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Newcastle Light Rail tender released

Revitalising Newcastle. Photo: Revitalising Newcastle

Transport for NSW is seeking a technical advisor for the Newcastle Light Rail project.

An open request for tenders was published to NSW eTendering on August 11, seeking “experienced and suitably qualified organisations for the provision  of engineering, urban design and light rail systems advice for the Newcastle Light Rail project”.

The Newcastle Light Rail line is proposed to run from the Wickham Transport Interchange – currently under construction – through to the Newcastle CBD, at Pacific Park.

To make way for the development, the state government shut down the heavy rail line into Newcastle at Hamilton station on Boxing Day last year. When Wickham Transport Interchange is completed, the line will re-open as far as Wickham.

The long term plan to destroy the heavy rail line beyond Wickham has drawn heavy criticism – and a lawsuit – from community group Save Our Rail.

With the state of that case currently in limbo in the Court of Appeal, the government is moving on with its plan to deliver a light rail network to Newcastle. A fortnight after it revealed the design for the new interchange, TfNSW announced the technical advisor tender.

“Make no mistake, we are getting on with the job of delivering these key revitalisation projects for the people of Newcastle,” state transport minister Andrew Constance said. “This tender represents the next step towards delivering light rail and follows geotechnical investigations that took place earlier this year.”

The tender calls for suitably qualified organisations to fulfil the role of technical advisor. Tenderers must be able to demonstrate specialist experience in engineering, urban design and light rail systems.

Specifically, TfNSW says it will only consider tenderers who have undertaken the design of a light rail “or other relevant rail infrastructure” development project worth more than $50 million, within the last five years.

“We are committed to getting light rail in Newcastle right,” Constance continued.

“To do this, we need the right people to advise us on a range of technical studies that will feed into the planning process.

“The delivery of a well-planned light rail network in Newcastle will help reignite confidence in the region, boosting jobs and visitor numbers.”

Further consultation and the release of planning documents for Newcastle Light Rail are expected in late 2015.

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