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Transport & Logistics

NSW government selects North West Rail Link preferred operator

2 Jul 2014, by Informa Insights

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The Northwest Rapid Transit consortium has been officially chosen as the preferred operator of the North West Rail Link – currently Australia’s largest ongoing public transport infrastructure project.

The announcement was made by the New South Wales government on June 24, following a comprehensive review process in which two consortiums competed for the sought-after contract.

The Northwest Rapid Transit consortium is a coalition of service providers that includes:

  • John Holland – a leading provider of engineering, contracting and services for the transport services sector.
  • The Australian branch of the MTR Corporation – a Hong-Kong based mass transit railway system specialist.
  • Leighton Contractors – one of Australia’s leading international contractors, operating around 200 project locations around Australasia.
  • UGL Rail Services – a global diversified services company that is now one of Australia’s leading engineering, construction and maintenance service providers.
  • Plenary Group – A company that specialises in investing in, developing and operating public infrastructure.

This collection of highly regarded organisations will now be responsible for a number of key duties in the construction and operation of the North West Rail Link.

Together, they will be required to supply the link with ongoing maintenance and servicing. They will also be responsible for constructing eight new railway stations around the Link, and supplying the NSW capital’s fleet of fully-automated rapid transit trains.

According to Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, the operations contract for the North West Rail Link will be “one of the biggest Public Private Partnerships ever awarded in the history of NSW”.

As such, strict contract requirements have been put in place which mandate that the chosen operator must deliver a high standard of customer service, lest they be stripped of the contract.

‘We attracted the cream of the crop from across Australia and around the world for the operations contract, and I thank everyone involved in both the private sector and government for all their hard work,” said Ms Berejiklian in a statement released June 25.

“The NSW government is getting on with the job of building the North West Rail Link, Australia’s biggest public transport project and the first stage of Sydney Rapid Transit, Sydney’s brand new rail network.”

Progress continues on North West Rail Link

This announcement is another exciting development in the ongoing North West Rail Link project, and brings Sydney one step closer towards completing the $8.3 billion initiative.

Earlier this month, engineers completed work on the first Tunnel Boring Machine – nicknamed ‘Elizabeth’ – which will be used to continue excavation work at Bella Vista, about 33 km north-west of the Sydney CBD.

The machine is currently on its way to Australia, and is expected to commence excavation in October. Another Tunnel Boring Machine is scheduled to be in position by the end of the year.

Ms Berejiklian has emphasised the economic benefits that the tunnelling phase of construction on the North West Rail Link will offer Sydney. She claims that around 900 jobs will be supported throughout the life span of the project.

“Following a naming competition involving school students from the North West, the first [Tunnel Boring Machines] will be named ‘Elizabeth’, after local colonial icon Elizabeth Rouse. It has been a long held tradition worldwide to name [Tunnel Boring Machines] after women, and I thank Alexandra Marshall from Rouse Hill Anglican College for her winning contribution,” said Ms Berejiklian.

According to the NSW government’s indicative construction timeframe for the North West Rail Link, the project is currently in the process of major station excavation and site establishment.

This aspect of the project will continue alongside surface work and viaduct construction until 2016, at which point track work and facility fit-outs will begin. The Link is expected to reach operational readiness by the second quarter of 2018.

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