AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Light rail vogue moves to Newcastle

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> GHD has been appointed to advise the NSW government on a proposed light rail network for Newcastle, taking out the first of three planning contracts being put to tender by the government. </span> <p>The Newcastle-based firm won the first contract, and will undertake detailed analysis on locations for a transport interchange, the most appropriate alignment for light rail in the city-centre, and expansion opportunities.</p><p>Transport for NSW (TfNSW) will also be advertising soon for two more contracts to join the team working on the project.</p><p>The next tender will seek a company to work with the planning team on the key operational and engineering requirements for the truncation of the heavy rail link. The government says this company will design solutions for critical infrastructure components such as new track, provision of utilities and services, new signalling and power systems.</p><p>The second tender will be for engineering and operation services, where the contractor will examine the engineering, urban design, operational, environmental and functional requirements for building and operating the light rail system.</p><p>The winner of the first contract, GHD, has experience in city-based light rail networks, having assisted with the state government’s future plans for Sydney’s light rail, and the Inner West Light Rail Extension.</p><p>The contract was awarded through a closed competitive tender process, according to TfNSW</p><p>TfNSW said it targeted firms with expertise in light rail, engineering, and multi-modal transport projects, as well as those with local knowledge and experience.</p><p>Newcastle’s light rail project is another in an ever-growing list of light rail projects under development across the country.</p><p>Networks are either being planned, or in construction, in Sydney, Perth, and on the Gold Coast – and Melbourne has an extensive network under constant development.</p><p>The first of a number of planning workshops was recently held in Newcastle with council and state government representatives.</p><p>Under consideration are a number of potential locations for the network’s transport interchange, including Wickham, Hamilton and Broadmeadow.</p><p>NSW treasurer Mike Baird said a $340m investment from the potential long-term $700m lease of the Port of Newcastle would make the light rail project possible.</p><p>“We’ve sourced the funding and now the government is getting on with the job of making light rail a reality,” Baird said.</p><p>Member for Newcastle, Tim Owen, said the network would boost the economy, improve access, increase connections and boost the amenity of the CBD.</p><p>“All options will be considered and each will be carefully assessed against robust criteria, to ensure that the best light rail solution is delivered for Newcastle,” he said.</p>