First of 67 trains to be repaired arrives at Downer
IT WAS tools down for Downer EDI executives and staff as they checked out the first of the New Generation Rollingstock trains they would be repairing.
The train is one of 67 which will be modified by workers at the Maryborough manufacturer as part of a $335.7 million contract.
The trains will be fitted with larger toilets and new accessibility features for people with disabilities.
The project, which is expected to take until 2024 to complete, is predicted to create about 100 jobs locally.
Downer Rollingstocks Services CEO Michael Miller said the team was excited about the opportunity to do the modifications work.
"It gives us a massive opportunity for us to reinvigorate our team," Mr Miller said.
"We have a team of people who have long experience in building rail cars, doing complex modifications and this kind of work is what our guys are exceptional at and will do a tremendous job."
The plant will also reinvest with the building of a test facility.
"That will increasingly make us competitive for work we would expect to come as a high demand for rail and trains in Queensland," Mr Bailey said.
"We expect for the growth of Downer and for the industry as a whole and industry partners we have in the region who will help us with those trains."
Also checking out the arrival yesterday was Transport Minister Mark Bailey.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders, who is a major advocate for Downer EDI, said without this plant we wouldn't have a city.
He said all the jobs would be local.
"This is a big shot in the arm for the local economy," Mr Saunders said.
"It means future contracts and with what's is coming forward from Downer, people can invest in Maryborough.
"We have such a big skill set - not just currently but Downer has taken on a lot of apprentices this year.
"So we know there are young ones coming through who will get a trade and will get a job in this community.
"There is more QR contracts to come, we have been working closely with the minister."
The modified trains are expected to be accessible by people of different disabilities.
While the works does include the installation of larger toilets, Mr Miller said there was much more in it.
"This will be a investment in the capability of all the people who work inside the operation," Mr Miller said.
"It also gives us an opportunity to reinvigorate our workforce with youth.
"There will be challenges but I think we will do a good job."