Alstom’s Ballarat workshops today celebrated its long and proud history in the manufacturing of rolling stock for the Victorian rail network. The site was opened in April 1917 by the main rail operator in Victoria of the time, the Victorian Railways, in response to political pressures from provincial groups for decentralisation of manufacturing from Melbourne to regional areas within the state.
With the breakup of the Victorian Railways in the 1980’s, the workshops passed to the State Transport Authority and then the Public Transport Corporation. With later privatisation, the workshops were purchased by Alstom Australia in 1999.
Since taking over the site in 1999, Alstom has received orders from the State of Victoria for a total 101 six-car X’Trapolis trains (606 carriages,) making it one of the largest fleet of trains in Australia.
“The Ballarat site is an integral part of railway manufacturing in Victoria and has become the cornerstone of Alstom’s industrial base in Australia. The site holds significant importance to our business and we are proud to have delivered Australia’s largest fleet of trains from the site.” said Mark Coxon, Managing Director for Alstom in Australia.
The fleet of Alstom X’Trapolis trains, proudly manufactured in Ballart, have proven to be the most reliable trains on the Melbourne network - enhancing the network’s capacity while also increasing the reliability of the entire system. The 145 metre trains have been designed to optimise the capacity (1430 passengers) whilst maximising passenger experience, comfort and safety.
The workshops have been a significant employer over the years, often employing generations of families that have resulted in parents and their children working side by side. The site has also seen the support and development of many apprentices into trade professionals while also supporting a significant local supplier base.
“Alstom is committed to manufacturing trains in Victoria for Victoria, ensuring the transfer of technology, supporting local jobs and developing skills. This commitment can only be met with a rolling stock workload that provides a sustainable long term operation. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Victorian Government to establish a long term plan for the site - well beyond the end of the current build in late 2018” said Mr Coxon.