AUSTRALIA: The Queensland state government has shortlisted two consortia for a PPP concession to supply a fleet of at least 75 six-car EMUs to operate Brisbane suburban services, Transport & Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson confirmed on March 5.

He added the New Generation Rolling Stock programme was Queensland’s ‘largest ever single investment in trains’, which would replace the city’s oldest EMUs dating from 1979 and provide ‘a significant increase to the fleet to meet the growing demand for rail services in south east Queensland’.

The project is being managed by the Department of Transport & Main Roads, with Projects Queensland providing commercial and project management responsibilities, and Queensland Rail providing technical input to ‘integrate the new trains with the existing network’.

After evaluating the responses to a Request for Proposals issued in 2011, Emerson said the department was ‘currently in the final bidding phase with the two committed proponents’: Bombardier Transportation Australia and the AdvanceRail consortium of Mitsubishi and CAF. Emerson anticipated that the contract would be awarded later this year, with deliveries to start towards the end of 2015.

Under a similar PPP model to that used for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit light rail scheme, the private-sector investment would be recovered through availability payments. The contract will also include maintenance of the trains for a period of around 30 years, including the construction of a purpose built depot at Wulkuraka in Ipswich. Emerson emphasised that ‘our focus is on value for money and we are looking for innovation from both bids.’