Replacement call on off-track train

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
The Australind train is again off the tracks this week.
Camera IconThe Australind train is again off the tracks this week. Credit: Nic Ellis / WA News

The Australind train was again off the tracks this week prompting renewed calls for a replacement train for the Bunbury to Perth service 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 train has again been pulled from the tracks for most of this week.

The Times’ last report revealed the train was again out of service just five days after the State Government announced it was back in action after 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 on to buses.

A Public Transport Authority spokeswoman confirmed the latest outage was due to a mechanical issue with the train’s wheels being lathed and the service would operate via coach buses until at least today.

“I don’t have a timeframe for the train to be back in service yet but don’t anticipate it will be a long outage,” the spokeswoman said.

A spokesman from Transport Minister Rita Saffioti’s office said a response to further questions from the Times could not be provided before print yesterday, but Ms Saffioti previously said the Government was committed to ensuring it provided a reliable service for regional passengers while waiting for delivery of a new train.

South West MLC Steve Thomas said that “commitment” was not good enough.

“That so-called commitment keeps breaking down, as tends to happen with old units,” Mr Thomas said.

“Obviously there are still problems that need fixing and ultimately only the delivery of the new train sets will provide the solution.

“Once again the cheap political theatrics have fallen flat and the delivery of the new train needs to be fast tracked.”

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said the procurement process for a new train was under way and at no stage had the project not been a priority for the Government.

“I am very aware of the frustration caused by the current disruptions to the train service but can only ask for people’s patience while a new train is procured,” Mr Punch said.

“Unfortunately, we cannot buy a new train off the shelf ... we expect the process to be complete and the tender to be awarded in the coming months.

“The mechanical and structural issues impacting on the current train are significant and I can assure the community are being addressed as quickly as possible when they arise.”

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