Australind train taken out of service for major repairs
- Australind train taken out of service for repairs
- New axle boxes required due to wear and tear, with COVID-19 impacting availability of replacements
- Service will be operated by Transwa road coaches and fares heavily discounted
- Six new Australind railcars due for delivery in 2023 as part of a $1.25 billion contract
The 33-year-old Australind train will be taken out of service for repairs after an issue with the railcar's axle boxes was identified.
In recent years the ageing train, which was introduced in 1987 and designed to have a 30-year working life, has been increasingly beset by mechanical problems.
While replacement axle boxes always have a long lead time, especially for a train as old as the Australind, normal supply chain arrangements have been disrupted because of COVID-19.
The train will be replaced by two accessible Transwa road coaches, one of which will run express between Bunbury and Perth with a stop at Kwinana. The other coach will service the communities along the Australind route.
The train is expected to be back in service in early 2021.
A range of initiatives will be offered to passengers to compensate for the inconvenience:
- fares will be discounted by 75 per cent for all passengers while repairs are undertaken
- frequent passengers who have travelled on the Australind three or more times between July and November 2020 will receive 10 free trips
- one daily return coach will stop at Kwinana Station to allow passengers to transfer to the Transperth rail network if they so choose
- free newspapers and refreshments for morning Bunbury-to-Perth passengers.
Six new railcars have been ordered as part of a 10-year, $1.25 billion contract announced by the McGowan Government late last year.
The new Australind railcars are expected to be delivered in 2023.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"The Australind railcars are the oldest operational trains on our rail network and were designed to have a 30-year working life.
"We have worked hard to maintain the current Australind.
"We are working hard to bring the train back as soon as possible, but in the meantime we want to do the right thing by our passengers.
"We have negotiated a deal for six new diesel railcars which will be built locally in Bellevue and delivered in 2023.
"We will run rail replacement coaches between Bunbury and Perth while the Australind is being fixed and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."
Comments attributed to Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke:
"I want my community to know that they will still have access to transport between Perth, Bunbury and our local towns.
"I know how disappointed a lot of community members will be to see the Australind out of service again and want to assure passengers that ensuring our towns remain connected is a priority for the McGowan Government."
Comments attributed to Bunbury MLA Don Punch:
"The Australind is a popular method of transport between Bunbury and Perth and I know a lot of people will be disappointed that it will be temporarily out of service but we will not compromise safety.
"We know just how valued this service is by the people of the South-West so we are running high-quality coaches twice a day, with a number of incentives to be offered to help compensate for this inconvenience."
Minister's office - 6552 5500