Australia’s Victoria Government has selected three consortia for the next phase of the tender process to build Melbourne’s new fleet of 37 high-capacity metro (HCMT) trains.

The first consortium comprises Bombardier Transportation Australia, Macquarie Bank, ITOCHU and Infrared Capital Partners. The second consortium led by Eureka Rail includes Alstom, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and John Laing, and the third shortlisted Evolution Rail consists of Downer EDI, Changchun Railway Vehicles and Plenary.

The consortia have been shortlisted following a rigorous expressions of interest (EOI) process, which was announced in June for the design, construction and maintenance of a series of next-generation, high-capacity trains for Melbourne.

According to the government’s strict local content requirements, the companies should carry out the manufacturing of the rolling stock in Victoria.

"Our strong local content requirements mean they will create local jobs and boost the Victorian economy."

Each of the three shortlisted bidders will include Victorian manufacturers and the project will create local jobs and grow the local industry.

The HCMT project forms part of the government’s Trains, Trams Jobs 2015-2025 strategy, a ten-year plan for 100 new metropolitan trains, 100 new trams and a massive expansion of the regional train fleet.

Victoria minister for public transport and employment Jacinta Allan said: "Melbourne is growing and more people are choosing to catch the trains. That’s why these new bigger, better trains are critical."

"The shortlisted bidders will build the best trains for Victoria and our strong local content requirements mean they will create local jobs and boost the Victorian economy."

"The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with delivering better public transport and creating local jobs."

The project is being procured as a public-private partnership (PPP) and also includes construction of a new train maintenance depot in Pakenham.

During train manufacture and construction of the depot, around 800 jobs are expected to be created and about 200 ongoing jobs will be added in train maintenance.

The shortlisted parties will be requested to submit a formal proposal during the second quarter of next year.

The tender process is expected to be completed before the end of next year, with the first train scheduled to be delivered for testing in late 2018.

The government is spending A$1.3bn ($997m) on the new trains, which will be operated on Melbourne’s busiest Cranbourne-Pakenham line.

The new HCMTs will be capable of carrying at least 20% more passengers than the existing models.