Hundreds of Aurizon rail workers at the Redbank rail workshops attend a union meeting at the facility in 2014. Aurizon planned to close the facility but today announced a new deal that will keep the workshop open.
Hundreds of Aurizon rail workers at the Redbank rail workshops attend a union meeting at the facility in 2014. Aurizon planned to close the facility but today announced a new deal that will keep the workshop open. Claudia Baxter

New deal will keep Redbank rail workshops open to 2024

RAILWAY facilities in Redbank that were due to close down next year will instead remain open until at least 2024 thanks to a deal signed between Aurizon and United States company Progress Rail Services.

The deal means up to 90 jobs have been saved at the Redbank Maintenance Facility.

Under the agreement, the Redbank facilitiy will take on Aurizon's non-core maintenance work.

"The companies have proposed that a majority of the current workforce transition with the service agreement, subject to consultation with employees," Aurizon announced in a statement today.

"The impact of the transition is expected to be minimal because of the installed equipment and the skilled employee base."

Aurizon managing director and CEO Lance Hockridge signed a memorandum of understanding with Progress Rail president and CEO Billy Ainsworth at their headquarters in Illinois.

Aurizon said the non-binding MOU was expected to be converted to a finalised commercial agreement within months.

The new agreement is expected to be implemented from July 1, 2016 to October 2024.

Aurizon vice president of engineering and maintenance Patrick O'Donnell said the agreement would enable Aurizon to save costs and increase productivity over the next decade.

He said a key part of the change was to separate core and non-core maintenance services.

"The deal is also an exceptional outcome for the community of Ipswich, setting in motion a new era for the historic Redbank rail workshops," he said.

The statement said Aurizon and Progress Rail would collaborate on creating a more efficient supply chain to deliver parts to Aurizon's national fleet of trains.

Aurizon said the new deal allowed it to form a long-term partnership with an equipment manufacturer that supplies rail equipment across the world.



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