The estimated $A 2bn ($US 1.49bn) order also covers the expansion of train maintenance and stabling facilities at Pakenham. The project will be delivered as a public-private partnership and a tender process is already underway, with three consortia shortlisted for the contract:

• Bombardier – comprising Bombardier Transportation Australia, Macquarie Bank, Itochu and Infrared Capital Partners
• Eureka Rail – comprising Alstom, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, and John Laing, and
• Evolution Rail – comprising Downer EDI, Changchun Railway Vehicles, and Plenary.

The announcement brings forward the second stage of metropolitan train orders previously set out in the Victorian Rolling Stock Strategy, Trains, Trams, Jobs: 2015-2025. The trains will be built in Victoria with at least 50% local build requirement, with the first to be delivered in 2018.

The trains will initially enter service on the Melbourne - Cranbourne - Pakenham corridor, which is undergoing a $A 1bn upgrade, and will increase capacity by more than 40%.