By Anita McInnes
Brookfield Rail and the Public Transport Authority are discussing the potential future plans for a new railcar depot to be built in Midland.
A Brookfield Rail spokeswoman said the company leases about 12.5ha at the Bellevue industrial estate site from the State Government as part of its long term lease of the rail freight network to 2049.
“We utilise the site for a range of rail maintenance activities, as well as storing railcars,’’ she said.
“We’re in preliminary discussions with the Public Transport Authority regarding potential future plans for the site, and will continue to work closely with them as plans progress.”
News that Midland was being considered as a site for a railcar depot has been welcomed by the City of Swan.
Chief executive officer Mike Foley said the city was hopeful the need for a new railcar depot in Bellevue might be the catalyst for the State Government initiating an extension to the Midland line as far as Bellevue or Stratton.
“A railcar depot would bring jobs in a variety of fields, including maintenance staff, cleaners and drivers,’’ he said.
“If the line is extended through to Stratton with a station included at Bellevue, the station at Bellevue could act as the major parking location, which would mean residents accessing the line from further east would no longer need to drive into Midland to catch the train.
“This would reduce the impact on parking in Midland and may encourage more patrons on the line.”
Mr Foley said the city believed the relocation of the Midland Train Station to Cale St would be a complementary project to the proposed railcar depot.
“There could also be efficiency benefits of combining the projects.
“Relocation of the train station to Cale St would mean the station would be closer to the centre of Midland, and ideally located for access to the new Midland Health Campus.
“The existing Midland Train Station is out of date and construction of a new station at Cale St would provide a modern facility in a more accessible location.
Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said a fourth railcar depot was necessary given that Perth’s population was expected to be reach 2.7 million by 2031.
Mr Hynes said the PTA already had three railcar depots.
“The first, at Claisebrook, predominantly stores the older A-series railcars,’’ he said.
“The second is at Mandurah and the third is at Nowergup in Perth’s northern suburbs with B-series trains, identifiable by their distinctive curved nose with green livery stored at these two depots.’’
Claisebrook is able to store 44 two-car (A-series) sets, Nowergup 47 three-car (B-series) sets and Mandurah 33 three-car (B-series) sets.
He said the next generation of railcars known as the C-series will double the size of the Transperth fleet.
“Those railcars [will] need to be stowed and the PTA is considering a number of locations for possible future railcar depots – in addition to those already in use.
“One such possible site, at Bellevue, between Robinson Rd and Lloyd St, has merit because it is located in an area, which is zoned commercial and industrial, and is already in use by Brookfield Rail for similar purposes.
“It is too early to say how many railcars (if any) would be stored at the Bellevue site (if a depot were to be built there).
“This is because we are first considering whether it might be possible to reconfigure the railcar depot at Nowergup to create extra capacity there.”