The new Regional Rail Maintenance Facility at Dubbo is one step closer to reality, with the first crews arriving to start early work at the site.

NSW Nationals Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said the project will create about 200 jobs during peak construction and about 50 ongoing jobs when it opens, developing the skills of local businesses and people.

“Work is underway to prepare the site for major construction later this year, including clearance work, erosion and sediment control, drainage and flood control work,” Mr Saunders said.

“The project will also see the straightening and repositioning of the Main Western Line to the north of the site, with three tracks built within the main facility building for train maintenance, and three outside of it.

“The maintenance facility will function sustainably, with at least 95 per cent of its low voltage energy to be supplied from on-site solar technology. The facility will also make use of recycled water where possible.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the maintenance facility is key to the NSW Nationals in Government’s $1.26 billion investment in a modern new fleet that would transform regional rail travel.

“We are forging ahead with the vital infrastructure projects that will help us stimulate regional economies and improve transport connectivity in the bush,” Mr Toole said.

“This facility will be critical to commissioning and maintenance of the new fleet of 29 new bi-mode trains, which will progressively replace the existing XPT, XPLORER and Endeavour trains from 2023.

“Construction of the facility will create jobs and open up opportunities for local businesses and suppliers and for new traineeships and apprenticeships.”

Mr Toole said that the safety of all workers was the highest priority during the evolving Coronavirus situation, with the state government introducing new rules allowing construction sites to operate on weekends and public holidays. Currently, work at the site will continue between 7am and 6pm on weekdays, and between 8am and 1pm on Saturdays.