Queensland Train Manufacturing Program attracts $30M additional investment

Artist's impression of Downer's six-car passenger train. Image credit: Downer Group

Queensland’s initiative to bring back train manufacturing within the state is gaining momentum with a $30 million investment from Hyundai Rotem, a partner of Downer.

This investment marks a crucial step forward in the Queensland Government’s plan to revitalise train manufacturing in Maryborough, the government said in a media statement.

The Hyundai Rotem Corporation is set to establish a dedicated local presence on the Fraser Coast, acquiring an industrial site with plans to build a factory for producing sub-components essential for train car bodies.

In particular, the company will employ roll forming, a technique involving the continuous bending of a long strip of sheet metal, typically coiled steel, to create sub-components for train car bodies.

While these components have traditionally been manufactured overseas, the Queensland Government’s commitment to revitalising train manufacturing in Maryborough is bringing this process back home, leading to the creation of an additional 20 jobs.

The Hyundai Rotem facility is an integral part of the broader Queensland Train Manufacturing Program (QTMP), complementing the existing QTMP site under construction at Torbanlea and Downer’s facility in Maryborough.

Significant progress is underway at the Torbanlea facility, transforming a former pineapple farm into Australia’s latest state-of-the-art train manufacturing facility.

This facility is slated to produce 65 six-car passenger trains for the Southeast Queensland (SEQ) train network.

The QTMP is anticipated to generate employment for 800 individuals in construction and manufacturing roles.

Downer, having secured the Design Build Maintain Contract (DBM) for the program earlier this year, has joined forces with Hyundai Rotem Corporation for the manufacturing phase.

Upon the completion of the first QTMP train in 2026, a testing phase will commence, with passenger services scheduled to begin in 2027.

All 65 trains are expected to be operational in time for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, contributing to additional services facilitated by the Cross River Rail and Logan and Gold Coast Faster Rail projects.

An ongoing co-design process with the disability sector is shaping the new QTMP trains to ensure compliance, functionality, and accessibility for all passengers.

Early infrastructure upgrades at local intersections within Torbanlea began in August 2022, paving the way for the commencement of construction on the train manufacturing facility.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey expressed appreciation for Hyundai Rotem’s increased investment in the steel roll forming facility, noting that the commitment to bringing train manufacturing to Queensland continues to attract additional investments.

“This project will train a new generation of highly-skilled Queensland workers in train manufacturing, which will have long-term benefits to our economy, transport infrastructure and manufacturing industry,” the minister noted.

Steve Kakavas, Downer’s Head of Rail and Transit Systems, detailed the construction activities currently underway, outlining tasks such as installing site offices, conducting geotechnical testing, connecting services like water and electricity, vegetation clearance, and bulk earthworks.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Rotem CEO Yong-Bae Lee provided insights into the operational timeline for Hyundai Rotem’s Maryborough factory, noting its expected commencement in 2025.

“Queensland does not currently have roll forming capability, and such components have historically been made overseas. We believe this investment strengthens Queensland’s rail manufacturing capabilities while creating new jobs in the region,” he concluded.