According to reports, Downer Rail has sub-contracted all manufacturing duties of 24 double deck Sydney A or Waratah class trains to joint venture partner, China’s CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co, with Downer itself providing the maintenance support for a minimum of 25 years.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union criticised the award of the contract, saying the decision would send thousands of manufacturing jobs offshore at the expense of people in rural and regional Australia.
In the meantime, the contract also includes the option to add 45 more orders as well as two five-year extensions for maintenance.
Previously, CRRC Changchun had only provided the stainless steel body carriages while Downer manufactured the rest of the trains.
This follows the announcement of the awarding of a A$1.7 billion contract by the NSW government to produce trains for NSW. According to the report by West Australia, the order follows a $2 billion contract to build high-capacity metro trains in Victoria that Downer secured in September as part of a consortium including CRRC and the Plenary group.
The company has looked to build capability in other segments, particularly in light rail design and construction and utilities services, in order to offset the decline in its contract mining business.
Downer Rail has previously supplied the Waratah rail carriages, which currently make up more than half the rolling stock on Sydney’s train network.
Chief executive Grant Fenn said as late as yesterday that 90 per cent of the new design is the same as that of the Waratah carriages.