AusRAIL, Market Sectors

News in Brief – February 6th 2013

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Multi-user iron ore facility for Esperance Tasmanian heritage railway to close ARTC projects commissioned Moreton Bay Rail Link shortlist </span> <p><strong>Multi-user iron ore facility for Esperance</strong><br />The WA Government has given the go-ahead for the next stage of developing a new iron ore export facility at the Port of Esperance.</p><p>The Esperance Port Authority (EPA) board has recommended the start of a procurement process to identify a private sector consortium to design, finance, construct and operate a multi-user iron ore facility (MUIOF).</p><p>The MUIOF would be located within the EPA boundary, but would be financed, built and operated by the private sector under a lease arrangement with Esperance Ports Sea and Land.</p><p>WA Transport minister, Troy Buswell, said potential proponents were invited to apply for pre-qualification to participate in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.</p><p>“Following this initial step, potential proponents will be shortlisted and invited to participate in a RFP process. It is expected the preferred proponent will be identified later this year,” he said.</p><p>Recent market sounding conducted for the EPA indicated that initially it may be commercially viable to develop a facility for an additional 10 to 12 million tonnes per year from Yilgarn iron ore producers. Currently the port has an operating licence to handle 11.5 million tonnes a year.</p><p><strong>Tasmanian heritage railway to close</strong><br />A privately operated heritage railway and significant tourist draw card on Tasmania’s West Coast will close in April with the loss of 48 jobs as the result of falling passenger numbers and failing infrastructure.</p><p>The West Coast Wilderness Railway (WCWR), which is commercially operated by the Federal Group under a 20 year agreement with the Tasmanian Government, was established over a decade ago at a cost of around $38m using Federal and State Government grant funding.</p><p>Five years ago in its heyday the WCWR carried up to 45,000 tourists a year, but this has now dropped to just over 30,000.</p><p>Federal Group spokesman Daniel Hanna told <em>ABC Radio</em> that the business is no longer viable.</p><p>&quotThere was a critical need to invest in infrastructure and the second, of course, has been reduced demand and a downturn in visitor numbers and passenger numbers,” he said.</p><p>“Damage from a severe thunderstorm and a landslip in the past two years has added to escalating maintenance costs,” he said.</p><p>Tasmanian Infrastructure Minister, David O’Byrne says it will cost between $15 million and $20 million to maintain the railway and the government cannot afford the investment on its own.</p><p><strong>ARTC projects commissioned </strong><br />The commissioning of the new 2km passing loop by Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) at Ambleside in the Adelaide Hills will allow heavier, longer trains to operate on the Melbourne to Adelaide corridor.</p><p>It was funded as part of a $74m investment in new and extended passing loops on the corridor that will allow it to accommodate trains of up to 1800m in length. Around 80 trains a week use the corridor, a number set for grow in coming years.</p><p>A number of local improvement works including a new access track for local emergency and noise mitigation measures were also completed as part of the project by ARTC in partnership with Transfield Services Ltd.</p><p>On the Sydney to Brisbane corridor, ten private railway level crossings have been closed and replaced with one protected level crossing with flashing lights and warning bells with the commissioning of the Kolodong Road crossing near Taree, NSW.</p><p>“Kolodong Road has a reputation with train crews as a 40km/h speed restriction was in place because of the ten private crossings falling within a two kilometre stretch of track,” executive general manager Tim Ryan said.</p><p>“Removal of the private crossings now allows trains to travel at normal speeds, bringing with it operational benefits,” Ryan said.</p><p><strong>Moreton Bay Rail Link shortlist</strong><br />The final shortlist of tenderers for the design and construction of the Moreton Bay Rail Link has been reduced from four to two with the Salini Bielby Winslow Joint Venture and Thiess Contractors being successful.</p><p>Abigroup Contractors and John Holland Queensland with Leighton Contractors were the unsuccessful tenderers.</p><p>Transport minister Anthony Albanese, Queensland transport minister Scott Emerson and Moreton Bay Regional Council mayor Allan Sutherland said the two remaining tenderers that have been short-listed to further develop their design and construction solutions for the project are companies with national and international credentials.</p><p>“The two shortlisted teams will now work independently to finalise the key features and layout of the dual track line, bridges and associated road and precinct works,” Albanese said.</p><p>As well as the new rail line, works will include construction of six new stations and train stabling facility at Kippa-Ring.”</p><p>The remaining two tenderers will submit their tenders including cost proposals in May 2013 with the contract to be awarded by mid-to-late 2013.</p><p>The Moreton Bay Rail Link is a $1.147bn project which has being jointly funded with the Australian Government providing $742 million, the Queensland Government $300 million and land and the Moreton Bay Regional Council $105m.</p>