New $2.8bn train fleet gets go-ahead

File picture.

File picture.

The state government has called for expressions of interest for its new $2.8 billion intercity train fleet which will provide South Coast commuters with "unprecedented levels of comfort, convenience and reliability".

The state-of-the-art fleet will service customers travelling longer distances from the South Coast as well as the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Newcastle.

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian has announced expressions of interest are now open for train manufacturers from Australia and overseas.

She said the new fleet would include about 65 trains, totalling 520 carriages, and would be configured specifically for intercity customers.

The "next generation" trains will be rolled out progressively from 2019 to 2024.

"The NSW government is now seeking expressions of interest from established train manufacturers to supply and maintain this new intercity fleet," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We first met with prospective manufacturers in May at an industry briefing and it was clear there is a lot of enthusiasm among manufacturers from Australia and overseas to be involved in this significant project.

"... We want the new fleet to offer unprecedented levels of comfort, convenience and reliability for our intercity customers, while ensuring value for money for the NSW taxpayer.

"Buying proven technology from an established manufacturer ensures customers will be enjoying a more comfortable ride sooner than if brand new trains were commissioned from scratch."

Once the new trains enter service, the V-Set intercity trains will be retired and the Oscar trains that travel to the South Coast, Central Coast and Newcastle will be redeployed to Sydney Trains' suburban network - making every train in service airconditioned.

"At the moment, South Coast customers catch Oscar trains which we know were not built for long-distance journeys," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Our intercity customers have different needs to suburban customers taking shorter trips, and that's why for the first time we have a rail operator NSW TrainLink in place to look after regional services.

Ms Berejiklian said the new fleet was part of the NSW government's longer-term commitment to improve services for customers on the South Coast.

"We will be looking at possible features such as luggage compartments and premium carriages."

Community members from each region would be asked for input prior to the final designs being signed off, she said.

"An important part of this new fleet will be making sure we listen to what longer-distance customers want and factor that into the final train configuration," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We will be looking to our customers to play a role in identifying what onboard features they value."

Prospective suppliers are being asked to configure and supply the new fleet; fit out and maintain a maintenance facility and maintain the new fleet.

Expressions of interest will close on September 15 and requests for tender are expected later in the year.

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