Crowds gathered to celebrate rail centre opening
A CROWD of 1500 people have had the first look inside the new home of railway in Ipswich.
The rail-mad audience were the first members of the public to visit the $190 million train maintenance facility at Wulkuraka as it was officially opened with a community open day on Saturday.
The centre was specifically built to maintain 75 new six-car trains being made for Queensland under the New Generation Rollingstock project.
Construction on the centre was finished in November and employees have been coming on board ever since to make sure it is ready for the arrival of the first train.
Bombardier Transportation spokeswoman Loulou Hammad said feedback from the public on Saturday had been wonderful.
"We're very, very happy to celebrate the day," she said.
"This is a very significant investment into Queensland, the Queensland economy and the transport industry in general."
Ms Hammad said the first of the 75 new trains was expected to be carrying passengers on south-east Queensland railways by mid-year.
She said all 75 new trains were due to be in the public service by 2018.
Ms Hammad said the Ipswich public could expect more opportunities to see the centre in the future.
"The project has many milestones coming up," she said.
Once at capacity, the NGR maintenance facility is expected to support 150 full time jobs.
It will maintain the new trains for 30 years under a contract with the Queensland Government.
The centre is designed to have same-day service on trains and includes a scanning system that automatically detects graffiti, wheel damage and even the condition of the brakes.
Queensland Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe opened the day.
In a statement, he said the first train would arrive at the centre in coming weeks for extensive testing before it was put into passenger service.