Several Bowen locals changed tracks on their careers and took up the opportunity to become trainee train drivers.
12 former tradespeople, supermarket managers, police officers and childcare workers made the switch to enrol into the Bowen Rail Company's (BRC) second driver school.
More than 1600 applications were received for the roles, which were delivered in partnership with expert rail industry training business Trojan Rail.
Bowen local Taylor Paul was a successful applicant and proved the power of perseverance.
Mr Paul said he had tried for several years to get his foot in the industry door and now swapped his plasterer's float for the keys to a Bowen Rail Company GT46C-ACe Gen III locomotive.
"This is a dream come true," he said.
"I'd applied for other positions with other companies over the years and, in all honesty, those experiences had me expecting not to make it this far.
"But these sorts of opportunities don't present themselves too often in a small town such as Bowen, so I thought I'd put my application in and give it a crack, and I'm so happy this has come through for me."
Bowen Rail Company general manager Brendan Lane said each of the trainee drivers brought enormous enthusiasm and a different way of thinking to the business.
"We knew that the industry talent pool wasn't going to be able to provide the more than 80 drivers needed to operate our full complement of trains, so we had to think differently and create new opportunities and mechanisms to open doors for local people to work for Bowen Rail," he said.
"Part of the answer was to invest in next generation locomotives and wagons that remove many of the physical barriers that had previously prevented some people from becoming a train driver.
"The other piece was to partner with Trojan Rail to offer a world-class local training program and that's really paying dividends.
"The trainees are a great example of the local talent Bowen has to offer, and the energy, enthusiasm, and diverse career and life experience they bring to the role makes us a better workforce and business."
Former childcare worker Ebony Geddes also made the career switch.
Ms Geddes said the Bowen culture embedded in the trainee driver program had been an unexpected highlight.
"I've always wanted to work in the rail industry, so when I saw this opportunity come up I had to throw my hat into the ring," she said.
"The cab of a locomotive is going to be a great office and I'm really looking forward to the challenge.
"I'd have to say the highlight for me so far though is probably meeting people from Bowen I hadn't met before and learning about their backgrounds as we go through the training together.
"BRC has done a great job employing a lot of locals and you see the values and culture that makes this community great reflected in the business."
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