Australia Victoria’s Government has exercised a A$274m ($197m) option with Bombardier for 20 additional E-Class (Flexity Swift) trams.
The new low-floor light rail vehicles (LRVs) order for the Melbourne tram network is expected to secure hundreds of local jobs as they will be manufactured at Bombardier’s Dandenong facility in the state.
Victoria public transport minister Jacinta Allan said: "The 20 new E-Class trams will provide certainty for manufacturers, secure 500 local jobs and boost Melbourne’s iconic tram network, to carry more people every single day."
"E-Classes are the biggest, safest and most accessible trams on the network. They are made in Melbourne, for Melbourne, and every single one of them has been ordered by a Labour government."
Bombardier secured an order for 50 Flexity Swift trams from Victoria’s department of transport in September 2010. It included options for up to 100 additional units.
The 2010 contract also included a mock-up, supply of maintenance equipment and maintenance of the trams until 2017.
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The 33m-long, three-section bidirectional LRVs are capable of carrying up to 210 passengers.
The final vehicles from the initial batch are scheduled to enter service in May 2017 and the first LRVs from the second batch will be delivered the following month.
The company noted that all the 70 vehicles will be in service by late 2018.
The A$274m ($197m) investment in 20 new E-Class trams was funded in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget and is part of Trains, Trams, Jobs 2015-2025, the government’s ten-year rolling stock strategy.
"We are delivering bigger, better trains and trams, and getting on with the major public transport projects our network needs, like Melbourne Metro Rail and the removal of 50 dangerous and congested level crossings," Allan added.
The E-Class trams are currently operated on Routes 11 and 96, and will gradually be expanded across the network as Bombardier supplies more units.
Image: The 33m-long Flexity Swift trams are capable of carrying up to 210 passengers. Photo: courtesy of Bombardier.