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First locally built rail replacement buses delivered in Queensland

The first of 200 new diesel replacement buses have rolled off the manufacturing line in Queensland at Volgren’s Eagle Farm facility

The Queensland government has revealed that the first of 200 rail replacement buses have rolled off the production line as part of a mega order.

The 200 replacement buses are being built in Queensland this year as part of the state government’s $130 million investment to support public transport and local manufacturing.

The first bus under the new ownership agreement has been built and handed to the state government, with the buses to be deployed during track works for major rail projects including Cross River Rail and Logan and Gold Coast Faster Rail.

“It’s a big milestone to see the new vehicles built here in Queensland hitting the road. We’re backing building buses in this state because it’s a win for local workers, a win for the manufacturing sector, and a win for commuters as well,” Queensland transport and main roads minister Bart Mellish says.

“These buses will play a vital role keeping Queenslanders moving while our Big Build continues and these transformational projects come online.

“When critical track works are required to integrate these projects into the existing train network, that’s when our fleet of rail replacement buses mobilises to keep communities connected.”

The 43-seat bus Euro 6 diesel bus features a Volvo chassis and a locally built Volgren body manufactured at the bodybuilder’s Eagle Farm facility.

The arrangement allows the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to deploy the buses across South-East Queensland during track closures, with the bus helping to reduce the impact of train works on commuters.

As part of the deal, Volgren will produce 165 rail replacement buses, with a new bus being delivered at a rate of around one per day when production reaches full steam.

Image: Queensland government

In the meantime, Scania is building 35 Euro 6 diesel buses with BusTech bodies at its Rocklea manufacturing facility.

As a result of the order, nearly 50 new local jobs have been created at Volgren, with the buses being designed to be fully accessible and include people in a wheelchair.

The Queensland government says the Euro 6 diesel buses are also the lowest emissions diesel buses available to be made in Queensland in mass production at this time.

The replacement bus program is designed to sustain the local manufacturing industry while the state government continues to transition to a zero-emissions fleet, with the Queensland government also announcing plans to build hundreds of zero-emissions buses locally.

Volgren CEO Thiago Deiro says Volgren is thrilled to deliver the first of its 165 rail replacement buses.

“For the past 15 years, Volgren has made significant investments in its Eagle Farm facility, transforming it into a unique Australian facility that builds buses in Queensland, made by Queenslanders. Since Volgren’s been awarded the Rail Replacement contract, we’ve expanded our capacity and increased our headcount by 70 per cent,” Deiro says,

“The Rail Replacement project highlights the importance of sustaining manufacturing in Queensland and the crucial role of consistent bus programs in supporting local industries.

“We commend the Queensland government, especially Bart Mellish and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, for their support and investment in locally built products.

“Companies need visibility and consistency of orders to invest and grow. This project has enabled us to invest in our local facility and double our production capacity in record time.”

As Volgren meets the delivery schedule, Deiro says Volgren’s Eagle Farm facility stands as a testament to its capabilities, with Volgren also looking to lead the way in the zero-emissions transition.

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