Victoria Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder
Melbourne’s Newest Train Hits The Tracks, Ahead Of Schedule
Victor P Taffa
Melbourne’s newest X’Trapolis train has joined the fleet this week, within budget and months ahead of schedule, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said today while visiting Flinders Street with Metro’s newest trainee drivers.
Mr. Mulder said that the latest arrival marks the completion of the Victorian Coalition Government’s first order of seven X’Trapolis trains, with a further eight trains also recently funded.
“The introduction of these seven new X’Trapolis trains is great news for Melbourne passengers as the new trains are more comfortable, provide a smoother ride and have proven to be very reliable. They have helped make recent timetable improvements possible.” Mr. Mulder said.
Mr. Mulder said that the benefits of the new trains extended beyond the metropolitan rail network.
“These trains, which were fitted out at Alstom in Ballarat, have the highest level of local content to date for Melbourne’s X’Trapolis trains, which secured dozens of jobs in Ballarat and will continue to utilise local maintenance skills throughout their lifespan.” Mr. Mulder said.
Mr. Mulder said that funding provided in the 2013-14 Victorian Budget would continue to add new trains to the fleet and would expand where the popular X’Trapolis trains can run.
“This year’s Victorian Budget has allocated $176.1 Million for a new order of eight more X’Trapolis trains and supporting infrastructure, which will begin arriving on the network in 2015.” Mr. Mulder said.
The contract execution process for the order of eight new trains has commenced, and is expected to be complete in coming days.
“Track, signalling, power and maintenance facility upgrades will also enable the X’Trapolis trains to run on the Frankston, Werribee and Williamstown lines, in addition to the six train lines they currently run on.”
Metro CEO Andrew Lezala welcomed the newest addition to the train fleet and said Metro had recently revamped its driver training program in order to get more drivers on the network sooner.
“At the end of last year, we restructured and phased our driver training program resulting in our drivers being able to work on the network after 38 weeks instead of the previous 73 week period.” Mr. Lezala said.
“Under the old program, drivers were not fully qualified until they had been trained on all lines and all types of trains.”
The new program allows for trainee drivers to become qualified on a smaller number of lines, and after 35 weeks working on the network they then have the opportunity to expand their knowledge on more routes and on different types of trains.
“Having new drivers and new trains allows us to run more services, and this ultimately leads to a better service across the network.” Mr. Mulder said.
Mr. Mulder said the Coalition Government was making an historic investment the state’s public transport fleet.
“The Coalition Government now has 40 new VLocity carriages on order for the regional network, 15 X’Trapolis trains for the metropolitan network, is delivering 50 new trams, and is undertaking detailed planning for future high capacity trains, building network capacity for years to come.”