Historic celebration for Maryborough as Downer marks 150 years

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has paid tribute to the staying power of Maryborough’s Downer over its 150 year rail history, with her government today signing an agreement that commits to a $300 million pipeline of local rail manufacturing over the next decade.

In Maryborough today, Ms Palaszczuk said the agreement between Queensland Rail and Downer will see major projects like the overhaul of electric and diesel Tilt Trains as well as the IMU160 and SMU260 fleet brought to Maryborough.

More than 2,000 railcars and locomotives have been built by Downer since the business first opened in 1869 and the first order to build steam locomotives for the Queensland Government was received in 1896.

“The first locomotive for the government was trialled in January 1897 – drawing quite the crowd along Kent Street – and more than 500 more were built up until 1958,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“It’s an incredible and proud history for a local industry which has provided critical infrastructure for Queensland and, importantly, sustained thousands of local jobs over the years.

“From the Maryborough workshop, Downer EDI has designed and built our tilt trains and delivered hundreds of units for our suburban and interurban rail network.

“The next decade brings new opportunities and a new era for Downer and for Maryborough as work begins to make Queensland’s fleet of New Generation Rollingstock trains disability compliant.

“And in 2020, Downer will also welcome 14 apprentices – the largest local intake in the company’s history.

“This is an incredible investment in education, development, and the future of our skilled workforce.

“The Downer workshop is the beating heart of this city and it supports hundreds of families and locals.

“Through the decades its manufacturing excellence has kept our State on-track and powering ahead.”

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said rail building is in the city’s DNA and that the MoU would ensure vital rail manufacturing projects would be built by Queenslanders, for Queenslanders.

“This just proves Mary’s making a comeback, and why I’ll always put Maryborough first,” Mr Saunders said.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government is committed to rail manufacturing jobs in the Heritage City.

“Downer’s workshops today are home to more than 250 employees, recently welcoming its largest ever intake of apprentices,” Mr Bailey said.

“It’s the Palaszczuk Government that locked in $278 million in Queensland Rail maintenance and upgrade works for Maryborough workers and Downer since 2016.”

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