Published 12 September 2016 Evolution Rail preferred for Victoria’s next-generation trains

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The Evolution Rail consortium welcomed its appointment as preferred respondent for the High Capacity Metro Trains project.

The project includes the delivery of 65 new high capacity trains being built in Victoria over the next six years, and the construction of new maintenance facilities in Pakenham and Calder Park.

With a capacity to carry at least 1,380 passengers, including 26 allocated wheelchair spaces, the next generation designed trains are based on a proven and award winning A-Type platform, currently operating in fleets on Hong Kong’s world-acclaimed MTR rail network.

Downer CEO Grant Fenn said, “The new train sets will be purpose-built for Melbourne and will be among the world’s best in terms of design, comfort, safety and capability”.

“Evolution Rail will deliver more than 60 per cent local content through engagement with Victorian regional and metropolitan businesses across the supply chain.”

The project will directly create 1,100 full time Victorian jobs, as well as more than 140 positions for apprentices, cadets and trainees, and 70 jobs for disadvantaged workers.

Evolution Rail will offer displaced workers – such as former automotive and shipbuilding workers – preferential treatment for new jobs.

The Evolution Rail consortium comprises

- Downer Group - Delivery and maintenance lead, fleet manufacture joint venture partner, investor

- CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles - Design and technology lead, fleet manufacture joint venture partner, investor

- Plenary Group - Commercial and financial lead, asset manager, investor.

The new fleet will be built at Downer’s Newport railyard in Melbourne’s west which will receive a A$16 million upgrade.

“Downer’s investment, alongside the training and transfer of technology from the world’s largest rolling stock manufacturer in CRRC, will transform Victoria’s manufacturing industry and provide long term opportunities for Victorian businesses to become part of a global supply chain,” Mr Fenn said.

“The manufacturing and delivery program is made possible by the extraordinary engineering resources of CRRC, coupled with Downer’s local manufacturing capability in high-skill, precision engineering and assembly.”

Plenary Group Chairman John O’Rourke said, “Evolution Rail is proud to be part of the Victorian Government’s transformation of Melbourne’s train network”.

“We are optimistic about the Andrews Government’s transport infrastructure agenda and with this project set out to demonstrate the value-for-money outcomes that can be achieved from a competitive PPP (public private partnership) process.”

Evolution Rail now enters a period of exclusive negotiations with the Victorian Government to verify project details and achieve financial close.

View the Premier of Victoria's media release.

About Downer Group

ASX-listed Downer is one of Australia’s leading infrastructure services companies. It has delivered rail industry services in Victoria for more than 150 years, and currently employs more than 4,000 Victorians. In 2015 Downer procured more than A$850 million worth of goods and services from Victoria businesses, demonstrating a commitment to building local industry capacity and capability. Downer currently provides maintenance to Victoria’s existing rail passenger fleet at its Newport facility in Melbourne’s west, where the new train fleet will be built. 

About CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles

CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles is the world’s largest passenger and high speed rolling stock manufacturer. It has built trains for some of the world’s most famous rail networks, including Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Beijing, and CRRC projects in Chicago and Boston have revitalised local manufacturing industries. Through its participation in the Evolution Rail consortium CRRC will bring unrivalled capacity, experience and expertise to Victoria.

About Plenary Group

Plenary is a leading independent investor, developer and manager of public infrastructure with 39 projects worth more than A$26 billion across Australia, Canada and the US. First established in Melbourne, its Australian projects include the Sydney Metro Northwest, Gold Coast Light Rail and Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Plenary adopts a holistic approach to delivering projects that embraces finance, design, construction, complementary commercial development, asset management and operations. 

Christopher Whitefield
Communications Manager
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