November 22, 2016

Melbourne suburban train PPP reaches contractual close

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VICTORIA state minister for public transport Mrs Jacinta Allan announced on November 22 that the Evolution Rail consortium, which comprises Downer Rail, CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles and Plenary Group, has reached contractual close on Melbourne’s $A 2bn ($US 1.5bn) High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) public-private partnership (PPP).

Evolution Rail will build 65 EMUs for use on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines in Melbourne and maintain the fleet for 30 years at purpose-built depots in Pakenham East and Calder Park.

The trains will be assembled at Downer’s facility in Newport, Victoria, which will undergo a $A 16m upgrade. CRRC will also establish a new regional headquarters in Melbourne.

The first of the new trains, which will have 20% more capacity than existing EMUs, will be delivered for testing by November 2018, and will enter service on the Cranbourne-Pakenham Line from 2019, with all 65 trains available by 2026 when Melbourne’s metro tunnel opens.

The project is being privately financed and Evolution Rail’s debt partners include Westpac, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, HSBC, ISBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, and UOB.

Equity financing will come from Plenary (30.1%), Downer (10%), CRRC (10%), and funds managed and advised by Partners Group (49.9%).

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