Pisasale calls for train maintenance to remain at Redbank

TRAIN maintenance must remain at the Redbank workshops to save jobs and allow its new owner to build up sufficient tenants, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said.

But Queensland Rail has cast doubt on the idea.

The workshops have been bought by industrial property group Goodman Australia, which owns the nearby Redbank Motorway Estate.

The sale from Aurizon for $74 million includes a leaseback period that will allow for Aurizon's scheduled activities right up to 2017.

Goodman says that the transaction also has the flexibility to consider opportunities to negotiate other commercial sub-leases for rail-related or industrial activities.

In May this year, Aurizon announced a significant portion of work will cease at Redbank in June 2015 with the expiry of a passenger contract for Queensland Rail, with a progressive phase out to June 2017 when it is proposed the workshop will close.

Cr Pisasale said about 400 jobs remained at the historic Redbank railway workshops which once employed thousands of workers.

He said Queensland Rail train maintenance must continue at Redbank.

"What we want for the next five years is that when the government puts out a tender, make sure that they use Redbank," Cr Pisasale said. "Hopefully the State Government can ensure any future Queensland Rail contract for passenger fleet maintenance is located at Redbank."

However, a Queensland Rail spokeswoman said that it would be "improper for Queensland Rail to stipulate that a particular company must use a specific facility in order to be awarded a contract."

The spokeswoman said Queensland Rail operated "a fair and scrupulous tender process when awarding contracts".

"Should a bidder plan to base its operations at Redbank, its tender for work would be fairly considered alongside any others," she said.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads was procuring 75 new six-car trains as part of its New Generation Rollingstock Project at Wulkuraka, which also includes a new facility to service and maintain the new trains.

"During the peak of construction, the project is expected to create or maintain 514 full-time local jobs," she said.

"Regarding the heavy maintenance of the remaining city network train fleet, a rigorous tender process will be undertaken before the contract expires."