The trains will be delivered between 2019 and 2024 for use on NSW TrainLink services from Sydney to the South Coast, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Newcastle. The introduction of the new fleet will enable the withdrawal of V-Set trains and redeployment of the more modern Oscar EMUs on the Sydney Trains suburban network, replacing other life-expired rolling stock.

The bidders shortlisted to go through to the next stage of tendering are:

  • Alstom Transport Australia
  • Downer-CNR, comprising Downer EDI and CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles
  • Stadler Bussnang, and
  • A consortium of UGL Rail Services, Mitsubishi Electric Australia, and CSR Corporation.

The value of the order is estimated to be around $A 2.8bn ($US 2.1bn) and the NSW government expects to award the contract next year.

"I am confident the scale of this project combined with the level of participation in market sounding, industry briefings and the Expression of Interest process will translate into strong tender responses from these high quality firms," Constance says. "The new fleet will deliver unprecedented levels of comfort, convenience and reliability for our intercity customers and consultation will be a key part of the design phase."

Bidders will be asked to consider different options for seating configuration, bicycle storage and luggage racks, while the possibility of passenger Wi-Fi and first class accommodation will also be explored.