100 good reasons to go loco

THE high quality of workmanship coming out of the Downer EDi engineering plant at Maryborough is the key ingredient that will ensure the facility's future for many years to come.

That positive endorsement yesterday by EDi chief executive officer Guy Wannop will no doubt come as comforting words to the plant's 450 workers.

Dr Wannop was speaking at the official handover to Queensland Rail of the 100th 3000Hp diesel locomotive manufactured at the Maryborough complex.

The loco, believed to be worth in the vicinity of $7 million, has proved a big winner for the company since it started manufacturing them almost 10 years ago.

Each locomotive takes more than two months to assemble and more than 15 are still on back order.

Dr Wannop said he would have liked to say he had orders on hand guaranteeing another 10 years work but that was not the case.

“I would extremely happy if we did but this industry unfortunately fluctuates from year to year,” he said.

“What I can say is that the railway carriages and locomotives we are building in Maryborough are globally competitive in both quality and price. That means we have a bright future.

“Downer EDi's decision to invest more than $10 million in building new testing sheds at Maryborough last year should also be seen as a commitment to the future.”

Other factors coming into play ensuring EDi's future include the decision by the Queensland Government that all future railway tenders are assessed not just on price but also on job creation opportunities and the government's other move to delay electrification of the entire Queensland rail network.

Dr Wannop said that decision alone had greatly enhanced the value and life expectancy of the diesel-driven locomotives EDi is presently rolling off its production lines.

Yesterday's ceremonial handover was fittingly a celebration also for every worker at the EDi Maryborough plant. No doubt they also enjoyed the chance to have lunch shouted by the bosses.

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