RAIL RALLY: MP Bruce Saunders with transport minister Mark Bailey at Maryborough's Downer factory.
RAIL RALLY: MP Bruce Saunders with transport minister Mark Bailey at Maryborough's Downer factory. Blake Antrobus

EXCLUSIVE: Cross River Rail train campaign revealed

A LUCRATIVE State Government train-building contract could help secure Maryborough's status as a manufacturing powerhouse.

The Chronicle can reveal negotiations are under way to build trains for the Cross River Rail project at Downer's Maryborough factory.

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders said he had long advocated for the Heritage City to be chosen to boost the state's train fleet.

"I've been promoting Maryborough for Cross River Rail constantly since it was announced," Mr Saunders said.

"We're going to need more trains in the future because once Cross River Rail is built, more people are going to be using the trains than ever."

Negotiations with top-ranking politicians, including deputy premier Jackie Trad and Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey, continue, Mr Saunders said.

"I've been chewing deputy premier Jackie Trad's ear off incessantly about the future and the extra trains we're going to need," he said.

He said the response to his push had been "very positive."

"The Premier has always said the trains will be built in Maryborough. Mr Bailey has been up here three times to look at the trains," Mr Saunders said.

Mr Saunders, who was instrumental in securing the $330million NGR train-modification contract for the Maryborough factory, said he had discussed the Cross River Rail project with Downer leaders.

"I've had some great talks with Downer and you can't beat the trains Downer builds," he said.

While Downer representatives could not provide details of the negotiations at this stage, a spokesperson said the company was building its workforce to support future train contracts.

"Downer is committed to supporting sustainable jobs in regional Queensland through our rail manufacturing facility in Maryborough," the spokesperson said.

"With the recently announced recruitment of 12 new apprentices for 2020, we continue to reshape our workforce to support current and future contracts."

A spokesperson for Mr Bailey said no decision had been made about the need for additional trains but the government was "committed to rail manufacturing jobs in the Heritage City."

"Transport and Main Roads staff continue to plan for future network requirements as projects like the Beerburrum to Nambour rail duplication, Cross River Rail, and Kuraby to Beenleigh rail upgrade.

"This planning includes whether any additional trains will be required," the spokesperson said.

"The Palaszczuk Government will make sure that when new trains are required, they'll provide jobs for Queenslanders."