NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced the NSW Government will order a brand new $2.8 billion next-generation fleet of intercity trains, giving long-distance customers a more comfortable ride and for the first time making all state trains air-conditioned.
Around 65 new state-of-the-art intercity trains, including about 520 brand new carriages, will carry passengers to the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains, and the Illawarra.
“This is a major investment in a brand new train fleet for NSW and shows how hard we are working to improve services for the tens of thousands of customers commuting daily between Sydney and the South Coast, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Hunter,” Mr Baird said.
Mr Baird said Sydney customers will also benefit from this significant investment, as the new trains will stop at many busy Sydney interchanges such as Central and Strathfield.
In addition, the Oscar intercity fleet – currently operating to outer metropolitan areas – will be reallocated to Sydney suburban services, meaning every train across the state will be air-conditioned.
“The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government rescued Labor’s botched Waratah project from the brink of collapse, and more than 70 Waratah trains are now in service,” said Mr Baird.
“We are also delivering major transport infrastructure projects like the North West Rail Link, South West Rail link, and the CBD and South East Light Rail – which will make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of commuters every day.”
The NSW Government will now work with the world’s leading train manufacturers to identify the best train for the long journeys taken by intercity customers, selecting a train already available to the market, to ensure the fleet is in service within four to five years.
Ms Berejiklian said the NSW Government will begin the process of procuring the new intercity trains this month, with industry briefings to take place in coming weeks.
“These new trains will provide unprecedented levels of comfort and convenience for customers, and we will now begin industry briefings and community engagement to achieve the best outcome from the new fleet,” she said.
“This engagement will be carried out to get feedback on more specific on-board features such as seat configuration, luggage compartments and premium carriages.”
Ms Berejiklian said the trains will be funded by the NSW Government, now that the Waratah fleet is close to completion.
“Previously, NSW has developed unique and often costly train fleets from scratch, which has taken as long as seven years from start to delivery,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We are looking at buying off-the-shelf trains with proven technology and then configuring them to meet our customers’ needs, meaning we can ensure the best value, best possible service and also have these new trains on the tracks faster.
“We expect the first train will be in passenger service by 2019 and the new fleet will be progressively rolled out through to 2024.”
Ms Berejiklian said NSW TrainLink was formed last July to provide a tailored service to regional and intercity train customers, and the new trains are an example of this new focus.
“Our customers deserve a world-class service every day. There’s still a way to go, but tremendous improvements have been made,” she said.
“We are working hard every day to provide our customers with more commuter car parking, Opal electronic ticketing, easier access to stations, cleaner and more reliable services and a high standard of customer service.”