Industry Infrastructure, NSW, Rail Express features, Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

John Holland keeping Australian’s moving

John Holland has been working across a number of projects in Australia including Canberra Light Rail and Sydney Metro.

Dating back 75 years, John Holland has a history of transforming communities across Australia and New Zealand as a infrastructure, building, rail and transport business.

It’s long-standing experience in rail goes back more than 50 years. This includes Melbourne’s City Loop in 1978, to the construction, intergration and future maintenance of the nine-kilometre twin tunnels and five underground stations and systems for the Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project today.

From designing, constructing, testing and commissioning to operating and maintaining transport networks – John Holland is involved in all parts of the rail asset lifecycle.

The rail and transport business is focus on transforming the way people travel and providing better connections across Australia and New Zealand. Expertise in all parts of the rail lifecycle ensures the best solutions for its customers and communities at every stage.

John Holland’s in-house skills, knowledge, and resources, including owning and operating specialist machinery and equipment, allow it to deliver key rail, operations and maintenance services, and provide certainty and consistency of delivery across a range of disciplines, such as:

  • track and civil;

    John Holland is also a part of the Canberra Metro consortium. IMAGE:John Holland
  • overhead wiring;
  • power and electrical;
  • signalling and communications;
  • interface design management,  and testing and commissioning; and
  • rail safety, assurance and accreditation.

John Holland rail and transport executive general manager, Steve Butcher, spoke to Rail Express about the company’s expertise in rail and transport operations.

“What drew me to John Holland more than six years ago, was the end-to-end capability of the rail and transport business – we do everything from drawing a line on paper in the design phase, right through to putting people on trains, trams and buses in our operations and maintenance businesses,” he said.

“Our whole-of-life mindset that means we’re not just designing and delivering for today; we’re thinking about the future.

“We have more than 1300 people working directly in our rail and transport business across Australia and New Zealand.

“On top of that, there’s a further 9,000 people working in our trains, tram and bus operations around the country which we operate with joint venture partners, connecting hundreds of thousands of people to their destinations every day.”

The group operates and maintains some of Australia’s largest public transport networks, providing reliable, and customer-focused public transport services.

“As an accredited operator, our transport services include the design, development, and implementation of customer experience strategies, network control and timetabling, rail safety accreditation with regulatory agencies, along with asset management, maintenance, fleet, and depot strategies,” Butcher said.

John Holland specialises in the systems and processes that lead to the safe and successful design, construction and operation of heavy rail, light rail, bus, and other transport solutions.

This includes design management, design standards and waivers, and reliability, availability, and maintainability engineering.

“We carry out systems engineering, validation, verification, and safety assurance.

Keeping people moving in the nation’s capital

John Holland is part of the Canberra Metro consortium, which designed and constructed the Canberra Metro light rail network that opened in 2019. This included the systems engineering delivery and integration to bring the network online.

“We now proudly operate and maintain the network as part of Canberra Metro Operations (CMET) for an initial 20 year period,” Butcher said.

“In April, CMET celebrated five years of successful operations of the light rail network – a 12km line with 14 light rail stops that connects Gungahlin with the city.

“Since starting operations in April 2019, 16.5 million passenger trips have been made and over 4.5 million kilometres travelled on the network.

“While doing this, the team has delivered outstanding service for customers, with 99.98 per cent of services running on time,” he said.

A recent study showed that 43 per cent of passengers on light rail have never previously used the bus network.

Last year it was announced that the Canberra Metro consortium will deliver and operate the Stage 2A extension of Canberra’s light rail system, which will connect the city to Commonwealth Park.

The project will see three new stops built at Edinburgh Avenue, City South and Commonwealth Avenue, extending the network by 1.7 kilometres – providing a greater connection between the city and
the lake. 

Light rail to Commonwealth Park will be delivered wire-free to supporting requirements for a future connection through the Parliamentary Triangle. In a Canberra first, the light rail corridor to Commonwealth Park will include sections of green track where the light rail line sits within a bed of specially selected grass or plants instead of concrete.

“Back in 2022 we were awarded the contract to deliver the Light Rail Vehicle Procurement, Retrofit and Depot Expansion (LPRDE) Modification to the CMET Operations and Maintenance contract,” Butcher said. “It’s an exciting time for light rail in Canberra.”

The team have been delivering this project for the CMET network in preparation for the Stage 2A extension of light rail to Commonwealth Park including:

  • procurement of five new light rail vehicles;
  • retrofitting of existing 14 light rail vehicles with onboard batteries;
  • maintenance of new Light rail vehicles and battery systems; and
  • expansion of the existing CMET Depot to allow for the increased fleet size.

Sydney Metro Northwest

After delivering the design and construction for operations, trains and systems for Sydney Metro Northwest – with its construction partners – John Holland now operates the nation’s first driverless metro as part of the Metro Trains Sydney consortium.

The new-generation metro trains are designed to make customer journeys easy – from level access and platforms, to multi-purpose areas for prams, luggage and bicycles, and real-time travel information.

“John Holland is now part of the joint venture that manages the operations and maintenance, Metro Trains Sydney, across 13 stations from Tallawong to Chatswood in Sydney’s north and northwest,” Butcher said.

“Services operate every four minutes in the peak in each direction. Each month the team is delivering millions of passenger trips, with customer satisfaction is consistently above 98 per cent.

“We have continued to be involved on the city extension including building the new tunnel under Sydney Harbour and excavating the station boxes, then where the tunnel emerges, we delivered all of the complex junction remodelling at Sydenham Station with the conversion from the existing Sydney Trains network through to Bankstown.

“Along the route we are building the integrated station development at Waterloo. And as part of the Joint Venture operator, Metro Trains Sydney, we have been integral to the overall operational readiness and working with all of the teams getting the infrastructure ready to expand the operational railway.”

“The team is also working on the testing and commissioning programs for Sydney Metro City and SouthWest.”

“Looking at our footprint across the country, I’m proud of our how we’re keeping Australia moving – people, communities and the economy, and how we continue to grow and look at new opportunities.”