Downer announced today the completion of a $7.5 million upgrade to its historic Newport rail service delivery centre, boosting Victoria’s rail infrastructure capabilities and the potential for further employment opportunities at the site.

The extensive two year upgrade created 84 new jobs over the program, transforming the historic site into a leading rail services delivery centre for bogies, wheelsets and engine overhauls.

Central to the upgrade was the installation of a Portal Wheel Lathe which allows Newport to service train wheelsets for all three rail gauges used by Australian networks.

“The new equipment and processes at Newport give Downer the ability to service any train running on Australian rail networks, significantly increasing the number of potential maintenance contracts available,” said Michael Miller, Chief Executive Officer Rail at Downer.

“Rail maintenance work has been carried out on this site for over 130 years and this $7.5 million investment into a critical piece of Victoria’s rail infrastructure increases availability, improves reliability and reduces costs for our customers in Victoria and across Australia.”

Craig Rowley, CEO of regional advocacy organisation LeadWest commented: “Downer’s investment to create a leading rail maintenance services centre in Melbourne’s west is timely and very welcome.  It creates jobs here and positions our region to play a huge role in Melbourne’s transport future.”

The completion of the $7.5 million upgrade of Downer’s rail service delivery centre was marked with an event attended by the State Labor Member for Footscray, The Hon Marsha Thomson MP.

Downer plans to invest an additional $2.4 million in the Newport facility in August 2016 to further increase the facility’s capacity and capability.