Saturday, 11 February 2023

NSW and the CAF train debacle

 Yesterday I posted the following on Mastodon

following a report in the SMH that the NSW Government an CAF, the builder of the new trains, are in dispute about the cost of modifications requested and the time it will take to add them to the new trains.

Asking for modifications appears to have negated the supposed cost advantage of buying a standard off the self design.

Predictably, the NSW opposition (there's an election coming) has got in on the act and is promising minor updates to the aging XPT fleet to keep them fit for purpose until the delayed CAF built trains appear.

I've done my share of public service procurements, and if you are doing something to contain costs you have to stick to what you asked for. What you don't do is ask for post contract award changes - you went out to tender for one thing and effectively end up buying another without the review process that should form part of the tender.

Anyway, NSW is clearly not getting new trains from January 2023 onwards and with the state election looming one can see the whole thing getting lost in the tumbledrier of NSW politics.

Now I am most certainly not an expert but one idea for a  stopgap which occurs is this:

NSW uses standard 1435mm gauge track, as does most of Europe.

Many European railways systems have been investing in new rolling stock suggesting that there must be a surplus of older equipment in Europe. Yes details such as loading gauge (height of the train) and how high off the platform the step into the train is would need to be checked, but it may be possible to acquire suitable second hand units, and refurbish them for use in Australia as an interim solution while the CAF contract issues are resolved.

As I say I am not an expert but it's interesting that no one has raised this as a possible solution ...

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