Travel to Perth a train wreck

Kate Fielding and Josh ZimmermanSouth Western Times
The State Government this week announced the Australind train would be replaced in 2022-23.
Camera IconThe State Government this week announced the Australind train would be replaced in 2022-23.

It is “not good enough” that South West commuters have to wait at least three more years for the replacement of the unreliable Australind train, according to Opposition Transport spokeswoman Libby Mettam.

A $30 million suite of upgrades to the Bunbury to Perth service were among Premier Mark McGowan’s key commitments to the region ahead of the 2017 election.

That included replacing the train that has serviced the route for the past three decades and is now in such severe disrepair it spent more than a fifth of the past year – 77 days – out of action.

Announcing the awarding of a contract to construct 246 new Metronet railcars this week, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti revealed the target date for six replacement rail cars was not until 2022-23.

And that date is “subject to final negotiations with the contractor”.

Harvey lawyer Joe Scurria catches the Australind Train twice a week for work and said replacement coaches, used whenever the service was out of operation, were cramped and offered none of the same amenities like refreshments.

“Given how frequently the train is being cancelled and replaced by buses at the moment, I don’t see how the existing train can last another four or five years and provide a reliable service,” he said.

Ms Mettam said an uncertain delivery date at least three years in the future was not in line with the expectations of residents following the 2017 election result.

“It is just not good enough that the people of the South West have to wait at least another three years to see the replacement of the Australind, given they rely on this service for their work and medical appointments, as well as its great tourism value,” she said.

“The Australind has been out of service for a total of 88 dayssince Labor came into government in 2017 and 77 of those days have been over the past year.

“The cost of repairs, and including a replacement bus service, has been over $3 million.”

Ms Saffioti said the previous government failed to plan for the train’s replacement during its eight and a half years in power.

“The Australind reached the end of its serviceable life in 2017 – yet Liza Harvey and her colleagues failed to act. They let down the South West community,” Ms Saffioti said.

She said the Government’s election commitment was on track and went above and beyond what was promised.

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