- Two Australind railcars returned to service after maintenance outage
- $700,000 maintenance makes up for almost a decade of neglect under former government
- Government committed to replacing the train as part of $1.6 billion Railcar Program
Bunbury's twice-daily Australind train is back in action after a significant maintenance overhaul.
The ageing railcar set, which has been in operation for more than 30 years, has experienced recurrent outages over several months.
The impact of years of neglect by the former Liberal National Government was revealed earlier this year.
After extensive fabrication and electrical works, two of the four railcars are now back in operation. The other two cars will be returned to service in the next month, which will improve the reliability of the service.
Transwa has operated a rail service to Bunbury since 1947, with the existing diesel rolling stock introduced in 1987.
The Australind train was originally planned to have an operational life of up to 30 years, however, the previous Liberal National Government failed to plan for or invest in the future of the service, leaving the South-West community with an increasingly ageing train.
Extensive maintenance has been required to keep the rolling stock operating while the McGowan Government procures a new train.
As part of the recent $700,000 maintenance program, engineers identified corrosion in a number of internal brackets and concealed panels, along with air conditioning, auxiliary engine and electrical/earthing issues.
A significant replacement program - complicated by the fact that many of the original components with which the train was built are now obsolete - has now enabled the train to be returned to service.
During the outage, Transwa passengers were still able to travel via road coaches, with additional options added in an effort to ensure overall journey times were not significantly impacted.
Perth-bound passengers had the option to alight the road coach at Kwinana Station and travel for free via an urban Transperth train into the Perth CBD, in an effort to minimise the inconvenience of traffic delays for passengers.
The next phase in the future of the Australind service is replacement, with a new railcar set to be delivered as part of the State Government's $1.6 billion Railcar Program.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"The Australind train we inherited suffered from years of neglect by the former Liberal National Government, but we are committed to ensuring that it continues to provide a reliable service for regional passengers while we await the delivery of a new train.
"The years of neglect were realised when the train was taken off line recently to deal with corrosion issues and significant maintenance works undertaken.
"We know the Australind service is a vital link between Perth and Bunbury, not only for commuters and locals but also for tourists seeking to access the beautiful South-West."
Comments attributed to Bunbury MLA Don Punch:
"The reality is the process for procuring a new train should have commenced years ago, before the train reached the end of its useful life.
"That's why we're investing in a new diesel railcar set as part of our $1.6 billion Railcar Program, which will help future-proof Bunbury's arterial train line and boost WA jobs.
"Procurement for the new railcars is well underway, with tenders now being assessed, and I look forward to hearing about the successful bidder later this year."
Minister's office - 6552 5500