Engineering firm Downer has been named the preferred supplier on the Queensland government’s plan to build 65 new passenger trains in the state.
Transport minister Mark Bailey said Downer’s proposal offered “strong value for money, leading-edge accessibility and a modern design, whilst delivering maximum benefit to the region and to our great state.
Downer was earlier shortlisted to lead the project, along with Alstom and CAF.
Bailey added that the Queensland government would now work closely with the firm on detailed design for the trains, which would have “bike racks and USB mobile phone charging stations to make travelling a breeze for commuters.”
According to premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, 800 jobs would be created at Maryborough to build the fleet at a new facility at Torbanlea, 25 kilometres from Maryborough.
The design concept for the facility “will be available later this year” says the Queensland Train Manufacturing Program’s website, with “design and inclusions of the facility… dependent on the final design of Downer as well as environmental and planning approvals.”
“Downer has a strong track record of delivering here in Australia, and around the world, so Queensland’s future fleet is in good hands,” said Palaszczuk on Monday.
“By 2032, we’ll have a Queensland-built fleet of trains that we can proudly call our own.”
In a significant reversal from the previous state Labor government’s privatisation actions, the Palaszczuk government pledged to build 20 trains ahead of the October 2020 election if it won, at an estimated cost of $700 million, then announced its expanded $7 billion Train Manufacturing Program the following year.
The budgeted amount includes 65 trains, rail infrastructure in the state’s south-east, and related maintenance.
Last year it completed its acquisition of the Rockhampton railyards — which were sold off in 2010 — from Aurizon, which shut them in 2018 due to significantly reduced use.
Picture: credit Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads