First troubled NGR trains to arrive at M'boro today
THE first of the botched New Generation Rollingstock trains is expected to arrive in the Heritage City for repairs at Maryborough's Downer EDI factory.
It signals the start of works that could lead Maryborough, once considered a powerhouse of rail manufacturing, into a new industrial age.
The Chronicle understands one of the trains is expected to be transported to the factory for repairs today.
Downer was handed the $335.7-million repair bill to fix the trains in December last year following the outcome of the Forde NGR inquiry into the trains' troubled history.
The works will involve installing extra toilets on the 75 trains, increasing the size of the toilet modules and adding improvements for commuters with disabilities.
The project has been plagued with problems since the first tender for the rail contract was issued under the former Bligh government in 2010.
In 2014, then-treasurer Tim Nicholls and transport minister announced the trains would be built for half price by Bombardier in Mumbai.
Upon returning to Australia, mechanical problems including brake issues, disability access and air-conditioning problems, were detected.
The trains were also deemed to be non-compliant with disability regulations.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pledged $150million for the repairs and said during the 2017 State election that the trains would be fixed in Maryborough.
But the current project blow-out is more than double what was initially estimated.
The repairs are anticipated to support local jobs until the refurbishments are completed by 2024.