Timetable lengthens for new Australind

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Premier Mark McGowan provides details on Metronet in 2017.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan provides details on Metronet in 2017. Credit: The West Australian

It will be another three to four years before the dilapidated Australind train is replaced.

Following months of break downs and disruptions on the Bunbury to Perth train service, the State Government at the weekend announced six new diesel rail cars for the Australind as part of its $1.6 billion train construction project.

It comes after the service was off the tracks again on Thursday night and Friday when commuters were forced onto replacement buses.

Subject to final negotiations with international contractor Alstom, the target delivery date for the new Australind train carriages is 2022-23.

“Alstom is the preferred proponent to deliver the six new diesel Australind rail cars, an important train service for residents in the South West,” Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said yesterday.

“The Australind service has been neglected for too long, but will finally get the attention it deserves.”

Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti. Credit: Ian Munro / The West Australian

Premier Mark McGowan last month revealed it was planned to build the train locally which “takes a bit more time than we would have liked”.

Part of the Government’s deal will see a new 50 per cent local content target with Mr McGowan announcing plans for a new manufacturing and assembly plant at Bellevue near Midland.

Construction of the plant, expected to house more than 200 workers, is due to start next year with the first stage completed in 2021.

The first new trains expected to come out of the plant will start running on the Mandurah and Joondalup lines from 2022.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said the train was one of the key issues residents in Bunbury always raised with him.

“Under the previous Liberal Government the Australind and the people of Bunbury were forgotten,” Mr Punch said.

“Now we have a plan to replace the aged rail cars and bring rail car manufacturing back to Western Australia.

“I am looking forward to working with the Transport Minister and the Public Transport Authority to ensure local South West businesses and workers are given the opportunity to be a part of this important project.”

The Government is also offering up to $20,000 in funding to help local businesses interested in working on Metronet projects.

Ms Saffioti announced the plans in North Dandalup yesterday when $1.28 million upgrades at the town’s and Cookernup’s train stations were also revealed.

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