Australia’s Queensland Government has shortlisted three train manufacturers, namely Alstom, CAF, and Downer Rail, for the upcoming phase of the Rollingstock Expansion Programme (REP).

Under this programme, these companies will manufacture the first 20 trains of the new passenger train fleet in a purpose-built Maryborough manufacturing centre.

They were selected after an extensive expression of interest (EOI) process, which was conducted by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).

For fair competition, stringent probity requirements were followed throughout the EOI process.

The contract related to this programme is expected to be awarded next year.

The REP is expected to provide a $767m (A$1bn) guaranteed pipeline of train building work in Maryborough, which will help in the economic recovery of the region.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said: “We made a $460m (A$600m) election commitment for 20 new six-car trains to be manufactured in Queensland, and we are now a step closer to delivering. Plus there is a further option for an additional 45 additional trains to be built down the track.

“We’ve also got a $759,435 (A$1m) for a business case to build replacement carriages for the iconic Westlander, Inlander and Spirit of the Outback long-distance services right here in Queensland.”

The shortlisting marks an important milestone for the programme, which is anticipated to modernise and expand South East Queensland’s passenger train fleet, besides providing considerable benefits.

Prior to this, Australia’s Victorian Government unveiled the updated designs for a new train station in Surrey Hills, which aim to enhance safety at the level crossings.

The work involves the removal of level crossings at Union Road in Surrey Hills and Mont Albert Road in Mont Albert.