08/06/2021 - 11:45

State opens new Bellevue Railcar Facility

08/06/2021 - 11:45

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The state government has opened the new Bellevue Metronet Railcar Facility, making good on its 2017 election commitment to bring railcar manufacturing back to WA.

State opens new Bellevue Railcar Facility
Mark McGowan said the state-of-the-art facility would provide significant training opportunities for young apprentices and expand the state’s manufacturing capabilities. Photo: WA Government

The state government has opened the new $46 million Bellevue Metronet Railcar Facility, making good on its 2017 election commitment to bring railcar manufacturing back to Western Australia.

The new facility is designed to underpin the state government’s Metronet expansion and service new rail lines, with more than 250 new railcars expected to be built in the next eight years. Among these will be six railcars to replace the existing 30-year-old cars used to service the Australind.

More than 200 long-term jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs are expected to be created at the Midland facility, almost three decades after the Midland Railway Workshops were closed.

Since then, it is understood WA had been purchasing the railcars from Victoria and Queensland.

During a press conference yesterday, the facility was officially handed over to global manufacturer Alstom, the recipient of the state government’s $1.25 billion railcar contract.

Premier Mark McGowan said the state-of-the-art facility would provide significant training opportunities for young apprentices and expand the state’s manufacturing capabilities, while providing a cheaper alternative to ordering the railcars from interstate.

“We’ve been able to secure this at a cheaper cost than had we had to secure the railcars from interstate,” he said.

“Young people will be able to come here, get an apprenticeship and undertake a great trade with skills that are transferable to other industries.

“This milestone marks the completion of the first of my government’s nine current Metronet projects, which are continuing to create thousands of local jobs in WA.” 

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the opening of the facility was a major milestone and part of a much bigger project to identify new opportunities for manufacturing throughout the supply chain, with plans to work with major rail operators into the future.

“This has been a very difficult and challenging task to achieve, but we’ve been negotiating with suppliers throughout Western Australia to make sure that we could achieve that local component,” she said.

“When you delve down into the supply chain, you create opportunities.

“Previously, our bus seats were being made in other states.

“Now, not only are we able to make the seats for our railcars here in WA, we’re actually going to make the seats for our buses in WA, too.

“So there are opportunities that you can identify along the entire process.

“It’s something we want to continue to do and what this process has exposed is just how much more we can do here in WA.

“Some of our railcar maintenance was being done overseas and we’re bringing all of that back to WA, too.

“The movement of freight throughout WA is massive and we think there are more opportunities to capture more work locally and this gives us a window into what’s happening in WA.

“Having this centre of excellence here in Bellevue gives us a huge opportunity to work with the big rail operators and the infrastructure builders like Arc, like CBH, like mining companies like Rio and BHP, to get more work done in WA.

“The continued focus will be how we can get more work.”

Work on the new trains will begin later this year, with the first locally made train to be on the tracks by late 2022.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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