Rail R U OK? Day. Graphic: TrackSAFE Foundation

Thursday marks Rail’s R U OK? Day

April 16, 2015 will be the inaugural industry-wide Rail R U OK? Day, with the TrackSAFE Foundation leading a group of Australian companies to raise awareness of depression and trauma as a result of rail incidents.

A spin-off of the R U OK? not-for-profit, Rail R U OK? Day is designed to focus on engaging rail staff in conversations about their emotional status by promoting them to answer the simple question: Are you okay?

“We believe stations are a place of interaction and engagement within communities that foster people coming together,” TrackSAFE said.

“Let us extend this sentiment into our work environment by showing support for our rail staff.”

Several major Australian rail businesses have signed on for the inaugural Rail R U OK? Day, including ARTC, Aurizon, Bombardier, Downer, John Holland, Genesee & Wyoming, Pacific National, UGL and several others.

Paul Larsen, chief executive of Brookfield Rail, which is also signed up to take part, said the company is committed to helping its employees feel safe and supported at work.

“Looking after ourselves and each other is important for all of us,” Larsen said. “However we are all guilty of getting caught up in the details of our days and failing to realise those around us might not be ok.

“Together the rail industry is making positive steps to increase awareness of the importance of mental health by encouraging rail employees to connect with, and offer support to, one another.

“We realise that regular, meaningful conversations can really help someone who is struggling to feel supported and connected,” he continued.

“That is why we will be actively encouraging employees to start meaningful conversations with their workmates by asking them, are you okay?”

Brookfield will coordinate a series of activities on Thursday aimed at encouraging their employees to take part in these conversations.

TrackSAFE and R U OK? have partnered to deliver the new campaign. Click here for more information.

Cranbourne-Pakenham Upgrade. Graphic: Labor Victoria

Labor replaces ‘Liberal con’ plan for Cranbourne-Pakenham with its own

Victoria’s new Labor Government has dropped the former Liberal Government’s $2.5 billion upgrade proposal for the Cranbourne-Pakenham line, and has launched an upgrade plan of its own.

The Andrews Government announced on Tuesday that it will not proceed with the existing proposal for the Cranbourne-Pakenham line, which it said “was brought to the previous government as a complex unsolicited bid by a private sector consortium”.

Labor said the plan “didn’t go far enough and couldn’t even deliver what the Liberals had promised,” and said it estimated the project costs would blow out to $3.1 billion – $600 million more than the plan estimated.

“The Liberals promised billions of taxpayer dollars to a private sector consortium without knowing if the project would even work,” state treasurer Tim Pallas said.

“The Liberals lied about their own project, disregarded their own process, and came close to blowing billions of taxpayer dollars on a proposal that didn’t stack up.”

Minister for public transport Jacinta Allan added: “The unsolicited bid was riddled with problems. It wasn’t up to scratch and didn’t go far enough. We’re getting on with a bigger and better plan.”

Private consortium members MTR, John Holland Rail and UGL will reportedly be paid $30 million in compensation, and the Andrews Government will buy their intellectual property for the upgrade to the line.

The new plan will see 37 new trains added to the line, with 50% of their construction to take place in Australia.

Nine level crossings will be removed between Dandenong and Caulfield, and four stations will be rebuilt: Clayton, Carnegie, Murrumbeena and Hughesdale.

A new train depot and maintenance facility will be put in Pakenham, and new and upgraded rail infrastructure will be installed in the corridor, including power and signalling upgrades.

“Fewer level crossings and more trains means fewer delays and more services, every single day,” Allan said. “It will transform Melbourne’s busiest rail line.

“Removing level crossings will create Victorian jobs. Building trains locally will protect Victorian jobs. This helps our transport system and our economy.”

Premier Andrews said: “I live in the south-east so I know the level crossings nightmare all too well.

“The boom gates between Dandenong and Caulfield stay down for up to 80 minutes over the morning peak. If we don’t act now, transport in the south-east will eventually grind to a halt.

“We’re removing 50 of our most dangerous and congested level crossings, to get people home safer and sooner.”

Fairfield Airport line - WA PTA

Nalder announces EOI candidates for Forrestfield-Airport link

WA minister for transport Dean Nalder has announced the five consortia which have expressed interest in delivering the $2 billion Forrestfield-Airport rail link.

The state government said the five “strong” EOIs for the project represent “another important milestone” in its delivery.

Nalder announced EOIs from:

– Connecting Forrestfield (Lend Lease and Ghella)

– CRCC-BGC-VDM JV (China Railway Construction Corporation, BGC and VDM)

– Forrestfield Connect (Acciona, BAM and Ferrovial Agroman)

– JHL JV (Leighton Contractors and John Holland)

– SI-NRW JV (Salini Impregilo and NRW)

The state will now shortlist companies to progress to the Request for Proposal stage. Geotechnical studies for the project are already nearing completion.

Nalder said the EOIs showed a high level of market interest, with the project attracting major international contractors to Perth.

“The strong mix of national and international respondents is a positive development for the project and shows the market has been well engaged, informed and is prepared to bid for this innovative project,” Nalder said.

Shortlisted respondents will be announced in late April, with the contract to be awarded by mid-2016. It will be a single design and construct package including tunnel and civil infrastructure, track, stations and rail systems with signalling, communications and power, the department said.

The geotechnical work, already underway and nearing completion, includes water and soil quality sampling along the route. More than 100 bore holes have been drilled as part of the geotechnical investigations and samples have been taken from 70 monitoring wells.

The minister said the sampling would help the project team make informed decisions about the best way to proceed with tunnelling for the new rail line.

“This innovative project will see two rail tunnels bored underground from Bayswater, beneath the Swan River and Perth Airport, out to Forrestfield,” he said.

“It is vital that we are aware of any potential soil or water conditions prior to tunnelling, to ensure construction impacts during the delivery phase are minimised.”

Tender process ?too expensive?

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5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt mso-para-margin-top:0cm mso-para-margin-right:0cm mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt mso-para-margin-left:0cm line-height:107% mso-pagination:widow-orphan font-size:11.0pt font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin mso-fareast-language:EN-US} </style> <![endif]–></p><p class="MsoNormal">John Holland’s executive general manager for transport services Karl Mociak said Australia’s tender process is too costly, and leaves unsuccessful bidders with a bad taste in their mouths, and with a serious blot on their balance sheet.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“There’s a bit of an education process required,” Mociak said. “We need to educate our clients of some of the real costs of tendering. That’s an issue for all of us.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The cost of bidding in this country is prohibitive.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Mociak said unsuccessful bids on major projects can cost contractors more than $50 million at times, meaning if you lose on a bid, “it’s a significant impact on your bottom line.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Leighton Contractors general manager Glen Mace said the matter needed to be addressed through consultation between contractors and tender clients.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“We need to get in with clients, ministers and governments so we can understand what they’re trying to get out of a tender process,” Mace said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“It’s about trying to understand from both sides – from the contracting point of view but also the client’s point of view – how can we achieve that same outcome for those clients, without going through all of that process? Do we need to reduce the amount of detail?”</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Lend Lease general manager for rail Paul Feris said the tender process was made more difficult in Australia because it varies on a state-to-state basis.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">He suggested Infrastructure Australia look to generate a national set of tender guidelines, that could be conformed to by bidders regardless of state.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp</span>“The amount of work you have to do in the tender process is quite phenomenal at times,” Feris said.</p><p>&nbsp</p>

Speakers, exhibitors prepare for AusRAIL 2014

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> It’s sure to be a who’s who of the Australasian rail industry next week at the 2014 AusRAIL Conference &amp Exhibition, at Perth’s Convention and Exhibition Centre. </span> <p>Industry leaders, rail manufacturers and operators from the Australasian region and beyond will meet and discuss the latest industry developments, and enjoy the invaluable networking opportunities that the conference and exhibition provides.<br /><br />The two-day conference and exhibition kicks off on Tuesday, November 11, following welcoming drinks at 4pm on Monday, November 10.<br /><br />UGL, Bombardier, John Holland, Turner &amp Townsend, Fluor and Laing O’Rourke are just some of the names to look out for in the exhibition hall.<br /><br />The AusRAIL 2014 exhibition is free to attend. For more information, <a href="http://www.ausrail.com/rail-conference/exhibition-entry-rego-form?utm_source=Media_Link&amputm_medium=Advert&amputm_content=REX&amputm_campaign=P14M01">click here</a>.<br /><br />The exhibition is run alongside the AusRAIL Conference.<br /><br />On Tuesday, a welcoming address by Australasian Railway Association chief Bryan Nye will be followed by an address from deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and regional development Warren Truss. A panel of executives from the rail construction industry will also feature, before the conference splits into three technical streams after lunch.<br /><br />Separate streams will be run by the Railway Technical Society of Australasia, the Rail Track Association Australia and the Institute of Railway Signal Engineers, on Tuesday afternoon.<br /><br />Delegates will come together again on Wednesday, November 12 for a full day of speakers, including an opposition address from shadow minister for transport Anthony Albanese and a state address from the WA minister for transport Dean Nalder.<br /><br />The AusRAIL 2014 Gala Dinner on Wedesday night is another not-to-be-missed event. The dinner, sponsored this year by UGL, is a fixture in the Australasian rail industry calendar every year.<br /><br />For more information, visit <a href="http://www.ausrail.com/rail-conference/exhibition-entry-rego-form/front-page?utm_source=Media_Link&amputm_medium=Advert&amputm_content=REX&amputm_campaign=P14M01">the event’s official website</a>.</p>

Two steps forward, one step back on Dandenong rail upgrade

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Victoria’s government has made progress towards finalising contract terms with the consortium set to deliver the $2 billion Cranbourne-Pakenham rail upgrade, but will not sign-off on a final deal until next year. </span> <p>Public transport minister Terry Mulder last Friday said the state government had signed an agreement to progress the project with the Rail Transformation Consortium (RTC).<br /><br />RTC will deliver the $2 – $2.5 billion upgrade, which is set to include 25 new high capacity Metro trains, modern and reliable signalling, the removal of four level crossings and new stations at Carnegie, Murrumbeena and Clayton.<br /><br />But the agreement signed last week is not the final deal: Mulder said the agreement signed last week sets out the requirements RTC must meet in order to reach contractual close in mid-2015.<br /><br />It is understood that the November election is seen as a barrier which must be overcome before the Coalition will sign a final deal with RTC.<br /><br />“The government will work hard to finalise all aspects of the project with RTC so that we can get on with the job of delivering the project as soon as possible,” Mulder said.<br /><br />“This project is one of the first to be assessed under the government’s Unsoilcited Proposal Guideline and needs to go through a rigorous evaluation process to ensure the project will deliver the best outcome for Victorian taxpayers.”<br /><br />There are six separate packages for delivery as part of the project, and Mulder said the government will study each component carefully.<br /><br />“We want the best design, the best delivery timeframe and the best value for money and we won’t settle for anything less,” Mulder said.<br /><br />“We expect that we will be in a position to sign contracts in mid-2015, subject to the evaluation processes demonstrating the project represents value for money.<br /><br />“Infrastructure completion is expected around 2019 subject to the outcome of the competitive tender process.”<br /><br />Consortium member UGL was positive about the news, saying the Friday agreement was “an integral step” in the development process.<br /><br />“We are delighted that the Victorian Government has chosen UGL and our partners MTR Corporation and John Holland to assist in delivering this critical infrastructure investment which will transform the Cranbourne Pakenham rail corridor.<br /><br />“UGL is proud of the strong performance track record it has delivered in collaboration with MTR Corporation and John Holland, across the Melbourne passenger train franchise.<br /><br />“We anticipate delivering an innovative, value for money solution for the Victorian Government to significantly increase capacity and performance along the Cranbourne Pakenham rail corridor.”</p>

Alstom to deliver NWRL trains

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> A $400m deal will see French multinational Alstom deliver automated trainsets and signalling for the in-development North West Rail Link in Sydney. </span> <div>Alstom will deliver 22 Metropolis trainsets and Urbalis 400 communications-based train control for the network, which itself is being delivered and operated by the consortium of MTR Corporation (Australia), John Holland, Leighton Contractors, UGL Rail Services and Plenary Group.<br /><br />NSW premier Mike Baird and minister for transport Gladys Berejiklian announced the deal on Monday, which is part of the $3.7bn operations contract signed by the consortium.<br /><br />Baird said NWRL services will start in the first half of 2019, and will operate at 15 trains an hour during peak periods, operating at 98% on-time running. <br /><br />“The NSW Government promised 12 trains an hour but we’ll be able to start with 15 trains an hour in the peak – with significant room to grow as the North West’s population increases over coming decades,” he said.<br /><br />NWRL is scheduled to be Australia’s first fully-automated rapid transit rail network. The development includes eight new railway stations, and the network will also include five existing railway stations set to be upgraded to rapid transit status.<br /><br />The Public Private Partnership is the largest ever awarded in NSW, and will see the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium deliver NWRL and operate it for 15 years.<br /><br />Alstom has made rapid transit trains for Singapore, Hong Kong, Milan and Amsterdam.<br /><br />“With tunnelling now underway and a contract signed to operate the rail network – the NSW Government is well and truly delivering,” Berejiklian said.<br /><br />“The country’s first new fully-automated rapid transit trains are being designed to meet the needs of Sydney.<br /><br />At the start of operations, the link will use six-carriage trains, however more carriages and trains can be added as demand increases, with the platforms to be built long enough for eight-carriage trains, according to the minister.<br /><br />“We’re working to fine-tune the seating configuration, but there will be plenty of seats as well as brand new innovations like multi-purpose areas for prams and luggage,” she continued.<br /><br />“There will also be customer service assistants at every station and they’ll also be moving through the network during the day and night.<br /><br />“If we receive a mandate next March, the Rapid Transit network will be extended through the CBD and west to Bankstown, giving public transport customers right across Sydney access to fast, reliable and modern turn-up-and-go services.”

NWRL tunnelling begins

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> One of four NFM Technologies boring machines has begun tunnelling work for Sydney’s North West Rail Link, as part of a $1.15bn contract. </span> <p>’Elizabeth’, the first of four 900 tonne tunnel boring machines manufactured by NFM in Lyon, France, began drilling work yesterday, after being put together at the Bella Vista tunnelling site over the past seven weeks.</p><p>The 120m long machine will help build 15km of twin tunnels required for the NWRL, the line destined to connect Sydney’s north west with the CBD via the existing Epping-Chatswood rail link.</p><p>The four tunnel boring machines being delivered by NFM are part of the $1.15bn tunnelling contract, which is held by the consortium of Thiess, John Holland, and Dragados.</p><p>NSW premier Mike Baird said the first of the four machines was delivered four months ahead of schedule.</p><p>“This is a huge milestone in the delivery of this project,” Baird said. “It shows we are getting on with meeting our commitments and delivering the vital infrastructure this state desperately needs.</p><p>“I’m delighted to stand here as the first massive tunnel boring machine begins its historic journey digging Australia’s longest railway tunnels.”</p><p>Baird and state minister for transport Gladys Berejiklian marked the start of tunnelling and sent ‘Elizabeth’ on its way at a small ceremony at the Bella Vista site.</p><p>“The North West Rail Link has been a top priority for this Government and I am pleased to announce today that the next two tunnel boring machines are also expected to be in the ground before the end of this year, ahead of schedule,&quot Berejiklian said.</p><p>NWRL, which is to be a fully automated driverless rail line, is due to open in 2019. Berejiklian said it was the start of Transport for NSW’s planned Sydney Rapid Transport project, which aims to expand automated rail through to the CBD and on to Bankstown.</p><p>“The NSW Government has made it clear that if we receive a mandate next March, the Sydney Rapid Transit network will be extended through the CBD and west to Bankstown, giving public transport customers right across Sydney access to fast, reliable and modern turn-up-and-go services,” she said.</p><p>“Sydney Rapid Transit will reduce crowding right across the network – unblocking major bottlenecks in the city and allowing up to 60% more trains every hour across the train network.”</p><p>Berejiklian congratulated the Thiess John Holland Dragados consortium, and project director Rodd Staples, on the work so far.</p>

Industry prepares for Rail Careers Week

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The next generation of Australian rail workers needs to be found, and the Australasian Railway Association’s annual Rail Careers Week is set for September 8 through 14, with a number of events planned targeted at increasing public interest in a job in rail. </span> <div>“Rail is a major National Industry, employing more than 110,000 people in a wide range of occupations, disciplines and professions,” the ARA’s Rail Careers website says.<br /><br />“More than 170 companies comprising private and public operators, passenger and freight operators, track owners and managers, manufacturers and suppliers operate in urban, regional, and rural areas of Australia.”<br /><br />The annual rail week, in a similar vein to the recent Rail Safety Week, is aimed at targeting schools and other community centres to raise awareness of the rail industry.<br /><br />Brookfield and John Holland will partner in WA for the Bringing our Daughters to Work day, targeting females aged 16-20 to boost the industry’s female workforce.<br /><br />In NSW, Downer will show off its capabilities and services, with the company’s apprentices on hand to share their stories to potential new recruits.<br /><br />CF Asia Pacific will also provide an industry presentation, to which local schools have been invited, at its Golbourn workshop.<br /><br />More information is available at www.railcareers.net.au

Thiess, Brookfield big winners at ARA awards

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> John Holland, Thiess and Brookfield Rail were among the big names to take out top gongs at the Australasian Railway Association’s (ARA) annual awards night last week. </span> <p>Brookfield Rail won the award for Corporate Excellence.</p><p>“I am proud our achievements have now been recognised on anational level by the ARA,” Brookfield Rail chief executive Paul Larsen said. “Brookfield Rail has experienced a period of rapid growth since 2011, both in terms of infrastructure investment and the development of our people.”</p><p>Larsen was pleased the company had been able to “harness this growth into ensuring Brookfield Rail is a thriving and profitable business that delivers direct financial benefits to our customers and the economy of WA.”</p><p>Since privatisation of WA’s 5,500km open access, multi-user freight network in 2001, operator Brookfield Rail has seen tonnages transported in the network increase approximately 113%. Tonnages went over 70 million in 2013.</p><p>Brookfield was joined in the winners’ circle by Thiess, which took out the Safety award, and had Tayne Evans awarded as Rail Contractors’ Engineer of the Year.</p><p>John Holland took out the Innovation &amp Technology Award.</p><p>Two individuals from Metro Trains Melbourne were recognised Chole Alsop was awarded with the Customer Service gong, and Norm Grady took home the Career Achievement award.</p><p>Full award winners were as follows:</p><ul><li>Career Achievement – Mr Norm Grady from Metro Trains Melbourne</li><li>Corporate – Brookfield Rail</li><li>Customer Service – Ms Chloe Alsop, Metro Trains Melbourne</li><li>Individual – Ms Amanda Edsall, V/Line</li><li>Innovation &amp Technology – John Holland Pty Ltd</li><li>Rail Contractors Engineer of the Year – Mr Tayne Evans, Thiess Pty Ltd</li><li>Safety – Thiess Pty Ltd</li><li>Systems Engineering – Mr Ian Joyner, Queensland Rail</li><li>Workforce Diversity – Aurizon Holdings Limited</li><li>Young Rail Professional – Mathieu Gonzalez, North Strathfield Rail Underpass Alliance</li><li>Young Rail Engineer – Esther Warren, John Holland Pty Ltd</li><li>TrackSAFE Foundation – Aurizon Holdings Ltd</li></ul><p>Chairman of the ARA Lindsay Tanner congratulated all of the winners.</p><p>“I was incredibly encouraged by the amount of talent in rail recognised last night, across a broad range of professions and sectors of the industry,” Tanner said.</p><p>“In Workforce Diversity for example Aurizon adopted an innovative approach by developing a Diversity Council which executed a Diversity Plan that has set clear goals to grow the number of women working within the company, particularly in management roles, and has achieved a sustainable cultural transformation.</p><p>“The winner of the Career Achievement category, Norm Grady, has been working in rail for 45 years starting off as a junior engineer and making his way steadily up the management chain to chief engineer at Metro Trains Melbourne.</p><p>“Norm has shown outstanding displays of personal integrity and leadership throughout his career and, outside of his own professional career achievements, he acts as a mentor to many younger engineering professionals to help guide and oversee their development in the industry.”</p>

Preferred operator selected for North West Rail Link

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The New South Wales Government announced yesterday that the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium has been selected as the preferred operator to deliver the North West Rail Link’s operations contract. </span> <p>The consortium comprises MTR Corporation (Australia), John Holland, Leighton Contractors, UGL Rail Services and Plenary Group.</p><div>Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian said two consortiums were competing for the operations contract.

Glenfield Junction Alliance wins Railway Project of the Year

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Glenfield Junction Alliance has won the 2014 Railway Project of the Year Award by the Railway Technical Society of Australasia (RTSA). </span> <p>The Glenfield Junction Alliance comprising Transport for NSW, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Bouygues Travaux Publics and John Holland has been recognised for its work on the Glenfield Junction project, which formed a critical part of the South West Rail Link Glenfield Transport Interchange project.</p><p>The Glenfield Junction project included a rebuild of Glenfield station. The station facilitates interchange between the rail lines and provides various improvements, including an upgraded rail/bus interchange grade-separated northern and southern flyovers upgraded platforms and platform canopies a multi-story commuter car park covered bus stops and taxi stands a covered walkway and an expanded rail corridor.</p><p>The station and rail/bus interchange were completed and opened for service in September 2012&mdashfour months ahead of schedule. Delivery within this short timeframe was impressive, since the alliance had to overcome the challenge of working within a live passenger and freight rail corridor with highly restricted site geography that required interfacing with the Southern Sydney Freight Line, an ethane gas pipeline, a nearby waste landfill, a floodplain, and protected forest areas. In addition, GJA was granted only four weekend track possessions a year.&nbsp</p><p>The RTSA Railway Project Award recognises achievements in the railway industry and&nbspconsiders issues such as project contribution, originality and engineering capability and&nbspcomplexity.</p><p>Mike Jenkins, chair of the alliance leadership team said it was a great honour for Glenfield Junction Alliance to receive such a prestigious award from the preeminent industry group for rail in Australasia.</p><p>“The alliance has been recognised for successful design and construction of three major&nbspstructures, in a live railway environment, which was delivered on-time and on-budget,” Jenkins said, adding that the project had zero rail reliability incidents with 9980 customers&nbspthrough the station each weekday.</p><p>The awards ceremony took place at the CORE Gala Dinner in Adelaide on May 7.</p><p>The award follows on from project recognition received last year when the alliance won the&nbspEngineers Australia 2013 Sydney Division award, for Infrastructure Project of the Year.</p><div>&nbsp

Rail excellence recognised at TLISC awards

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Rail Industry was well represented at the recent Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC) Awards for Excellence. </span> <p>Rail infrastructure company John Holland Rail received two Awards, Innovation and Excellence in Workforce Development – Rail and the Return on Investment in Skills Award.</p><div>The Skills Council this year introduced a new category, TLISC Trainee of the Year, in which Harsco Metals employee, Eddie Healey was the rail finalist.

Engenco wins Roy Hill contract

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Engenco has won a $4m contract to provide rail workers and train drivers for the Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia. </span> <p>The company said it has signed a contract with John Holland Group, as subcontractor to Samsung C &amp T, for the supply of specialist railroad labour by Engenco’s Momentum business.</p><div>&nbsp

Bids in to run Sydney’s $8.3bn North West Rail Link

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The New South Wales Government has received bids from two consortia for the North West Rail Link’s Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract. </span> <p>The two consortia shortlisted earlier this year for the Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract both successfully lodged their proposals last week with Transport for NSW on how they plan to run the rail link – the first stage of Sydney’s new rapid transit network.<br /><br />The two consortia, made up of almost 30 companies from across Australia and around the world, are:</p><ul><li>Northwest Rapid Transit – MTR Corporation (Australia), John Holland, Leighton Contractors, UGL Rail Services, Plenary Group</li><li>TransForm – Serco Australia, Bombardier Transportation Australia, SNC-Lavalin Capital, McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust), John Laing Investments, Macquarie Capital Group.</li></ul><div>&nbsp

AusRAIL PLUS 2013 Live: Tuesday November 26

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Welcome to the Rail Express live blog from AusRAIL PLUS 2013. We’ll be updating this page between 9am and 5pm AEST. Refresh the page to check for updates! </span> <p><strong>9.22am:</strong>&nbspGood morning everyone, and welcome to our live blog at AusRAIL PLUS 2013. It’s an exciting day today and we aim to update the blog throughout day one of the conference, keeping our readership across the latest developments of what is shaping up to be the biggest conference in the southern hemisphere. <br /><br />Feel free to add any comments below or tweet us:&nbsp<a href="http://twitter.com/RailExpressNews"><strong style="line-height: 1.5em">@RailExpressNews</strong></a></p><hr /><p><strong>&nbsp9.30am: </strong>Brand new rail research centre launched from AusRAIL. The Australasian Centre for Rail Research (ACRI) will ensure that the legacy of the CRC for Rail Innovation continues on after the CRC ceases next year and that innovation and strong research outcomes continue to be delivered to the OZ rail industry.</p><hr /><p><strong>10.00am:</strong>&nbspCEO of ARTC John Fullerton says&nbsp<span style="line-height: normal">OZ freight rail industry has never been in a better state as it is now.<br /></span>“Freight rail sector poised for more positive outcomes,” Fullerton said.<br />Great news for Australia’s historically poor performing North South corridor.<br />“We are seeing the early signs of modal shift on the corridor,” Fullerton said, largely attributable to improved infrastructure and better train equipment.<br />Fullerton was speaking from the CEO Forum: The importance of R&ampD in shaping rail business.&nbsp</p><hr /><p><strong>10.15am:</strong>&nbspThe CEO forum continues, as Sydney Trains boss, Howard Collins, says the key to good development for the rail industry will be the the successful combination of innovative minds and &quotreal rail experience.&quot</p><p>Lisa Stabler, meanwhile, described how the rail industry needs to compete with roads by working, through research and development, to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of rail.</p><p>And John Fullerton and Sir David Higgins are in aggreance on one key issue: &quotthere’s no such thing as a good level crossing.&quot</p><hr /><p><strong>11.15am:</strong>&nbspThe World Congress on Railway Research presentations are underway, as Peter Skinner describes his team’s work into urban railway station access.</p><hr /><p><strong>11.55am:</strong>&nbspThe second presentation in the WCRR series sees SNCF’s Yann Riffonneau taking delegates through the concept of energy storage. He explains how energy storage can improve consistency and reliability of plant, and goes through several potential ways in which energy can be stored in the rail industry. SNCF’s tools allow for evaluation and sensibility studies in various scenarios, for those looking to invest in energy storage equipment.</p><hr /><p><strong>12.20pm:&nbsp</strong>Senior Risk Analyst at RSSB from London, UK, Jay Heavisides, tells the WCRR delegates about the importance of safety performance indicators (SPIs) in heavy industry. RSSB has put together a guidance document for organisations to assess their SPIs. Heavisides emphasises that RSSB’s document is not a checklist, but is rather the results of a study into SPIs, and their uses in heavy industry.<br />&nbsp</p><hr /><p><strong>12.23pm:</strong> The Rail Express Stand at AusRAIL. If you’re here come and say hello and pick up some free magazines. We’re at stand 13 in Hall 1. <br /><br /><img width="350" height="153" src="http://i.imgur.com/uVWclrM.jpg" alt="" /></p><hr /><p><strong>2.03pm: </strong>Live from RSNA Afternoon Technical Stream, according to Austrade’s Peter Ironmonger, Australian rail has massive capabailities, smarts and advantages that can be exported o/s including our ‘brand’ in heavy haul and resources.<br />Plenty of help on hand from Austrade, Austrade staff at AusRAIL for more info.<br />Updates to follow on key markets overseas where OZ rail capabilities can be leveraged such as Thailand, India, UAE and GCC.</p><hr /><p><strong>2.15pm:</strong>&nbspThe exhibition hall has been filling up with people over the last couple of hours. Here are some shots from Informa’s Charles Macdonald from the floor!</p><p><img align="middle" src="http://i.imgur.com/q8mkjO4.jpg" alt="" /></p><p><img align="middle" src="http://i.imgur.com/i73c5sR.jpg" alt="" /></p><p><img align="middle" src="http://i.imgur.com/Lzzo9XF.jpg" alt="" /></p><hr /><p><b>224pm: </b>Austrade’s Peter Ironmonger and RSNA’s Garry Whiting shared with delegates info on Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme – a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters.<br />Important for OZ rail suppliers to know this scheme exists as it encourages SMEs to develop export markets and reimburses 50% of eligible export promotion expenses. For more information see: <a href="http://Austrade’s Peter Ironmonger and RSNA’s Garry Whiting shared with delegates info on Austrade’s Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme – a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters. Important for OZ rail suppliers to know this scheme exists as it encourages SMEs to develop export markets and reimburses 50% of eligible export promotion expenses. For more information see www.austrade.gov.au/Export/Export-Grants " target="_blank">www.austrade.gov.au/Export/Export-Grants&nbsp</a></p><hr /><p><strong>2.30pm: </strong>According to Austrade’s Ankur Bhatia, there is currently massive rail development occurring in India which have given rise to plenty of opportunities for Australian rail companies. Boom in India includes AU$4bn investment in the country’s Dedicated Freight Corridor project AU$27bn investment in urban metro projects along with rail expansion and modernisation program including 500km new lines, 750km doubling tracks and 450km gauge conversion.</p><hr /><p><strong>2.47pm: </strong>Meanwhile, investing in our nation’s future engineers is investing in the future of our rail industry, according to ARA CEO Bryan Nye.<br />With this in mind, 8 engineering students from the University of Wollongong and the University of Western Sydney arrived at AusRAIL PLUS today to ‘Meet a Rail Engineer – and&nbspindustry led initiative developed by the ARA whereby engineering students are provided with a unique opportunity to spend quality time with a practicing rail engineer, with the aim to inspire and attract future engineers to rail.&nbsp<br />ARA members volunteered their top rail engineers to mentor and guide the six students at AusRAIL PLUS where they visited exhibitors, answered engineering related questions and highlighted the benefits of applying their skills to the rail industry.<br />Participating industry companies in the ‘Meet a Rail Engineer’ initiative are Australian Rail Track Corporation, Bombardier, Brookfield Rail, Downer Rail, John Holland, Leighton and Pacific National.</p><hr /><p>&nbsp</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5em"><strong>2.57pm: </strong>Network Rail’s Nigel Ash tells delegates at the Afternoon Technical Stream that there are plenty of opportunities for Australian rail manufacturers to supply to Network Rail which Network Rail which owns an operates Britain’s infrastructure.<br /></span><span style="line-height: 1.5em">With an annual capital spend of 3.</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em">4.5 billion pounds, Ash says that Network Rail has a fairly liberal, open-access market which makes it easier for OZ rail companies to break into the market.<br />See: &nbsp</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em"><a href="http://www.achilles.com" target="_blank">www.achilles.com</a> and </span><a href="http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/4251.aspx ">www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/4251.aspx </a>for current tenders.</p><hr /><p><strong>3.03pm:&nbsp</strong>What is the fastest growing rail region in the world?<br />By far, it is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.<br />According to UAE trade commissioner, Said Metwalli, who is currently breifing delegates on opportunities for OZ rail companies in the UAE as part of AusRAIL Technical Streams, the GCC is a cluster of countries with an average GDP growth of 4.3% which are experiencing a massive rail boom.<br />With a budget of US$100bn, over 10,000km of track will be built in the next 6 years, with 108,000 new rail staff by the end of the decade.<br />For more information on opportunities, check out the Middle East Rail Conference, 4-5 February 2014, Dubai, UAE, will be which is the next major rail event in the region.&nbspAll key rail decision makers, operators vendors and rail industry representatives will be present.</p><hr /><p><strong>3.20pm: </strong>Saudi Arabia is in contrast to other countries in the region in that it’s vision for rail is not aspirational, Austrade’s Said Metwalli continues. Saudi’s motto is, ‘It needs rail and it needs it now.&quot<br />With Saudi set to become one of, if not the, top exporter of minerals in the coming years, is is currently experiencing a significant boom across freight rail, along with urban rail.<br />Notable projects include the 2750km North South Railway, the Mecca metro, the Haramain 450km high-speed rail network and the Saudi Land Bridge.<br />Any OZ rail company that wants to know more about opportunities in Saudi Arabia and other countires in the region, Austrade has published a GCC rail report. Email Peter Ironmonger for further details: peter.ironmonger@austrade.gov.au&nbsp</p><hr /><p><strong>3.31pm: </strong>Closer to home and Thailand is another country in Asia where rail is booming. According to Austrade Thailand’s Acharaporn Suddhachitta, a total of AU$66bn will be invested in Thailand’s infrastracture Development Program which will be completed by 2020.<br />Encouragingly, rail definitely has the lion’s share of the budget and from&nbspfreight to urban, metro and high-speed, the Government of Thailand has a mighty rail vision.<br />Key is modernisation and rehabilitation of existing lines, along with the construction of four new high speed lines covering 1,447km at the speed of 250 km/h and double tracking 767km rail lines.<br />The government also wants to increase rail freight’s modal share from 2% to 8% by 2020.&nbspAustrade predicts a number of opportunities for Australian rail companies.&nbsp</p><hr /><p><strong>5.18pm:</strong> And that’s a wrap for us, folks. It’s been a busy day with the many sessions, streams and interviews, and we hope that you enjoyed the highlights via our live blog. Thanks for spending time with us today we hope you’ll now excuse us as we scuttle off and put our feet in the biggest bucket of ice we can find after doing a few laps of the monstrously big rail exhibition! <br /><br />We’ll be back just after 9am tomorrow morning to cover all the news, announcements and excitement from day two. Have a good night!</p><hr /><p>&nbsp</p><p>&nbsp</p><p>&nbsp</p><p>&nbsp</p><p><strong>&nbsp</strong></p><p>&nbsp</p>

Work starts on NWRL tunnel boring machines

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Sydney’s $8.3 billion North West Rail Link is a step closer, with the commencement of works on four tunnel boring machines needed for the project. </span> <p>The four gigantic machines will drill the network’s 15km of tunnels – the longest rail tunnels to be built in Australia to date.</p><p>They are being built by French manufacturer, NFM Technologies, in Lyon. NFM was contracted by the consortium in charge of the $1.15 billion tunneling contract, Thiess John Holland Dragados.</p><p>Each machine will weigh more than 900 tonnes.</p><p>They will be built using components from across Europe, with the complex and precision components designed and pre-assembled in France, then sent to China where steel structures will be made.</p><p>Each will be assembled and tested overseas, before being pulled apart and shipped in ten, 40-foot shipping containers, to Australia.</p><p>Those containers, filled with tunnel boring machine parts, will be delivered to Port Botany, while it is expected that the large cutter heads will be delivered into Port Kembla or Newcastle.</p><p>The tunnel bores are being specially designed for Sydney sandstone.</p><p>When they arrive they’ll each be manned by 15 people per shift, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. They will drill at a rate of about 120m a week.</p><p>“The first tunnel boring machine will be in the ground next year and three others will follow soon after,” NSW premier, and minister for Western Sydney, Barry O’Farrell said. “This is an important development in this exciting project.”</p><p>State minister for transport, Gladys Berejiklian, said the French manufacturer, NFM, was well qualified to build the machines.</p><p>“This is highly-specialised equipment which is being made specifically for the north west of Sydney by a world-leader in tunneling which has built more than 100 of these machines for a wide range of geological conditions,” she said.</p><p>“It will be a major logistical feat in itself just getting these huge machines into Sydney – most likely in the middle of the night under escort to minimize the disturbance to as many motorists as possible,” she added.</p>

First major contract awarded for North West Rail Link

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> A joint venture between Thiess (50%) John Holland (25%) and Spanish company Dragados (25%) has been awarded the $1.15bn Tunnel and Station Civil Works contract for the North West Rail Link by the New South Wales Government. </span> <p>Under the contract, the TJHD JV will construct twin 15km tunnels from Bella Vista and Epping – the longest tunnels ever built in Australia – and civil works for five of the eight new stations and two service facilities. The stations are Cherrybrook, Castle Hill, Showground, Norwest and Bella Vista.</p><p>The first of four custom-made tunnel boring machines (TBM) which will be used to construct the six metre diameter tunnels will be in the ground by the end of next year.</p><p>The tunnel contract is expected to be completed in the first half of 2017. At this point, work will then continue along the 36km length of project to lay tracks, fit out stations and deliver Sydney’s new rapid transit trains.</p><p>Together, Thiess and John Holland have built 70% of Australia’s major underground infrastructure over the last 10 years.</p><p>“Together we have more tunnelling experience in Sydney sandstone than any other contractor and when combined with the international experience of Dragados, we will deliver a fantastic transport outcome for the people of north west Sydney,” Thiess managing director Bruce Munro said.</p><p>Upon announcing the contract the government said due to the massive scale of the entire project and its three-contract structure, the final tunnelling contract value may vary due to ongoing fine-tuning and optimisation involving the two other major contracts, for which tenders have yet to be received.</p><p>Any changes would be covered by in the total $8.3bn project cost, announced by the government last week.<br /><br />&nbsp</p>

Two shortlisted for NWRL operations

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Two groups, Northwest Rapid Transit and TransForm have been shortlisted for Sydney’s North West Rail Link operations contract, following an extended Expressions of Interest phase conducted by the NSW government. </span> <p>The Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract includes the construction and installation of track, trains, facilities, stations, car parks, and signaling and operations equipment for the planned 23km rail link connecting Sydney’s north west region to Chatswood where it will link in to the existing CityRail network.</p><p>The Northwest Rapid Transit consortium includes the Australian branch of MTR Corporation, the Hong Kong-listed firm which operates several metro networks around the world, including Hong Kong’s MTR metro system and Metro Trains Melbourne.</p><p>MTR Corporation is teaming up with Australian rail engineer UGL Rail Services and construction company John Holland – both of which are fellow stakeholders in Metro Trains Melbourne.</p><p>Also listed as stakeholders in Northwest Rapid Transit are Leighton Contractors and infrastructure investor/developer Plenary Group.</p><p>The other shortlisted consortium, TransForm, includes the Australian arm of London-listed Serco Group.</p><p>Serco Group owns several rail operations worldwide including Great Southern Rail, which runs major cross-Australian passenger services The Ghan, Indian Pacific, The Overland and The Southern Spirit. It also operates the Docklands Light Railway in London and the Dubai Metro.</p><p>For TransForm, Serco is working with train builder Bombardier Transportation and SNC-Lavalin Capital, the investment and financing arm of engineering and construction company SNC-Lavalin.</p><p>Both Bombardier and SNC-Lavalin are based in Canada. The pair have partnered together before on transportation projects in Malaysia and Turkey.</p><p>Also part of the TransForm consortium is Australian engineering and construction company McConnell Dowell Constructors.</p><p>McConnell Dowell, which is owned by Johannesburg-listed Aveng Limited, was on the consortium which built Sydney’s Eastern Distributor road tunnel.</p><p>Other companies listed on the TransForm consortium include developer John Laing Investments and the Macquarie Capital Group.</p><p>Macquarie Capital Group operates under the same umbrella as Macquarie Atlas Roads, which owns 25% of Sydney’s Westlink M7, and 30% of Canada’s Highway 407 as part of a consortium with SNC-Lavalin.</p><p>NSW minister for transport Gladys Berejiklian announced the two shortlisted groups late last week.</p><p>“We now have the cream of the crop from across Australia and around the world competing to deliver this critical project for the people of Sydney,” Berejiklian said.</p><p>“The NSW Government thanks all those companies who have taken part as we move forward to the next stage of this major contract process.”</p><p>The winning consortium will be contracted to build eight new railway stations for the NWRL network, complete with car parks for 4000 cars in total.</p><p>It will also be tasked with the delivery of the new ‘rapid transit’ single deck trains and the construction and operation of a stabling and maintenance facility.</p><p>The winning group will also convert the Epping to Chatswood rail link for the new ‘rapid transit’ system, and will undertake the installation of tracks, signaling, mechanical and electrical systems.</p><p>Next for the two shortlisted groups is the Request for Proposal process, where each will put forward how they would deliver the OTS contract. The proposals are due by the end of the year, with a contract expected to be awarded in the third quarter next year.</p><p>The OTS contract will be delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP), subject to value-for-money guidelines being met, NSW Government said.</p>

3 Vic level crossings gone for $350m

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Three of Victoria’s most notorious level crossings are to be removed. </span> <p>Premier Denis Napthine and state minister for roads Terry Mulder awarded construction tenders, worth $349.8 million for the removal projects last week.</p><p>Two level crossings in Mitcham and a third at Springvale will be removed under the contracts with the rail lines being lowered to run under the existing roadways.</p><p>Engineering and construction company KBR and Australian contractor John Holland were awarded the contract to remove the level crossings at Mitcham and Rooks Roads in Mitcham.</p><p>The two Mitcham level crossings will be altered such that rail lines will run below Mitcham and Rooks Roads.</p><p>“At Mitcham, approximately 16,000 vehicles and 200 train services pass through the crossing daily, with the boom gates down for more than 45% of the morning peak,” Mulder said.</p><p>Australian engineering and construction company McConnell Dowell will team up with rail engineer Balfour Beatty Rail and engineering joint venture Parsons Brinckerhoff/Beca to remove the level crossing at Springvale Road, Springvale.</p><p>The Springvale Road level crossing will be altered in a similar way to the other two the rail line will be lowered such that it runs below the road.</p><p>“At the Springvale Road level crossing approximately 8000 vehicles, 1000 pedestrians and 140 train services pass through during peak times each day, with the boom gates down for 42% of the morning peak,” Mulder said.</p><p>Dr Napthine stressed the importance of replacing the three level crossings, both for safety and for efficiency.</p><p>“Each day thousands of vehicles and hundreds of train services pass through these three crossings with the boom gates down for nearly half of the morning peak,” he said.</p><p>“Effectively blocking these major roads for half of the morning peak is not only enormously frustrating and costly for motorists, it also poses a significant safety risk.</p><p>“Separating the rail line from the road at these three locations will be a massive boost for easing congestion and will also lead to much safer conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, road users and public transport passengers.”</p><p>Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.</p>