Metro Tunnel signalling contract signed

Melbourne Metro rail tunnel. Graphic: Victorian Government

Just days after announcing the winner of the major construction contract for the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project, the Victorian Government has named the consortium to lead the $1 billion high-capacity signalling works.

Premier Daniel Andrews and public transport minister Jacinta Allan on Tuesday announced CPB Contractors and Bombardier Transportation will deliver the Rail Systems Alliance contract.

Andrews noted the contract would include the first roll-out of a high capacity signalling system on an existing rail network anywhere in Australia – given the signalling work will take place not only along the new tunnel route, but along the existing railway at either end of the tunnel.

“High Capacity Signalling means more trains, less waiting and services so often you don’t need a timetable – you just turn up and go,” the premier said. “It’s cutting edge technology that will get people home safer and sooner, every day.”

Allan added: “This is the next major piece of the puzzle – high-tech signalling to run bigger trains, more often through the Metro Tunnel. After years of inaction from the former Liberal Government, we’re building the train network passengers need and deserve.”

The Rail Systems Alliance contract is the third of five major works packages to be awarded under the Metro Tunnel project.

The Early Works package was contracted to John Holland, and the $6 billion tunnel and underground station contract was awarded to a consortium of Lendlease, John Holland, Bouygues and Capella Capital on Sunday.

The remaining contracts are the Rail Infrastructure works package, for which expressions of interest will be called this week; and the Wider Network Enhancements work package, which is being issued on a case-by-case basis.

There’s also the major rollingstock contract, which includes 65 new high capacity metro trains, and was awarded to a Downer/CRRC/Plenary joint venture last year.

High capacity signalling is designed to allow trains to safely run closer together, meaning they can run more often. Andrews says the technology will enable trains every two to three minutes on the Sunbury to Cranbourne-Pakenham line via the Metro Tunnel.

Dedicated control centres will be built in Dandenong and Sunshine to support the new signalling.

Andrews said the Rail Infrastructure works package – set to go out for EoIs this week – will be a $1 billion deal to design and construct the eastern tunnel entrance in South Yarra, the western tunnel entrance in Kensington, and associated works across the Sunbury to Cranbourne-Pakenham corridor, including upgrading track power and conventional signalling.