25 May 2001

West Australian railway rolling stock maintainer Gemco Rail Pty Ltd, announced today that it will invest $5.75 million in a new custom-built freight wagon maintenance facility located in the Perth suburb of Forrestfield.

Gemco’s new facility will provide rail operators with a ‘one-stop shop’ for their rail wagon fleet maintenance requirements and is being developed by P.S. Developments, the associated property arm of Specialized Container Transport.

Making the announcement, Gemco Rail Managing Director, Mr Jim Ireland, said, "The rapid pace of change within the rail industry presents Gemco Rail with a number of exciting opportunities. The ongoing privatisation of the rail industry has created an increase in the amount of oustourcing by rail operators of their maintenance requirements, bringing about opportunities for niche maintenance providers such as Gemco."

Gemco Rail is a West Australian family owned business that has been involved in the rolling stock maintenance business for the last four years. Originally specialising in the maintenance of rail freight bogies and wheelsets, the business has rapidly expanded to the point where whole of wagon maintenance was a natural and logical progression.

"Our business has been continually expanding to the point where our current facilities will soon become inadequate and are geographically in the wrong position. Obviously with an increased workload we have had to review our operations. We have concluded that in order to continue to meet our clients changing needs and provide the high level of service they have come to expect we must invest in these larger, custom built premises," Mr Ireland said.

The new 5,840sq metre state-of-the-art facility will have a purpose built wheelset repair shop featuring two wheelset re-profiling lathes, CNC axle lathes, vertical wheel boring machines and two wheel presses, a bogie repair facility, drop pits and 20-tonne lifting capacity. Approximately 2,600 sq. metres of the new facility will be dedicated to wagon maintenance.

Gemco Rail currently employs 43 people at its Rivervale site and expects the new Forrestfield facility when fully operational to have the potential to employ around 65.

Mr Ireland said, "I have a vision of a mini Railway service precinct. Further jobs could be created by other service providers leasing space at the site."

The first Company to take advantage of the opportunity is Westinghouse Brakes Australia, who will relocate their existing WA operation from Cannington to the new Forrestfield facility.

Westinghouse Brakes Australia is the country’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of Railway brake systems. The move to the new facility will provide an improved location to support service exchange of equipment, provide equipment overhaul and "flying gang" services to rail operators and maintainers in WA.

The new facility, which will open in September, is strategically located adjacent to the Forrestfield railway yards and will be connected to the main WA and interstate rail networks through two standard gauge (1435mm) and one narrow gauge (1067mm) tracks.

Gemco’s Rail’s recent order book includes full and specialist maintenance contracts with a number of rail operators including, Australia Western Railroad (formerly Westrail Freight), Westrail passenger operations including TransPerth, National Rail Corporation, Toll Rail, CFCL Australia, a number of Pilbara iron ore railways, Queensland Rail and Rail Services Australia.

Gemco has recently completed final assembly, fit-out and painting of 42 ballast hoppers for wagon leasing specialist CFCL Australia. Fit-out included conversion to fully automated ballasting operations using Gemco’s own proprietary design hopper doors with Cattron remote control equipment, and the fitting of Westinghouse Brakes.

Gemco also provides an exclusive Australian agency for a number suppliers of permanent way and rolling stock equipment and spares including:

Geismar – Specialised track maintenance equipment.

BTI – Tungsten carbide tipped ballast tools.

Cattron – Remote control equipment for automated wagon doors.

Stucki – A range of products providing improved ride control for freight wagons.

Mr Ireland concluded by saying, "Gemco is pleased to be announcing this new investment in the West Australian rail industry. Through our expanded ability to provide rail operators with competitive maintenance solutions, we view our new facility as a key element in supporting and expanding the new, commercially focussed rail freight industry in WA.


For further information contact:

Jim Ireland on 08 9479 3144 or 0417 172 563

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