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On the fast track: Maryborough to be centre of multi-billion dollar rail investment

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The Palaszczuk Government has confirmed Maryborough as a major manufacturing centre after promising a $7 billion investment in making and operating the state’s train infrastructure.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced 65 new trains would be built at a special facility at Torbanlea, north of the city, in a major step forward for local rail manufacture.

She said that while the government had promised before the last election to build 20 new trains at Maryborough, that number needed to be boosted to 65 trains to meet expected demand.

“Our strong health response has made Queensland the place to be. More people than ever before want to live and work in our state,” she said.

It was not immediately clear what the timetable is for the promised $7 billion investment. Most of the government’s previous $600 million commitment was only due to be spent beyond the 2024-25 financial year.

The new trains are to be used on the south-east Queensland rail network, which will receive a significant capacity boost with the opening of Cross River Rail in 2025.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the decision would help create 800 local jobs and boost training opportunities for a “generation of Queenslanders”.

The government had already shortlisted three companies – Alstom, CAF and Downer Rail – to build the 20 six-car trains previously promised and has made it clear that an additional 45 trains were an option.

Now it says it will invite them to bid for the expanded order.

The government wants to name a bid winner by the end of 2022.

It has also called for expressions of interest to build replacement carriages for the Westlander, Inlander and Spirit of the Outback long-distance service.

 

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