TRANSPORT HUB: Heath Eastwood, Jock Maxwell, Ian Worden and Avinash Pardley begun work on the Watco trains Back in October of last year.
TRANSPORT HUB: Heath Eastwood, Jock Maxwell, Ian Worden and Avinash Pardley begun work on the Watco trains Back in October of last year.

Watco chugging toward big launch this month

WARWICK's rail future is all coming together as Watco finishes its hiring process and prepares for an expected late August /early September start.

Last month, Watco received over 1000 applicants to be locomotive drivers for the south-east Queensland base.

Twenty-five of those were successful as were seven Warwick-based contractors who will work on a new cattle fleet, according to maintenance supervisor Shane Kraschnefski.

"It's good. That's on top of a couple of apprentices from Roach Engineering, too," he said.

"It all brings a bit of local employment."

The state's third largest fleet will begin with grain hauling, but was "already in the early stages" of planning the cattle operation.

In January, Mr Kraschnefski estimated about 150 grain wagons and two sets of wheat trains would going through the base each day while running.

 

Watco's new locos outside the Warwick Railway Station.
Watco's new locos outside the Warwick Railway Station.

 

Even as Queensland borders close to NSW and ACT once again, Mr Kraschnefski was confident the rail company's progress wouldn't be affected.

"There's been quite a bit of maintenance activity going on around here," he said.

"For us, we've been considered essential industry and completed our COVID-19 certification and training so we haven't been adversely affected at all."

The international freight company, from Texas in the United States, originally started plans for its Warwick base in 2018.



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