Interim Chairman of the ARA, Bob Herbert AM, supported the $2 billion kick start for the ‘Rolling Stock Strategy: Trains, Trams, Jobs 2015-2025’, which lays out a ten-year plan for 100 new metropolitan trains, 100 new trams, and a significant expansion of the regional train fleet.
“This announcement supports the ARA’s priority policies that were outlined to all the political parties prior to the Victorian election late last year, which included greater orders of rolling stock for metro and regional train services; acceleration of the renewal of Melbourne’s tram fleet with E-class light rail vehicles to meet growing demand; and a mandated 50 per cent local content in all rolling stock orders – all of which are outlined in this Budget,” said Mr Herbert.
“Support from Government for our local rail manufacturing industry is imperative to its future, having watched the decimation of Australian rail manufacturing and the loss of jobs that goes with that over the past decade.
“This injection of funding in to the local rail manufacturing industry will ease ongoing pressures and enable industry to invest in new innovation and technologies as well as broaden the skill set of workers,” he said.
As outlined in the Budget, the $2 billion commitment will provide the following:
- $1.3 billion for 37 new High Capacity Metro Trains
- $274 million for 20 E-Class Trams
- $257 million for 21 VLocity Carriages
- $90 million for five New X’Trapolis Trains
- $75 million for maintenance and refurbishment to extend the life of the current Comeng train fleet
- $21 million to extend the life of the B-Class Tram fleet
Also announced and strongly supported by the ARA was the commitment of up to $2.4 billion towards the removal of 50 of Victoria’s most dangerous level crossings; up to $220 million for the Murray Basin Rail Project; and $1.5 billion for planning, design and early construction of the Melbourne Metro Rail Project.
“In all, this Budget is forward thinking and focussed on delivering a robust rolling stock strategy and rail network that will further enhance movements not only in the increasingly congested city of Melbourne but will also extend to the growing regional areas of Victoria,” continued Mr Herbert.
“I congratulate Premier Andrews, Treasurer Pallas and Minister Allan on this Budget and encourage other state governments to consider similar strategies to enhance local rail manufacturing within their own jurisdictions,” Mr Herbert concluded.