Making more progress for local rail jobs

01 October 2021

The Palaszczuk Government is supporting more local rail jobs with the awarding of a new maintenance contract for Queensland Rail’s Spirit of the Outback and Westlander tourist trains.

Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum said Redbank based Progress Rail had won the multi-million dollar contract which will see five locomotives overhauled, creating 48 jobs.

“These locomotives are what you see hauling services like the Spirit of the Outback to Longreach and the Westlander to Charleville,” Mr McCallum said.

“They have a historic connection to Queensland’s rail history, and we want to preserve that while bringing them up to a more modern standard.

“This upgrade will improve engine reliability and performance, and reduce fuel use by up to 20 per cent, plus it will decrease exhaust emissions and oil consumption.

“It means a more reliable journey for passengers, and better outcomes for the environment.

“Better yet, this will create 48 local jobs in Ipswich, forming part of the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for Queensland’s economic recovery.

“Among the 48 workers are four apprentices who have recently transitioned to qualified tradespeople, further bolstering the future of the industry.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the contract was part of a broader Palaszczuk Government strategy to create local train manufacturing and maintenance jobs.

“Creating skilled manufacturing and maintenance jobs was a key commitment we took to the last election, and awarding this contract helps us deliver that commitment,” Mr Bailey said.

“It also builds on the 283 jobs saved by the Palaszczuk Government in 2017.

“All up we’ve created a $1 billion guaranteed pipeline of train building work in Queensland.

“This $1 billion pipeline is critical to Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan and will ensure there are efficient and reliable services for our growing train network for Cross River Rail, the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and beyond.”

Progress Rail Australia Senior Vice President Patrick O’Donnell said he was grateful for the contract, which provided more support for the Redbank rail workshops.

“The locomotive overhaul project provides further stability for our workforce and retains the high-level skill base developed over the introduction of a new class of locomotive,” Mr O’Donnell said.

“Great efficiencies are realised when we upgrade an aging fleet with the latest technologies, which is akin to building new locomotives in Queensland.

“Further strengthening our relationship with Queensland Rail, we are proud to be part of this exciting project.”

Work on the overhaul is underway now, with each locomotive requiring about 12 months at the Redbank facility before work is completed.

All five locomotives will be brought into service successively between mid-2022 and late-2023.