Just so we’re clear here about how many trains we are getting…
Under Labor, in May 2007, initially 10 trains were funded.
As political pressure over crowded trains increased, in October 2007, this was expanded by 8, making 18.
In May 2009 this was expanded further by 20, making 38.
All of these 38 are X’trapolis trains; because they were wanted them in a hurry, so they didn’t want to go through the extra effort of sorting out another design. They also didn’t want more Siemens trains, given the brake/adhesion problems those have had.
X’Trapolis trains can only run on some lines. They displace Comengs which move onto the lines which actually get the extra services.
The Baillieu government came to power in November 2010, promising 40 trains (on top of the 38 already ordered by Labor) in their first two terms:
Under the plan, the Coalition will expand Melbourne’s metropolitan train fleet by around 20 per cent by buying another 40 suburban trains during its first and second terms.
In May 2011 they funded the first 7 of these, which have been added to the existing order, making it 45.
At present, about 23 of those 45 have been delivered. Terry Mulder said the other week on radio that all of these would be additions to the fleet, eg no older trains are going to be replaced by any of these.
These are extra trains to increase the number of services.
So, to meet their 2010 election commitment, they have to fund another 33 trains during their first and second terms, which they’ve flagged will be a new, higher-capacity, more modern design of train.
Features of new trains bought by a Coalition Government will include:
- a top speed of at least 115 km/h;
- advanced modern design incorporating effective air-conditioning and heating;
- a minimum of three automatically opening and closing doors on each side per carriage to minimise the time taken at station stops;
- improved suspension to boost passenger comfort;
- complete advanced closed circuit television systems in every carriage;
- direct video links between each carriage and the train driver; and
- integrated wireless technology to improve the ability of passengers to use mobile devices and access Wi-Fi networks during their trip, with the potential to tap into high-speed broadband.
Previous rumblings within the Department of Transport have also talked about 4 doors per side, and a continuous passenger area along the carriages, to fit more people aboard. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.