commits to WA-built train
It could take a few more years, but a new Bunbury to Perth train is coming, according to Premier Mark McGowan.
While the State Government has maintained its position a replacement train is in the procurement process following months of breakdowns, Mr McGowan revealed during his visit to Bunbury last week that the new train was expected in “coming years”.
Mr McGowan said the train was a priority for the Government, but it took time to build it locally.
“Before the election we committed to replacing the Australind, upgrading the track and stations along the route, and that is something we are continuing to do,” Mr McGowan said.
“Obviously we want to build the new train here in Western Australia. We don’t want to send it to China or to India or to somewhere else to build.
“We want to build it here and that obviously takes a bit more time than we would have liked.
“But that process is ongoing. We expect over coming years we’ll have a new Australind.
“So the work is ongoing, but clearly if you want to get a West Australian-built train we have to go through the processes of making sure that it’s done here and done properly.”
The train has been pulled from the tracks on numerous days throughout the year, prompting renewed calls for a replacement to be fast-tracked.
A little over a month after the South Western Times put the notorious train’s intermittent service in the spotlight, the service was again pulled from the tracks earlier this month.
The Times previously revealed the train was again out of service just five days after the State Government announced it was back in action following a $700,000 maintenance overhaul.
Pressure to replace the ageing train continues to mount after the service has been out of action for most of the year, forcing commuters onto buses.
Responding to questions from the media last week about if he was concerned the train had been out of service for so many days this year, Mr McGowan conceded it was more than 30 years old.
“It’s 32 years old and we did a proper assessment of it and uncovered a lot of rust, so we’ve got to make sure that it’s safe and fit-for-purpose whilst we build a new train and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
“Obviously we need to maintain that and get it fixed whilst we build a new train.
“We want to make sure it’s a good service, a safe service and in the future an outstanding service with a West Australian-built train.
“You’ll find that other States have built their trains in other parts of the world and they haven’t gone very well so we want to make sure it’s done right, done in Western Australia, using West Australian workers and not sent to some other country.”
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