Replacement of the 35 year old regional rail fleet, starting with new XPTs, will be accelerated with an extra $50 million funding. The extra money will enable purchase of new long-distance passenger trains to kick off in 2017 — two years earlier than planned.
Each year about one million customer journeys are taken on the existing XPT fleet, which travels 3.5 million kilometres a year. Replacing 60 XPT passenger cars, the new fleet:
Deputy Premier Troy Grant said the procurement process for new XPTs will now kick off in the first half of 2017.
Mr Grant said:
“We’ve already committed to starting planning for a faster, modern, comfortable country train fleet by 2019, but we’re not going to wait. We’re getting the ball rolling now so we can get contracts signed in this term of Government and new trains on our tracks earlier.’’
“This is a real commitment to rail passengers in the bush and we expect it to also generate regional maintenance jobs.’’
Opportunities to replace more than 50 XPLORER and Endeavour trains that serve other key regional destinations (e.g. Armidale, Moree, Griffith, Broken Hill, Canberra, the Hunter and South Coast) are also being investigated.
The 2016-17 Budget initially provided $35 million over four years to continue planning for replacement of the XPT rail fleet.
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