Many changes remembered as Bombardier closes

A PROFITABLE partnership sprang up in Maryborough's Bowen Street 30 years ago after Walkers Ltd decided to tender for electric rail car contracts.

The company decided to look for a joint venture partner.

The best offer came from the world's biggest international train building company, Sweden's ASEA.

Steve Dollin, who worked at Walkers shipyards and on locomotives before joining ASEA, has fond memories of the early days.

"The Swedes used to come out all the time. There were a fair few characters among them.

"They liked to party."

Just as the locals were getting a handle on what ASEA was all about, it merged with the Swiss company Brown Bovieri.

The name of Walkers' partner on the big shed in Bowen Street changed to ABB; then Adtranz.

In 2001 Adtranz was bought by Bombardier.

Up went a new sign on the building in Bowen Street.

Adding to the confusion was EDI taking over Walkers; then Downer taking over EDI.

Maryborough's Robert Olds said he had seen the different businesses come and go over his 58 years and it was sad to see rail manufacturer Bombardier close its doors in the area.

"It is certainly sad to see bringing in trains from India that could be built in Australia," he said.

State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders described Bombardier's closure as "quite upsetting and at the worst possible time of year".

He said it was the end of an era, but he hadn't wanted to see it finish.

Mr Saunders said many of the employees would have no choice but to look for work elsewhere.

"We are losing so many skilled men and women," he said.

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