The first of the 75 six-car NGR sets entered service at the end of 2017, but were found to be non-compliant with Queensland’s Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Act of 2002 (DSAPT), mainly in regard to the number of toilets per train and accessibility in the original contract specification.

A state government Commission of Inquiry, established in August 2018, found that the procurement process was flawed as a result of the length of the process, numerous changes in responsibility for the project, and the failure to take into account DSAPT requirements.

Bombardier leads the Qtectic consortium contracted to deliver the overall NGR project and, along with industry partner Downer EDI, will modify the trains in line with the government’s revised design specifications. The agreement between Bombardier and the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) will see the previously-approved toilet modules upgraded for improved disability access.

The Queensland government is providing $A 10m for infrastructure improvements at the Downer rail plant in Maryborough. This will enable multiple NGR trains to undergo simultaneous accessibility upgrades at the site.

Around 50 of the trains are already in service and the first is due to arrive at Maryborough to begin installation of upgrades at the end of 2019. The upgrade programme will be completed by 2024.

The $A 4.4bn NGR project is being delivered under a public-private partnership between the Queensland government and the Qtectic consortium, which comprises Bombardier, John Laing, Itochu and Aberdeen Standard Investments. The project includes the design and delivery of the new trains, construction of a new maintenance centre at Wulkuraka (Ipswich) and 32-years of fleet maintenance.