As part of an ambitious upgrade to Melbourne’s iconic tram network, the Victorian government has placed an order for 20 new E-Class trams at a cost of $274 million.
It is part of an ongoing order from Dandenong train and tram manufacturer Bombardier, who is currently building 50 E-Class trams ordered by the Brumby Labor government.
The 20 new trams have been funded through the 2015-16 State Budget and are a centrepiece of the Daniel Andrews government’s Trains, Trams, Jobs 2015-2025 plan.
Under this plan, Labor has created a decade-long rolling stock strategy designed to use public transport as a way to boost the local manufacturing economy.
The Labor government hopes that this order will help secure jobs at Bombardier, which it feels were neglected under the previous Liberal government because it didn’t order a single tram in its four years in office.
The government said this put “more than 500 jobs at Bombardier and related suppliers at risk”.
But now the Labor government is confident that this new order of 20 extra E-Class trams will provide certainty to the workers and ensure there will be no changes to production levels at Bombardier for the next three years.
Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan said E-Classes are the biggest, safest and most accessible trams on the network. They are made in Melbourne, for Melbourne, and every single one of them has been ordered by a Labor government.
“We are delivering bigger, better trains and trams, and getting on with the major public transport projects our network needs, like Melbourne Metro Rail and the removal of 50 dangerous and congested level crossings,” Ms Allan said.
Yarra Trams chief executive officer, Clément Michel demand on Melbourne’s tram network is forecast to grow significantly in coming years and we need these new trams to help keep the city moving.
“As E-Class trams enter service, larger trams with greater capacity and real-time passenger information are being cascaded onto lines where patronage or demand is greatest,” Mr Michel said.
The last of the 50 original E-Classes ordered is due to enter service in May 2017, with the first of the next 20 expected on the network in June 2017.
All 70 are expected to be in service by late 2018.