Roadheaders

Roadheaders meet at future Town Hall station

A significant milestone has been reached on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project, as three roadheaders meet at what will be the site of the new Town Hall station.

The three roadheaders have been at work creating the cavern and pedestrian connections between the new station and Flinders Street and Flinders Quarter.

“This is a huge milestone for this important project, bringing Melbourne another step closer to a turn up and go rail system, while keeping our construction workers safely on the job,” said Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan.

The new Town Hall station will be one of two interchange stations between the Metro Tunnel and the existing City Loop, with the other being at State Library/Melbourne Central.

When complete, the new station will be 33 metres deep and longer than a city block.

“We’ve made such amazing progress, we now have deep underground a new station entrance at Federation Square, the length of the future station platform and come out at the new entrance at City Square,” said Allan.

The three roadheaders have been working from three different launch sites. The first was launched late last year from City Square and began tunnelling under Swanston Street for the main station cavern. The second roadheader launched under Federation Square and will create the passenger connection between Flinders Street station and Town Hall. The third roadheader excavated the connection between Flinders Quarter and the station.

Each machine weighs up to 118 tonnes and has been working 25 metres below ground level. The cutterheads can cut through rock three times harder than concrete.

Once the roadheaders have finished excavating the stations, the tunnel boring machines will create the twin tunnels between the future Town Hall and State Library stations. All four tunnel boring machines are currently making their way underground towards the CBD.

The project is on track to have trains running through the new tunnels by 2025.

Plans to remove level crossing in Carseldine, Brisbane fully funded

Plans to remove another level crossing in Brisbane’s suburbs have been backed by funding from all levels of government, with work to begin in 2021.

The Queensland state government will contribute $128 million to deliver the plans to remove the Beams Road level crossing near the Carseldine train station in Brisbane’s north. The federal government is contributing $50m and the Brisbane City Council $70m.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the plan would outline designs to reduce congestion and increase safety.

“Every time that boom arm goes down at the Beams Road level crossing, that means more time for people waiting in traffic.”

Local MP Bart Mellish said that the plan would also cover improvements to the station precinct and surrounding area.

“There are also opportunities ahead to build new public spaces and upgrade the road network as part of Carseldine Urban Village, so this project will build on that and transform how are community connects.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said that a business case for the level crossing removal will be completed early next year, with construction to start later in 2021.

“With funding committed in Brisbane City Council’s budget and federally, we have a solid commitment to upgrade roads, remove the rail level crossing and build more parking spaces at Carseldine train station,” he said.

Designs for an expanded park n’ ride at Carseldine station have already been finalised and work will begin on that project before the end of 2020, said Bailey.

The announcement of funding for Beams Road is in addition to level crossing removal projects at Boundary Road, in Coopers Plains, and Lindum.

Local rail advocacy group Rail Back on Track welcomed the news that these level crossing will go, however cautioned that with increases in frequency once the Cross River Rail project is complete, more crossings will have to go.

“A potential catastrophic situation awaits as frustrated motor vehicle drivers are tempted to race boom gates,” said group administrator Robert Dow.

“Unless there is a commitment from both sides of the political fence to step up the rate of level crossing elimination (grade separation) there will be increasing impacts on the road transport network and the reliability and safety of rail itself.”

The group called for a commitment to remove two or three level crossings a year and the establishment of an authority similar to the Level Crossing Removal Project in Victoria.

Morley Station

Detailed construction plans for Morley-Ellenbrook line released

A construction boom in the north-eastern suburbs of Perth will begin with the construction of the new Morley-Ellenbrook line.

The 21-kilometre line will support 3,000 local jobs in its construction, with not only the new rail line being built, but an array of parking facilities, transport interchange hubs, and access routes are part of the plan.

The Western Australian cabinet has endorsed the Project Definition Plan for the new line, which outlines the facilities that will be built to enable 11,700 people to board trains on the line on its first day of operations, expected to be in 2023-2024.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said that the new line will be in addition to a significant amount of rail infrastructure projects underway around Perth.

“This year alone we have seven METRONET projects under construction, which is a significant transformation to our State’s infrastructure and public transport build,” he said.

Stations will be built at Ellenbrook, Whiteman Park, Malaga, Noranda and Morley. The line will connect to the existing rail network at Bayswater Station, and passengers will not need to change trains to get into the CBD. The total journey time from Ellenbrook to the CBD is expected to be 30 minutes.

A number of overpasses and underpasses will be built as part of the line. After leaving Bayswater Station, the line will travel over the Midland Line and then under the Tonkin Highway’s northbound lanes. Road over rail bridges will be built at Beechboro Road North, Dulwich Street, and at the Gnangara Road, Drumpellier Driver intersection. Above Morley station, the Broun Avenue bridge will be rebuilt to support a new bus interchange.

In total, the plan includes parking for 3,300 cards, four bus interchanges, cycle facilities, shared paths, toilets at the stations which will be universally accessible. The location and design of the stations has been developed to stimulate transport-oriented development, particularly at Malaga, Whiteman Park, and Ellenbrook, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“This project is more than just a train line – it is about giving locals more options when choosing how they travel, where they work and where they want to live.”

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the forecast patronage on the line demonstrated the need for a rail solution.

“Thousands of people will use this line from day one of operation, stripping cars off Perth roads and busting congestion,” he said.

While early works at Bayswater station have already begun, two contractors have been shortlisted to deliver the main construction contract, Ellenbrook Alliance (CPB Contractors and Downer EDI) and MELconnex, consisting of Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction. The main contract is expected to be awarded before the end of 2020.

Lindum level crossing

Federal-state study identifies improvements to dangerous level crossing

A study into a notorious level crossing and station precinct in Brisbane’s east has attracted community input, with 300 surveys completed and 180 ideas shared in an online feedback portal.

The input was garnered as part of a community feedback process into the Lindum Station Precinct Study. Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the community feedback would inform the final design outcome.

“We will be looking at a range of options for the level crossing, including at-grade solutions or alternative locations,” he said.

In 2019, a woman was killed at the level crossing and the crossing has been a source of community and commuter frustration as it crosses a major regional road.

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said it was essential the community was involved in the station precinct’s redesign.

“Lindum Station and its surrounds are a crucial part of the local community. That’s why it’s vital we prioritise the community as part of the study.”

Bailey said that a new station, crossing, and precinct would safely cater for commuters, road traffic, nearby businesses, and create active transit connections.

Member for Bonner Ross Vasta said a range of options are being considered.

“Options to be explored to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians include grade separation, upgrading the existing level crossing and relocating the level crossing,” he said.

“The project will also consider station and parking upgrades.”

Community feedback will inform the development of a technical study, which will identify the best way to make the improvements to the station precinct.

The study is jointly funded by the federal and Queensland governments, with the federal government having committed $85 million to the construction of an upgrade to the Lindum Rail Crossing.

Why celebrating diversity and emerging rail specialists matters

Now is the time for the rail industry to embrace diversity and new ways of finding solutions, write Thomas Kerr, RTAA president, and Laurena Basutu, RTAA marketing manager.

The world has changed dramatically. For the rail industry, the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed how we work and communicate with others to deliver the services and infrastructure that our community needs.

Although challenging, COVID-19 has created an opportunity for the industry to creatively tackle another key challenge – meeting the significant demand generated by the pipeline of projects in Australasia. Specifically, ensuring that the rail industry workforce has the capacity and capability required.

This challenge presents us with an opportunity to enhance the diversity of the industry workforce by tapping into the broader ecosystem of talent from other industries such as the airline and hospitality sectors, while also celebrating and nurturing the talents of emerging rail professionals. Their creativity and innovation will build the industry’s resilience and capacity now and into the future.

The Rail Track Association Australia (RTAA) Emerging Rail Specialist Award and Diversity Award has gone some way to meeting this challenge by inspiring individuals and companies to rise to the significant talent constraints we face. Ultimately, encouraging, celebrating, and building the capacity of emerging rail specialists will help us retain the knowledge and foster the innovation required to ensure the success and sustainability of our industry.

RTAA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – JAMES DONOVAN – 2017 RTAA EMERGING RAIL SPECIALIST AWARD WINNER
James Donovan defines excellence as “a willingness to not accept the status quo. Trying to address existing problems in everyday tasks with a novel approach and being willing to consider a different way of doing things to achieve a better result.”

Donovan, a systems interface engineer for MTR Australia, was nominated for the RTAA Emerging rail specialist award by his then employer Metro Trains Melbourne for his work on a project to automate the isolation and earthing of the overhead wiring system. The benefits included significantly faster and safer track access both for maintenance and incident response.

Attending InnoTrans 2018 was a “gunzel’s dream” for Donovan. “I came away with many new rail friends, and a greater appreciation of how rail works outside of Australia. The rail industry in Australia (and across the rest of the world) heavily relies on the import of specific products from other countries, which is a long and expensive process. All of these organisations are seeing unprecedented orders, as the global push on rail continues. It was valuable to understand the challenges these international organisations face, to better inform the implications any impact to their business may have on our local business.”

The best advice Donovan can offer other emerging rail specialists is “grab any opportunity that comes your way. Both personal and professional development comes from new opportunities and experiences. Even if you have difficulty, there are so many helpful and knowledgeable people within the industry that would be keen to provide their insight.”

If you know a talented emerging rail specialist who has demonstrated innovation and creativity in their field, nominate them for the RTAA Emerging Rail Specialist award: www. rtaa.org.au/services/emerging-rail-specialist- award.html. The winner will receive up to $10,000 to attend an international transport conference of their choice. Entries close June 26, 2020.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
During this time, things many not be exactly business as usual as we adapt to different ways of connecting. It is important for us at the RTAA to keep in touch. Let us know the best way to connect to help you connect with others by completing this simple four question survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/KYCMVD6.

For more information on the RTAA contact: businessmanager@rtaa.org.au or follow RTAA on Twitter: @RailTAA, LinkedIn: @Rail Track Association Australia – RTAA, and Facebook: @RailTAA.

Year in Infrastructure

Year in Infrastructure conference goes digital

Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2020 conference will be held digitally in October.

The move to digital will allow for greater global participation in the annual infrastructure conference.

The program includes the live judging of Year In Infrastructure 2020 awards and the final ceremony, as well as talks and workshops.

Confirmed sessions include Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems in conversation with top-tier infrastructure executives on how they are meeting resilience challenges through digital advancement.

Keith Bentley, founder and chief technology officer, will discuss examples of deployed digital twins with those who have successfully adopted the technology.

Six sector-specific sessions will be held on October 20, with one specifically focused on the implications of digital twins for the rail and transit sector. These will involve interactive panel discussions with industry and business leaders.

Finally, the latest advances in Bentley Systems applications and cloud services will be on display with interactive demonstrations of the technology in the field.

The Year in Infrastructure conference is hosted by Bentley Systems, a software provider of design, construction, and operations solutions for infrastructure.

Ovingham

Ovingham level crossing to use road over rail bridge

The preferred design for the removal of the Ovingham level crossing in Adelaide’s inner north has been released.

Torrens Road will be elevated over the Gawler and freight railway lines in a $231 million works package. The western end of Churchill Road will also be raised to meet Torrens Road at the same elevation.

Tender for the project has been announced and a contract will be awarded later in 2020 with work to begin in 2021.

The design was chosen not only for its impact on traffic and constructability, but the minimal disruption to rail users and the freight line while the road is lifted above the track.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the project will have improve safety and traffic flow.

“Not only will this bust congestion, but it will give the SA economy an essential boost and it will mean more local jobs,” he said.

South Australian Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll said the current design of the road causes delays.

“At the moment the boom gates at this level crossing are down for around 26 minutes during both peak periods which causes traffic delays and frustrates motorists.

“Once complete, this level crossing upgrade will ensure motorists never have to wait for a train to pass again here, making their ride to and from work or home safer and faster.”

The Ovingham project is expected to be complete by 2023.

How to optimise your path of construction through advanced work packaging

The best practice of Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) is rapidly gaining momentum in the capital projects industry. This article explains the benefits of an AWP framework and how, when combined with the right digital solutions, it can help establish a constraint-free Path of Construction.

Emerging technologies are enabling organisations in the capital projects industry to achieve their best Path of Construction through an Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) methodology. AWP aligns owners, contractors and engineers and has them working collaboratively to start a plan backwards from a set end goal. Simply stated, AWP gets the right stuff to the right people at the right time. Those who have adopted an AWP philosophy have seen its value through reduced costs, increased productivity and improved predictability. The challenge that remains is deciding which digital tools can best support this breakthrough work methodology.

To read more, fill out the form below:

EOI for Victorian section of Inland Rail released

Expressions of interest (EOI) are now open for the design and construct contract for the Tottenham to Albury (T2A) section of Inland Rail.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has begun the EOI process as part of the early contractor involvement procurement process.

The contract will cover the design and rebuilding of bridges, civil works and track lowering, in addition to overhead wiring, signal gantry installation, and track slews along the existing North East rail line from Beveridge to Albury.

“We’re asking contractors to express their interest in the works, especially those with experience delivering a program of complex road and rail infrastructure in regional locations, with a value in excess of $200 million,” said ARTC general manager projects Victoria Ed Walker.

The announcement signals that work is getting underway on the Victorian section of the Inland Rail project. The entire project from Melbourne to Brisbane has been broken up into 13 projects, with Tottenham to Albury being the only Victorian segment of the project.

Once complete, the project will allow double for 1,800m long double stacked freight trains to run on the existing North East rail line. The current EOI covers works on stage one of T2A from Beveridge to Albury while a decision on where a new intermodal terminal on the outskirts of Melbourne will be located is finalised.

Construction is expected to commence in 2021 with the line becoming operational in 2025.

Walker said this would have benefits for freight operators and the wider community.

“Inland Rail will cut over ten hours and 200 kilometres off the transit from Victoria to Queensland for freight, and provides a direct connection to Queensland, bypassing the heavily constrained route through Sydney and the circuitous route via the NSW North Coast.

“A recent EY report into Inland Rail Regional Opportunities estimated that Inland Rail will boost the Victorian Gross Regional Product by up to $4.6 billion over a 50-year operating period, on top of the positive impacts during the construction period,” said Walker.

Tender documents can be submitted until 5pm on July 13. Dual early contractor involvement contractors will be shortlisted by August 2020 and a final selection will be made by early 2021.

Work on existing line continues
Over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend upgrades on the existing North East line passed a major milestone, with over 150,000 tonnes of ballast dropped on the line.

The $235m program of works has also seen 105km of tamping, 50km of reinstated drainage, 17 level crossing renewals, 6 bridge deck replacements, and 4 pedestrian crossing renewals completed.

Walker said that a key focus of the works is on their benefit to the local community.

“A key focus of the North East Rail Line upgrade is to ensure regional centres in North East Victoria directly benefit and we are proud that 38 local suppliers including 20 North East Victorian and 18 businesses from Melbourne are already contracted to work on the multi-million-dollar project.”

Major projects

Community engagement key to rail project success

The successful delivery of the $150 billion rail infrastructure pipeline is at risk if community engagement best practices are adhered to, a new report from Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) has found.

With $20bn worth of infrastructure delayed or cancelled due to community opposition in the last decade, the current acceleration of infrastructure investment will need to take local attitudes into account.

Chief executive of IPA, Adrian Dwyer, said that rail has particular issues to confront in the construction and operation of infrastructure.

“Even though the construction impacts of a project may be short-term in nature, the long-term operational impacts of rail infrastructure means that social licence needs to be thought about early and often.”

The report, produced in partnership with LEK Consulting, found that to be effective, community consultation and engagement needed to be embedded throughout the project and be an active ingredient in decision-making processes.

Two major rail projects were highlighted for their effective engagement with community. The report noted that the active involvement of the community in the design of Sydney Metro and the Level Crossing Removal Project were best practice examples.

“The Level Crossing Removal and Sydney Metro projects have shown how extensive community engagement, underpinned by clear and simple messaging and genuine opportunities for co-design, can build trust and win over communities to the value of a project,” said Dwyer.

In both cases, community input led to changes in the design of the project, ongoing works were communicated clearly, and, where there was community opposition as in the case of the Level Crossing Removal Project, the benefits and costs were honestly communicated.

These case studies demonstrated the unique dynamics that rail projects will have to grapple with as further major projects are announced.

“The linear and long-term nature of rail infrastructure means the impacts are highly localised to rail corridors and station locations while the benefits are diffuse,” said Dwyer.