The state government is looking to reinvest in supply chain rail hubs in Queensland’s south east
The Queensland government has acquired the Rockhampton railyards from freight rail transport group Aurizon to help boost a plan for rail supply chain manufacturing in the state.
The government first sold the railyards in 2010 during a privatisation program led by the Labor government, with the current state government announcing it had entered negotiations with Aurizon to buy them back in October 2020.
But in 2017 Aurizon said it would shut the site and did so in 2018, saying the railyards experienced significantly reduced work in recent years.
Aurizon instead moved to other workshops in Queensland, with Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying she bought the yards back because they are iconic and an ideal destination for rail manufacturing to return to Rockhampton.
“That’s why we’ve bought this site – to create more rail supply chain manufacturing jobs here in Rockhampton to support train manufacturing in Maryborough,” Palaszczuk says.
The current Queensland government will build 65 new six-car passenger trains at Torbanlea in the Maryborough region to address the growing need for rail transport in the area as part of the $7.1 billion budgeted for the Queensland Train Manufacturing Program.
The government says there are many ideas possible for the Rockhampton railyards, including a research centre for hydrogen-powered trains and a major supply chain hub.
Queensland transport minister Mark Bailey says: “The research into hydrogen-powered trains is particularly exciting. Hydrogen is a clean, green power source and it makes sense to look at it as a potential fuel for our future train fleets.”
“The precinct will also be a major rail supply chain hub for Australia, with an expression of interest to launch in the coming weeks, inviting businesses with a unique opportunity to establish themselves at the railyards.”
Bailey says information for the Rockhampton railyard expression of interest would soon be released publicly with future uses of the site determined following consultation with industry.