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Downer locked in for train manufacturing

downer manufacturing

The $7.1 billion Queensland Train Manufacturing Program is now in motion, with a $4.6 billion contract officially signed for Downer Group to design and manufacture these trains.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made a commitment to Queenslanders that rail manufacturing jobs would be returned to Maryborough, with this investment set to support 800 construction and manufacturing jobs.

Downer is now tasked with the manufacture 65 passenger trains at a state-owned purpose-built facility at Torbanlea.

Negotiations have been underway since Downer was announced as the preferred supplier for the program earlier this year.

The new trains will be more accessible for people with a disability, with the addition of Train Boarding Bridges and Electronic Levelling Controls to address the gaps between platforms and trains, as well as phone charging capabilities.

Construction is expected to start by the end of the year on both the manufacturing facility in Torbanlea and a new rail stabling and maintenance facility at Ormeau on the Gold Coast.

Train manufacturing is key to Queensland’s Big Build, a record $89 billion dollar investment into infrastructure by the State Government over the next four years.

Queensland’s Big Build will support 58,000 jobs over the next 24 months as part of the state’s biggest infrastructure spend on record.

Transport minister Mark Bailey said with the contract signed and sealed, Downer Group would begin recruiting for the construction and manufacturing jobs that this project would bring.

“Downer Group has committed to making jobs and training for Queenslanders its priority,” he said.

Assistant train manufacturing minister  Bruce Saunders said the project wasn’t just about building trains – “it’s an investment in the decades of skill we have here in Maryborough and in the generations of train builders to come”.

“Early works are already underway in Torbanlea and in coming weeks they’ll start setting up site compounds, which will get the ball rolling for major construction to begin later this year,” he said.

“The first trains will complete manufacturing and commence testing in late 2026, with all 65 trains expected to be in service by 2032.

“These 65 new trains will support South East Queensland’s population boom, as well as Cross River Rail and the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union state secretary Rohan Webb said for years, the AMWU had proudly campaigned alongside its Downer EDI members and the Maryborough community to bring rail manufacturing “back home”.

“The billions of dollars in investment by the State Government will secure the future of hundreds of workers in Maryborough,” he said.

“AMWU members at Downer EDI in Maryborough are skilled, respected, and acknowledged as some of the best train manufacturers in Australia. And now they’re set to lead the way as we rebuild manufacturing capacity in Australia.”

The Queensland made Train Manufacturing Program includes:

  • construction of 65 six-car passenger trains
  • construction of a purpose-built manufacturing facility in the Maryborough region for major manufacturing/assembly works for the new fleet
  • construction of a new rail facility (for train maintenance and stabling) in Ormeau
  • the ongoing operation and maintenance of the fleet and rail facility.


Concept art for the new trains.