Melbourne: Downer has announced the start of a $16 million upgrade to its Newport facilities to support the Victorian Government’s $2.3 billion High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) Project.

“Evolution Rail, comprising of Downer, CRRC Changchun and Plenary, is proud to be partnering with the State of Victoria on the HCMT project to build state of the art, world-class trains that will drive the transformation of Melbourne’s public transport system,” Michael Miller, Chief Executive Officer, Downer Rail said.

“Downer and Evolution Rail are working with the Victorian Government to transform Melbourne’s manufacturing landscape, creating jobs for the future by maximising HCMT local investment in Victoria’s manufacturing industry.

“Downer’s $16 million investment to upgrade Newport will ensure these new trains are made right here for Victorians, by Victorians.”

The Victorian Minister for Industry and Employment, Wade Noonan, visited Newport to mark the start of the upgrade.

Evolution Rail has committed to achieving 60 percent local content for the fleet and 1,100 local jobs over its lifetime. Downer and CRRC Changchun will soon begin an Industry Capability Network sponsored industry engagement program to identify and target local Victorian suppliers to work on the project.

“We are well advanced in our workforce mobilisation planning so that we are ready to go when train manufacturing starts early in 2018,” Mr Miller said. “We are building the skilled workforce that is needed to drive the rebirth of Victoria’s rolling stock industry, investing in programs to train specialist rolling stock apprenticeships and engineers.

“Our team has been working closely with our joint-venture partner, CRRC Changchun, to make sure the Newport fit out aligns with the world’s most advanced rolling stock manufacturing processes.”

“Downer’s Newport investment sets the stage for the rejuvenation of Victoria’s 150-year-old rolling stock manufacturing industry.”