The report, which was compiled by Deloitte Access Economics for the Australasian Railway Association, says that around $A 30bn ($US 28.8bn) will need to be spent during the next 30 years by Australia's state governments on procuring passenger trains to meet growing demand and replace ageing fleets. But with improved planning and coordination between governments to avoid placing small orders and improve commonality in rolling stock platforms and components, it should be possible to save around $A 6bn.

Failing to address existing inefficiencies could reduce or even annihilate Australia's manufacturing base, the report warns. The report estimates that if domestic production could be maintained at 30% of the value of future orders, this would equate to $A 15.5bn in retained economic activity during the next 30 years.

The report identified three factors which are driving an urgent need for action:

  • an estimated 1900 cars will need to be replaced and an additional 1100 cars purchased during the next 10 years at an estimated cost of $A 9bn
  • public transport ridership growth will require an expansion of the passenger fleet from 4000 cars today to nearly 11,000 cars by 2043, and
  • increasing pressure to improve efficiency to increase the low cost recovery for Australian public transport which averages 25%.