<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The South West Rail Link project in New South Wales has taken a major step forward with an 80-metre rail underpass having been drilled beneath the Hume Highway, as tens of thousands of drivers passed unaware overhead. </span> <p>The underpass means a continuous South West Rail Link (SWRL) corridor now stretches for the first time between Glenfield South and Leppington.</p><p>The work was carried out by John Holland which has a $586m contract to deliver the NWRL’s 10.5km of new twin track electrified rail line from Glenfield to Leppington new passenger stations at Leppington and Edmondson Park a train stabling yard at Rossmore and civil works including the underpass described above.</p><p>Describing the underpass as a “major engineering feat”, NSW minister for transport Gladys Berejiklian said the SWRL was surging ahead.</p><p>“Since November 2012 6,000 cubic metres of rock removed from underneath the busy eight-lane section of the Hume Highway at Ingleburn Gardens Estate, Glenfield,” Berejiklian said.</p><p>The project included a laser guidance, bullseye and camera system that allowed the operator controlling the machine to complete the bores within specified tolerances of plus or minus 25mm.</p><p>With the earthworks for the new line almost complete, the focus will now shift to laying tracks and installing services and utilities.</p><p>“Construction of major bridges for the project is progressing rapidly, with the successful installation of large concrete beams over Campbelltown Road, Camden Valley Way and Cowpasture Road in December last year,” Berejiklian said.</p><p>“It’s pleasing to see the rail link making significant progress. The community is getting an increased sense of the scale of the project.”<br />Passenger rail services on the NWRL are scheduled to commence in 2016.</p><p> </p>
<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The NSW Government has announced the shortlists of consortia bidding for the North West Rail Linkâs two major contracts including for the construction of what it says are the longest rail tunnels ever built in Australia . </span> <p>NSW minister for transport Gladys Berejiklian made the announcement following the close of tenders to build the billion-dollar North West Rail Link tunnels, and the expressions of interest that have also closed for the separate contract to operate the rail link. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5em">Three tenders were received to build the NWRL’s 15km twin tunnels between Bella Vista and Epping. </span></p><p>The Tunnel and Station Civils (TSC) contract (fully funded by the NSW Government) to build the twin 15km tunnels and underground station excavation will be to be assessed over coming months and is expected to be awarded middle of this year.</p><p>The tenderers are</p><ul><li>Baulderstone Bouygues Travaux Publics Joint Venture</li><li>Rapidlink Joint Venture – Obayashi, McConnell Dowell, Laing O’Rourke Australia</li><li>Thiess John Holland Dragados Joint Venture.</li></ul><p>Three consortia made up of a combined 17 organisations from Australia and overseas have lodged expressions of interest for the NWRL’s Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract which includes supplying Sydney’s new-generation single deck trains and converting the Epping to Chatswood Rail Line to rapid transit operation.</p><p>They 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><li>The Pulse Consortium – Keolis Australia, Downer EDI, Obrascon Huarte Lain, Ansaldo STS Australia, Mitsubishi Corporation, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.</li></ul><p>This Public Private Partnership contract is expected to be awarded in 2014.</p><p>Three groups have lodged expressions of interest for the Surface and Viaduct Civil (SVC) contract to build the 4km skytrain and associated civil works including embankments and cuttings for the railway. Tenders are to be called in coming months for this package which will also be fully funded by the NSW Government.</p>
<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>"There 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>
<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Federal Infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese recently joined Victorian minister for public transport Terry Mulder on the banks of the Maribyrnong River to inspect progress on a new bridge superstructure being erected as part of multi-billion dollar Regional Rail Link (RRL) project. </span> <p>Mulder said the Maribyrnong River rail bridge is one of 35 bridges and structures being constructed or modified across the RRL in addition to the removal of two level crossings on Anderson Road, Sunshine.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5em">The bridge forms part of the City to Maribyrnong River section of the project which is one of six major works packages for the RRL.</span></p><p>The contract was awarded to the City to Maribyrnong River Alliance comprising V/Line, Metro Trains Melbourne, AECOM, AbiGroup, Coleman Rail, GHD, John Holland and the Regional Rail Link Authority in May last year.</p><p>Albanese said the new Maribyrnong River bridge will consist of 15 lengths spanning over 18 piers.</p><p>“By the end of the year, this new superstructure will extend for nearly a kilometre from South Kensington to Footscray, spanning both the river and the existing rail track,” Albanese said.</p><p>“The City to Maribyrnong River package of works will also involve laying new track over a distance of 4.5 kilometres, which is part of the 90 kilometres of new track which will eventually make up the Regional Rail line,” Mulder added.</p><p>Albanese said between late December and early January, a package of works worth more than $40m was delivered by 1000 workers and over 250,000 man hours.</p><p>These included:</p><ul><li>La Trobe Street rail bridge strengthening works</li><li>Track, platform extension and formation works at Southern Cross Station platforms 15/16</li><li>Underground Rail Loop tunnel strengthening works in preparation for Dudley Street bridge work</li><li>Major structural works to the freight bridge in Footscray</li><li>Major track reconfiguration in Footscray and Sunshine</li><li>Structural works to remove the Bendigo/Sunbury level crossing on Anderson Road, Sunshine.</li></ul><p>When the RRL is operational in 2016, Melbourne’s rail network will have extra capacity for 23 metropolitan and 10 country train trips during the morning and evening peak periods, carrying up to an extra 54,000 passenger trips each day.</p>
<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> 2012 was a big year for the Australian rail industry news-wise. The following provides our readership with a concise wrap-up of the top rail stories for the last 12 months. </span> <p>By Jennifer Perry</p><p><strong>January </strong></p><ul><li>John Holland Rail commenced operations as the new manager of the NSW regional rail network (CRN) making it the first-ever accredited private rail transport operator of a government owned heavy rail network in the state.</li></ul><p><strong>February</strong></p><ul><li>In a world-first, Rio Tinto announced it will invest US$518m for an automated long-distance rail network with the first driverless train to be launched in 2014.</li><li>Following widespread reports of mud holes along the Sydney-Melbourne line, the ATSB found no systemic issues along the line but its report identified opportunities for ARTC to further improve the safety of its operations on the network. ARTC went on to announce its $134m Ballast Rehabilitation Program to fast track works to improve the ballast condition of the track.</li></ul><p><strong>March </strong></p><ul><li>A groundbreaking rail safety foundation, trackSAFE, was established to tackle suicide on the Australian rail network on a national scale for the first time, as well as trespass and level crossing safety, in order to mitigate the trauma caused to rail industry employees as a result of these.</li></ul><p><strong>April</strong></p><ul><li>The first stage of ambitious $172m Port Botany Rail Upgrade was completed which is expected to take 300,000 trucks a year off Sydney’s roads.</li><li>Clearer details emerged for the NSW Government’s controversial North West Rail Link (NWRL), most notably, the project will feature the deepest and longest rail tunnel ever to be built in Australia and 4km of the 23km rail link will be an above ground Skytrain.</li></ul><p><strong>May </strong></p><ul><li>A big month for news, but no good news for the industry in the Federal Government’s 2012-13 budget with a very small rail spend. $232.1m was earmarked for Adelaide’s Torrens and Goodwood Junctions Upgrade project and $9.2m for the establishment of Australia’s new National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR). While the Victorian Government allocated $49.7m for the proposed Melbourne Metro in its own 2012-13 budget released this month, it was clear that the project hinged on federal funding and this was a pretty glaring federal budget omission, especially considering the government’s own Infrastructure Australia (IA) has said the 9km twin rail tunnel is “ready to proceed,” three times over.</li><li>A positive development in Melbourne was the completion of the $498m Epping-South Morang Rail extension, the biggest expansion of Melbourne’s rail network since the City Loop partially opened 31 years ago.</li><li>This month saw the Federal Government announce the tender process for Sydney’s new Moorebank Intermodal Terminal which is expected to be operational as from 2017.</li><li>Still on the freight theme, SCT Logistics officially took possession of six SDA1 diesel locomotives manufactured by China Southern Rail (CSR), the first non-American powered heavy haul locomotives to enter the Australian rail market.</li></ul><p><strong>June</strong></p><ul><li>June was the biggest month of the year for major rail headlines right across the country, headed up by the full construction officially commencing on the Regional Rail Link (RRL), marked by the project’s final contract being awarded to Leighton Downer JV for the works at West Werribee Junction. RRL is Australia’s largest public transport infrastructure project</li><li>While it’s always a little tricky to tease out what is actually new spending in governments’ budgets, it appeared that the NSW 2012-13 budget handed down this month allocated $3.3bn over the next four years for the construction of the North West Rail Link and $397m to continue construction on the South West Rail Link.</li><li>The government’s Sydney’s Rail Future plan was also released to increase the capacity of Sydney’s rail network by 60%, most notably by the introduction of single deck, rapid transit trains on the NWRL and a new second heavy rail crossing under Sydney Harbour and the CBD. The plan drew mixed response from government and industry circles.</li><li>Rail didn’t fare well in South Australia’s 2012-13 budget, with the government announcing it would postpone “indefinitely” the electrification of the Adelaide to Outer Harbor and Gawler lines though it would still push on with its electrification of the line to Noarlunga and the new Seaford extension. On the upside, $110m was allocated for grade separation of interstate and suburban tracks at Goodwood Junction.</li><li>A very interesting development this month in Australia’s sunshine state, with the Queensland Government announcing it will recognise just two rail corridors to serve the mining developments in the Galilee and Bowen Basins, following much confusion over a number of conflicting rail proposals. The government’s preferred option is for an east-west corridor based around an extension of the existing Aurizon network and a north-south rail corridor along an alignment proposed by the GVK-Hancock Coal JV.</li><li>Progress was also made with the industry’s historic safety reform with the UK’s Rob Andrews appointed as Australia’s first National Rail Safety Regulator NRSR.</li></ul><p><strong>July </strong></p><ul><li>Downer’s announcement that it would cease building locomotives in Australia was big news for industry and certainly indicative of the rising trend towards offshore manufacturing. All future locomotives for the Australian market to be manufactured by the company’s partner, EMD, at one of its new low cost overseas facilities</li><li>July 1 saw the Federal Government’s carbon tax come into play that provides the trucking industry a two year moratorium which the ARA argues will cost Australian rail companies $110m each year.</li><li>The first major milestone was achieved in the Federal Government’s $1.1bn Northern Sydney Freight Corridor with ARTC commissioning a new passing loop at Hexham. The project is set to improve rail freight flows through Sydney and rail’s modal share on the North South corridor.</li></ul><p><strong>August</strong></p><ul><li>After 50 years of discussion, Queensland’s Moreton Bay Rail Link gained some traction this month with the government outlining its plans for the design and construction of the $1.15bn 12.6km heavy rail line to connect Petrie and Kippa-Ring.</li><li>This month saw Spanish rolling stock manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) gained its first foothold in the Australian market with the award of a $20m contract to supply new light rail vehicles  for the Sydney Light Rail extension.</li><li>CBH Group officially launched the first dedicated grain rail fleet in Western Australia in over 30 years which were manufactured by US company Motive Power.</li></ul><p><strong>September</strong></p><ul><li>Perth’s first light rail system, the Metro Area Express or MAX, got the green light with the Western Australian and Federal Governments jointly committing to a $15.8m feasibility study. Total project cost is expected to exceed $1bn.</li><li>The GoldLinQ consortium, which is heading up Queensland’s largest public transport infrastructure project, Gold Coast light rail, began track-laying in September for the 13km Stage One route.</li><li>News this month was also dominated by government plans: the NSW Government released its long-awaited 20-year Long Term Transport Master Plan to deliver to the state a “world-class public transport, roads and freight network” and IA released its updated National Land Freight Strategy which it said will “fix the regulatory and infrastructure failures which it claims have cost the Australian economy tens of billions of dollars in lost export earnings.”</li></ul><p><strong>October</strong></p><ul><li>The Western Australian Government announced that the state’s Tier 3 grain railway lines that were due to close at the end of the month would remain open until 2013.</li><li>IA suggested in a new report that Australia’s governments could sell-off more than $100bn worth of government-owned assets, including ARTC’s Hunter Valley rail network, to the private sector to reverse the nation’s infrastructure gap.</li></ul><p><strong>November</strong></p><ul><li>QR National officially changed its name to Aurizon which it said would make a clear statement about the company’s growing Australia-wide footprint and growth aspirations.</li><li>Brookfield Rail announced the completion of its $550m MidWest Rail Upgrade that provides improved transport links to the Port of Geraldton for emerging and junior iron ore miners operating in the region.</li><li>The power of harnessing social media to engage with rail customers was demonstrated by the ‘Dumb ways to die,’ video produced for Melbourne suburban rail operator Metro, which became an international internet sensation going viral and generating over 12 million YouTube hits in just five days and reportedly in the top 10 iTunes chart and ranked as high as No. 6 globally for a short period of time.</li></ul><p><strong>December</strong></p><ul><li>The Federal Government released its State of Australian Cities 2012 edition which stated passenger rail would increasingly be doing the ‘heavy lifting’ in Australian cities While greater capacity is needed to allow this to happen, the report argued that rail’ role is being constrained by its unsustainable financial model and suggests greater farebox recovery and land value capture around stations as possible funding options.</li><li>Plenty of news for NSW, with Sydney’s NWRL reaching it’s biggest milestone all year with the NSW Government calling for expressions of interest for the multi-billion-dollar Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract for the project and the government also announcing a further 12km extension of the Sydney Light Rail network to be built through the Sydney CBD to Randwick and Kingsford as part of the release of the final version of its Long Term Transport Master Plan. </li><li>On the downside, after months of speculation, the NSW Government announced plans that would see the heavy rail line to the Newcastle CBD cut back to Wickham within the next three to five years and commuters forced to complete the last part of their journey by bus.<br /><br /><br /> </li></ul>
The proposed multi-user, open access 204-kilometre rail line, sometimes referred to as ‘The Southern Missing Link’, would connect the existing narrow gauge Queensland Rail western railway system near Wandoan (230km northwest of Toowoomba) with Aurizon’s Moura railway network at Banana (130km west of Gladstone).
The consortium, which includes Everald Compton’s ATEC Rail Group Limited, Xstrata and Aurizon, has designed the SBR to link planned coal mines in the Surat Basin with the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal at Gladstone.
Lawyer Tom Marland told the ABC that the consortium has failed to act on its notice of intention to resume the land, leaving the landholders he represents with thousands of dollars in legal fees.
"We’re in limbo as to whether, if or when it’s going to proceed," he said.
"They’re unable to claim any of those costs under the Act until such time as the land is actually taken."
Surat Basin Rail CEO Allan Miller says the rail line will be built on a slower time frame because of challenging market conditions.
The State Government says it is disappointed with the latest development.
Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says landholders should seek compensation for expenses accrued over the discontinued notices of intention to resume.
The SBR Joint Venture own web site says it has endeavoured to develop, and will continue to foster, a strong connection with the local community and affected landowners.
“The project team has applied a ‘neighbourly’ approach to their liaison with landowners, which has helped to identify possible property impacts and mitigation strategies for construction and operation.”
The Surat Basin Infrastructure Corridor State Development Area (SDA) was declared on 24 November 2011 by a regulation made under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971. This means the Queensland Coordinator-General can regulate land uses in the corridor and acquire the land, or an interest in land, within the SDA to establish the infrastructure corridor.
“The Office of the Coordinator-General will consult directly with all affected landowners on a case-by-case basis to assess fair and reasonable compensation in accordance with the provisions of the Acquisition of Land Act 1967,” says the SBR web site.
Two consortia, Thiess John Holland Joint Venture and Abigroup/Laing O’Rourke’s JV ‘Access Surat’ were shortlisted in November 2011 to construct the line and were expected to submit competitive contractor tenders to SBR at the end of April with the winning bid announcement originally scheduled to have been made in Q3 2012.
The heads of Australian rail’s major construction companies that participated in the Rail Constructors Panel yesterday at AusRAIL 2012 were unanimous in agreeing that one of the biggest constraints currently facing the sector and its future sustainability, is the high cost of tendering.
Tendering costs in Australia, which panellists put at 1-2% of a project’s total cost, are high compared with world benchmarks of 0.5%.
“The cost of tendering is extremely prohibitive and is having an effect on all of our bottom lines and is affecting our sustainability as an industry as a whole,” AbiGroup general manager, rail, Greg Rush said.
“Time is also a cost,” Rush added, “The procurement period in Australia is far, far too long.”
However, according to Thiess head of rail business, Glenn McIlroy, small changes in this area are occurring, with some of the industry’s “more mature clients” now paying for some of the tender fees which is resulting in clients’ attracting “higher calibre” contractors.
The unpredictable and cyclical nature of investment was also named by panellists as a major prohibitive factor impacting the sector’s sustainability.
“The big, glory projects are attractive to governments to announce but a focus on maintaining the existing network in a steady state is often more challenging for them,” McConnell Dowell operations manager rail, Mike Sutcliffe, said.
The need for greater surety on behalf of all levels of governments in Australia around the pipeline of rail projects and a nationally-agreed procurement method was also named by the panellists as necessary for the future sustainability of the sector.
The current uncertainty around rail’s pipeline of projects is also impacting the sector’s ability to retain, train and invest in its workforce. Boom-bust project cycles are affecting contractors’ ability to provide jobs for their workforce during the "spaces between major projects".
“The pipeline is such a boom-bust thing,” McIlory said. “Many contractors put people off as no big jobs are coming along.”
The alternative that is needed, according to John Holland Rail general manager, Richard Stewart, is a base load of work to keep contractors healthy – and their workforce – in between boom-bust cycles.
The age-old spectre of rail’s state-based legacy was indeed apparent in the discussion, with Sutcliffe pointing out that the sector is faced with a lot of bureaucracy that it has to wade through in terms of multiple levels of government.
“I don’t know the answer to that and I suspect that if anyone did, they would be an extremely popular person in the industry,” he said.
The panellist’s convenor, Australasian Railway Association CEO, Bryan Nye, suggested that the Federal Government needed to take on a greater role – potentially via Infrastructure Australia or the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) – in coordinating a consistent, national demand for projects.
On the upside, panellists spoke of an increase and ‘definite change’ in the sector’s ability to attract young graduates and importantly, that graduates were increasingly viewing rail as an ‘industry of choice.’
Nye pointed out that this was compared with a couple of years ago when sewerage engineering was rated by engineers as a better career than rail.
Downer Australia executive general manager rail, Paul Kyte, attributed this to the volume of rail projects occurring now and into the future in Australia as well as the growing prospect of high-speed rail.
“Rail is also an extremely sustainable and safety-conscious industry and young people really value this,” McIllroy added.
The number of female engineers in the sector is also on the increase.
“16% of the workforce are females and gender diversity programs are at the forefront of most companies’ thinking,” Rush said.
In addition, the sector is seeing a greater number of females taking up project management roles, Leighton Contractors general manager major projects, Rob Boulger added.
Moving forward, Boulger believes that greater collaboration amongst contractors is definitely needed.
“We all fight hard to get these projects and by working in a more collaborative way and going back to some of the old alliance ways of working and having two clients in a single procurement process will give us greater value for money,” he said.
“Contractors need a unified voice in selling rail as a serious contender to road,” Laing O’Rourke business development manager Mark Harris added.
The future sustainability of the industry, according to Stewart, is “all about balance.”
“We need to work as an industry to get to the stage where we have a contract form that meets the client’s needs – governments or the private sector – then balance that off with the cost of construction and if we can get that right then we can take that forward and lobby for it,” he said.
For an extensive Q&A with panellists from AusRAIL 2012’s Rail Constructor’s Panel see the AusRAIL print edition of Rail Express – free to all delegates at the conference and subscribers.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited the site at Mango Hill recently where earthworks and bridge construction are underway on one of a number of new bridges being built for the project.
The 12.6km dual-track passenger rail line between Petrie and Kippa-Ring will provide much needed public transport options for one of the fastest growing areas in the country. The new rail line will ease congestion on the surrounding road network, including the Bruce Highway.
The Moreton Bay Rail Link will also be a major part of regional and economic growth and will create more than 8400 jobs over the life of the project.
Part of the Gillard Government’s Nation Building Program, six new rail stations will be built as part of the project at Kallangur, Murrumba Downs, Mango Hill, Kinsellas Road, Rothwell and Kippa-Ring.
The $1.147b project is being funded jointly by the Federal Government ($742 million), the Queensland Government ($300 million plus land) and the Moreton Bay Regional Council ($105 million).
Representing Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson, Murrumba MP Reg Gulley said the early construction works, involving road and bridge works, would minimise the impact on local traffic once the major road works began in 2013.
“While these works are being completed, design of the rail corridor, including the track, structures, and the six new stations will continue,” Mr Gulley said.
“Construction of the rail components for the Moreton Bay Rail Link will then get underway in the later part of 2013, with the new line scheduled for delivery by late 2016.”
Four groups have been selected to develop design solutions for the Moreton Bay Rail Link with the successful tenderer expected to be announced in mid-2013.
The four tenderers are:
- Abigroup Contractors Pty Ltd
- John Holland Queensland Pty Ltd and Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd
- Salini, Bielby, Winslow Joint Venture
- Thiess Pty Ltd
Heavy Haul Rail 2012 is a two-day conference and exhibition that will see rail operators and suppliers, resource sector representatives, government officials and infrastructure providers converge to examine mining projects in the pipelines and the subsequent opportunities available for the rail operations and construction industries in the wake of the resources boom.
The Agenda includes:
- Mineral development has less to do with mining than it does with heavy haul rail: Ken Devencorn, Aurecon’s Development Leader Rail, examines rail as critical to minerals development and commercialisation in Australia and in Africa. Case studies on proposed rail projects include the Galilee Basin and Mozambique.
- Case Study: Rail as an essential element of Rio Tinto’s integrated iron ore production process – recent and future rail projects: Insights into Rio Tinto’s operations and subsequent rail requirements from General Manager of the mining giant’s railway Division, Heath Harnden. This session will also look at Rio Tinto’s move to automation.
- Case study: Plans for a 282km heavy haul rail network to support Aquila’s West Pilbara mining operations: This session will unearth mining projects in the pipeline at Aquila and rail development plans to support them with API Management Rail and Rolling Stock Manager Graeme Offereins.
- Designing and delivering an outstanding haulage performance – What needs to be done? Director of Pacific National Coal, David Irwin, will share techniques for achieving optimum efficiency for rail operators and their mining customers plus views on the benefits of innovative and flexible rail haulage operations.
- Pre-conference workshop August 2: Automating Heavy Haul Rail Operations.
Led by Workshop Chair and Director of the Centre for Railway Engineering Professor Colin Cole, take an in-depth look into the benefits and practicalities of implementing the automation of heavy haul rail operations. Join industry experts to discuss:
&bull    Why automation for heavy haul? Examining the potential and proven benefits of automating heavy haul rail operations
&bull    Architectural considerations for the implementation of heavy haul automation
&bull    Keeping commodities on the move through innovative locomotive design.
150+ delegates have already registered to attend the Heavy Haul Rail conference.Organisations that already confirmed their attendance at Heavy Haul 2012 include:
- Abigroup Contractors
- Leighton Contractors
- Fortescue Metals Group Limited
- Rio Tinto Iron Ore
- Downer Rail
- Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd
- Fortescue Metal Group
- GHD Pty Ltd
- Hyder Consulting Pty Ltd
- BHP Billiton Iron Ore
- Electro Motive Diesel
- Siemens Ltd
- Ansaldo STS Australia Pty Ltd
- Worley Parsons
- John Holland
- Thales Australia
- Downer Australia
ARA HEAVY HAUL RAIL 2012
28th & 29th August, Newcastle City Hall
(+61 2) 9080 4307
KBR to support Esperance upgrade
KBR has been awarded a design services contract for road and rail works at the Port of Esperance in Western Australia as part of the overall $120 million upgrade.
The upgrade will facilitate future growth of the port and greatly improve safety for all users by separating local traffic from road and rail freight.
KBR, as a consultant to John Holland, will provide detailed design to grade-separate the main road and rail accesses to the port. KBR’s scope also covers associated drainage, structures and electrical design and the overall design will allow for the later expansion of Harbour Road from two to four lanes.
Under the upgrade, 1.8 kilometres of Harbour Road will be realigned to enter the port on the south side of the railway, while the railway will be relocated via a tunnel under Harbour Road to enter the port on the northern side. Two road bridges and a pedestrian/cycle underpass will separate local traffic from the new road and rail line to the port.
By increasing the transport corridor’s capacity, the upgrade will help the Port of Esperance respond to growth in both the resources sector and agriculture, while the community of Esperance will enjoy significantly improved safety and reduced noise. Completion of the upgrade is scheduled for December 2013.
QR National expands tonnages with Cockatoo Coal
QR National has signed a new long-term haulage contract with Cockatoo Coal Ltd for the transport of coal from the Baralaba and Wonbindi mines.
The 10-year contract will see an additional 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of coal transported to the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) from 2014 and the extension of an existing contract for 0.5 mtpa through RG Tanna (Gladstone) terminal.
QR National Executive Vice President Commercial and Marketing Paul Scurrah said the company was committed to growing its business with its customers and backing its capability with performance-based contracts.
“We are pleased to grow our relationship with Cockatoo Coal and look forward to working together to deliver our joint growth objectives,” he said.
The rail haulage contract is the third secured by QR National for tonnages into the new WICET, due to begin operations in 2014.
Sharon Martin joins Hyder Consulting
Hyder Consulting has welcomed Sharon Martin as new Associate Business Director for the Queensland Transport team taking responsibility for Hyder’s rail, ports, civil and geotechnical teams in Queensland.
Sharon has over 14 years’ experience in Australia and United Kingdom working with the mining, rail and engineering sectors, managing inter-disciplinary and multi-national teams to successfully deliver complex projects.
Hyder’s Transport Managing Director, Phil Charlton, said he was thrilled to welcome Sharon to the team. “Sharon joins a busy Queensland transport team with our rail, ports and mining sectors growing strongly. Her skills will be a valuable addition to the team.”
She has previously worked for Macmahon’s, Turner and Townsend, PB and London Underground, with positions of Deputy Alliance Manager for the Glenfield Junction Alliance, Client Interface Manager for the GAP50 Coal Stream Alliance, Associate Director delivering urban rail schemes in Sydney and Portfolio Manager for London Underground’s Sub Surface Lines.
The addition of Sharon to the team builds on Hyder’s recent success with appointments to projects such as the M1 Pacific Motorway Widening to Six Lanes between Worongary and Mudgeeraba, Mayne Travel Train Maintenance Yard and Gold Coast Rapid Transit.
The contract for design and construction of the Inner West Light Rail Extension was awarded to John Holland six weeks ago.
Over the coming weeks, John Holland will continue works to survey the 5.6-kilometre project corridor, locate existing services, undertake geotechnical investigations and clear vegetation, minister for transport Gladys Berejiklian said.
“The results of these works will enable John Holland to progress detailed design of the project, ready for community consultation in September/October this year. Importantly, completion of these works also means that the Inner West Light Rail Extension corridor is ready for major construction to begin in earnest towards the end of the year,” Berejiklian said.
The Inner West Light Rail Extension will connect to Sydney’s existing light rail service, which operates from Central to Lilyfield, and will run along the former Rozelle freight rail corridor, through the Inner West to Dulwich Hill.
The project involves the construction of nine new light rail stops: Leichhardt North, Hawthorne, Marion, Taverners Hill, Lewisham West, Waratah Mills, Arlington, Dulwich Grove and Dulwich Hill Interchange.
The Inner West Light Rail Extension is the first step in the New South Wales Government’s plan to extend light rail in Sydney. The government is also investigating the feasibility of extending light rail through the CBD, to the University of NSW and the University of Sydney through the development of the Sydney Light Rail Strategic Plan, which will be completed in the coming weeks.
The project is on track for services to begin operating in 2014 Berejiklian said.
NSW Transport 2012
8th-9th November 2012 | Sydney Harbour Marriott
John Holland will be responsible for the main infrastructure elements of the five-and-a-half kilometre extension, which will largely follow the alignment of a former freight line from the existing light rail terminus at Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill.
The contract includes the delivery of nine new light rail stations, the power and signalling systems and bridge works that form part of the A$176 million Inner West Light Rail Extension project.
The NSW Government says it believes light rail will play an important role in the future of public transport in
Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said, “From the outset, the Government has been working to secure the place of light rail in
“Within our first 100 days, we incorporated light rail into the MyZone ticketing system and in our first budget, we committed funds to not only build the light rail extension from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill but to develop a strategic plan for light rail in
“These actions, along with the purchase of the existing light rail line in March and the awarding of this contract today make it clear the NSW Government is serious about providing an integrated and customer-focussed new transport option for
Preparatory and geotechnical investigations are expected to start next month with completion of the project scheduled for 2014.
A review of the two short-listed tenderers to provide the new rolling stock for the extension, Bombardier and CAF, is currently still under way.
Victorian minister for public transport Terry Mulder said the 3.5km South Morang extension marked the biggest expansion of Melbourne’s rail network since the City Loop partially opened in 1981 – 31 years ago.
“The extension of the line from Epping to South Morang is the first expansion of Melbourne’s rail network in more than a generation,” Mulder said.
“This rail extension [from Epping to South Morang] and the changes we’ve made as part of the new timetable will provide greater public transport access for thousands of locals and help people get to and around the South Morang area,” Mulder said.
Works carried out as part of the project included new stations built at Thomastown, Epping and South Morang, and the duplication of the 5 kilometre single track between Keon Park and Epping.
The project also delivered a host of improvements to the area including improved car parking facilities, transport interchanges and adjoining shared-use paths in the 18 months since construction commenced.
Mulder boarded the first train to the new South Morang station on Sunday April 22, which marked the rollout of Melbourne’s overhauled public transport timetable. The new timetable features 353 new weekly trips including a major upgrade to weekend and public holiday services on Melbourne’s three most popular train corridors.
Trains will run every 10 minutes to Ringwood, Dandenong and Frankston for much of the day, in a major step towards a high-frequency metro-style timetable.
Weekday peak-time trains will have a frequency of around eight minutes on the South Morang line, with 70 extra weekly trips also added to the South Morang and Hurstbridge lines.
The Craigieburn, Werribee, Sydenham and Upfield lines will be changed to run clockwise through the city loop on weekends, helping footy fans get home more quickly from Etihad Stadium.
The timetable will also take advantage of the recently delivered 38 new X’Trapolis trains.
The project is being delivered by an Alliance comprising the Department of Transport, Metro Trains Melbourne, VicRoads, constructor John Holland and designer AECOM.
For a detailed profile on the South Morang Rail Extension project see the June print edition of Rail Express.
8th – 9th May 2012 | InterContinental Melbourne the Rialto
By Jennifer Perry
ARTC’s Minimbah Bank Third Track project saw the Hunter 8 Alliance (ARTC, GHD, and John Holland Group) head up the construction of a third rail line between Minimbah and Whittingham, now fully operational for two years.
One of the New South Wales Department Planning and Infrastructure’s consent conditions for the new rail line was for the alliance to provide a biodiversity offset for clearing just over six hectares of native vegetation on the project.
Principal environmental scientist Liz Shelly told Rail Express the alliance needed to provide an area of native vegetation that would be permanently conserved as a balance against the native vegetation cleared on the project.
Shelly said the Bio-Banking Scheme would be most suitable for ARTC, as it does not require ongoing responsibility to management of a site.
“The establishment of the bio-bank site, just out from Singleton at Payne’s Crossing, is a first for the Hunter and the first biobank site in Australia to be owned and managed by an Aboriginal group, the Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation,” she said.
The bio-bank site will now be managed by the Wonnarua people, with young Indigenous Australians to be trained and employed in land management, the ABC reported.
“This is certainly a good news story and has been a long time coming we’ve been working on the establishment of the bio-bank site for over two years now,” she said.
Shelly explained the government’s scheme aims to balance native vegetation clearing by developments, through the permanent conservation of native bushland.
“The owners of the bushland enter into a Bio-banking Agreement with the Office of Environment and Heritage, and biodiversity credits can be bought for endangered flora and fauna on the site by anyone, but most often proponents of major developments seeking to offset clearing,” she said.
“The money from these purchases provides funds to manage the land, but also includes some profits to the owner.”
Albanese proposes alternative to Moorebank
Federal minister for transport Anthony Albanese is pushing for the development of a taxpayer-funded $1bn freight hub in southwestern Sydney as an alternative to the Moorebank intermodal terminal, despite opposition from Treasury and Infrastructure Australia.
Both proposals are designed to remove containers from truck and onto rail desitned for the Port of Botany and are located on opposite sides of Moorebank Avenue, near Liverpool, The Australian reported.
A spokesperson for Albanese confirmed to The Australian that a business case had been finalised and would be considered by the government in the lead-up to this year’s federal budget.
GVK to sell stakes in Alpha coal project
GVK Power & Infrastructure is reportedly looking to sell down its stakes in the Alpha coal project and related port and rail assets in Australia to help fund the $10bn cost of the projects, Paul Mulder, chief executive of Hancock Coal, the Australian arm of GVK, said last week.
GVK reportedly bought a 79% stake in the Alpha and Alpha West thermal coal projects in Queensland’s Galilee Basin and 100% of the Kevin’s Corner coal project next to Alpha and the rail and port project linking to the Abbot Point terminal for $1.26bn last year, with the remaining 21% in the Alpha coal projects owned by Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.
John Holland wins contract for Esperance Port Access Corridor Project
John Holland has been awarded the $100m contract to design and construct the Esperance Port Access Corridor Project for Main Roads Western Australia.
The project will improve road and rail access to meet the growing use of the port and planned future expansion.
The project involves the realignment of 1.8 kilometres of road leading into the port, the diversion of 1.3 kilometres of existing railway under the main port access road, the construction of a local road bridge connection over the railway and the construction of a separate multipurpose bridge to divert local and pedestrian traffic away from the port’s main access point.
Planning for PortLink project begins
$5m in Royalties for Regions funding and $2m in federal funding had been allocated to commence the planning phase of Western Australia’s long-awaited PortLink Inland Freight Corridor Development Plan.
The aim of the PortLink project is to provide an important regional alternative to Perth as the central distribution point for interstate general freight. Unprecedented growth in the state’s resource-rich areas has created exceptional demand for goods and services which has led to increases in freight from the Eastern States and an almost total dependence on Perth as a distribution point, regional development minister Brendon Grylls said.
The PortLink project involves construction of an intermodal terminal and rail realignment in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, as well as a sealed road link between Wiluna and Meekatharra.
This phase of the PortLink project involves planning and feasibility of an intermodal terminal in Kalgoorlie-Boulder planning for realignment of the existing freight rail system running through Kalgoorlie-Boulder and project development work for the sealing of the Wiluna to Meekatharra road, while a future Phase Two of the PortLink project would examine the feasibility of linking the existing Esperance/Kalgoorlie-Boulder/Wiluna standard gauge rail into the Mid-West and Pilbara network.
The Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) met on March 6 and agreed that RISSB:
- Develop a SPAD management (including exceeding authorities) guideline will be developed to capture ‘good practice’.  The intent of the guideline is to provide all operators, particularly the smaller ones, with a list of good practices, their methods of implementation, and a basic analysis of their effectiveness.  The list will not be exhaustive and will aim to provide a maximum of three examples only and
- Develop a Fatigue Management guideline.  This guideline has been requested by the National Rail Safety Regulator Project Office to complement the new Rail safety act.  The guideline will focus on Section 29 of the Rail Safety Act which discusses fatigue management issues.
The board also agreed that governments, through the Commonwealth Government, are to be invited to provide a senior representative as a RISSB Board Director given that they collectively provide almost 50% of RISSB’s funding.
As part of the funding MOU between RISSB and the Australian Government, RISSB is presently being reviewed by a government appointed consultant, Tony Taig. The purpose of this review is to ensure that RISSB is satisfying its MOU requirements in providing products that represent quality, are timely, and provide value for money.
Taig has undertaken extensive consultation with governments and industry and will be delivering his report to Governments in May 2012.
RailCorp starts consultation on Digital Train Radio Network
RailCorp is consulting with local residents about the construction of communication masts in the rail corridor between Carlton, Port Kembla and Dunmore as part of a critical safety system recommended by the Waterfall train accident inquiry.
The communication masts support a new Digital Train Radio System (DTRS) being installed across the electrified network, replacing old analogue radios.
RailCorp has engaged UGL Infrastructure to design, construct and maintain the new radio network.
The DTRS will be a secure digital train radio system designed to provide reliable voice and data communications. Unlike mobile phone towers which broadcast their signals in all directions, the DTRS masts will broadcast signals along the rail lines to ensure trains receive accurate information from controllers.
The train radio system will be installed at 17 locations, including: Albion Park, Bellambi, Bulli, Carlton, Coniston, Dapto, Dunmore, Fairy Meadow, Flinders, Hurstville, Kembla Grange, Lysaghts, Port Kembla North, Thirroul, Unanderra, Wollongong, and Yallah.
Work is set to ramp up on the project this year following the government’s selection of contractors to build the Regional Rail Link’s (RRL) two longest sections as well as install the technology which will manage the flow of trains along the new rail line and provide “real-time” information to those using it.
The $1.6bn contracts have been awarded to:
- Thiess, Balfour Beatty, Parsons Brinckerhoff and SKM, the consortium tasked with laying 7.5km of new track between Footscray and Deer Park as well as building a new station at West Footscray and upgrading the existing stations at Footscray, Sunshine and Tottenham. Work is expected to start in early 2012.
- Baulderstone/ Leighton Joint Venture which will lay 25km of new track between Deer Park and West Werribee as well as build new stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit. Work is expected to start in mid-2012.
- UGL and Manidis Roberts, the consortium which will install the fibre optics network that will support the train control systems, the signals along the corridor and provide information to the passengers waiting at the new and upgraded stations. Work will start from mid-2012
Delivery of the RRL project will involve a total of six major packages of work, with the remaining two contracts – Southern Cross Station to Footscray and at West Werribee Junction – expected to be awarded this year.
The contract for track and civil works from Southern Cross Station to Moonee
Ponds Creek was awarded lat year to Activate, a joint venture between John Holland and Coleman Rail
The RRL project is being built with funding from the Federal and
Victorian governments, with the former contributing $3.2bn.
Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said once completed in early
2016, the project will remove major bottlenecks from the state’s public transport system by separating regional and metropolitan trains.
“With major construction activity now on track to progressively kick-off in the west from early 2012, this is without a doubt an exciting time,” Mulder said.
“This multi-billion project will revitalise our state’s public transport system and in doing so, better connect our growing communities to each other as well as to jobs, education, recreation and other vital services."
Mulder said Footscray Station will be upgraded to a major country interchange with new platforms and escalators, with the new line allowing country trains to run express from Footscray to Southern Cross Station.
“Regional commuters who currently experience lengthy delays waiting near North Melbourne will enjoy a faster, smoother journey into Southern Cross Station once the Regional Rail Link is completed,” he said.
“Importantly, by adding in two major grade separations at Anderson Road Sunshine, we will help alleviate congestion and remove level crossings to make it safer. This is an important part of Victorian Coalition Government’s unprecedented investment in removing level crossings."
More information on the project can be found at: www.regionalraillink.vic.gov.au
The completion of a rail spur linking the Middlemount Coal project to QR National’s Goonyella rail network and enabling exports through Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal marks for the first time the delivery of a privately-owned rail line that connects to Queenslandâs publicly-owned rail network.
Constructed by John Holland as part of the Middlemount Early Rail Alliance, the Middlemount Rail Spur was officially opened last Friday.
The 16.5km electrified rail spur will enable the Middlemount Coal project – a joint venture between Gloucester Coal and Macarthur Coal – to transport up to 5 million tonnes per annum of coal to the port for international export.
Richard Stewart, general manager of John Holland’s Rail Australia business, said the new infrastructure represents an important milestone for both John Holland and the mining and rail industries.
“The Middlemount Coal Project is the first greenfield project since 2007 to commence production in the Bowen Basin, and the first time a private company has delivered a privately-owned rail line that connects to the publicly-owned rail network in Queensland,” Stewart said.
“The successful completion of this project sets a new benchmark and provides an alternative to the traditional procurement and delivery models for new rail spur projects in Queensland.”
Middlemount Coal chief executive Michael Gray praised the Middlemount Early Rail Alliance (which also includes GHD as the project’s designer) for completing the construction of the rail spur ahead of schedule.
“While the project’s timing was impacted by the extensive wet season in 2010/2011, the rail alliance was able to accelerate development of the line with completion occurring a month ahead of the revised schedule,” Gray said.
Middlemount Coal chairman Tim Crossley said while initial exports from the project will be via existing port capacity allocation at Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, the project will have long term port capacity access at the Abbott Point Coal Terminal following QR National’s completion of the Northern Missing Link, which is expected to be commissioned in January next year.
The $385m Northern Missing Link is the cornerstone of QR National’s $1.1bn Goonyella to Abbot Point (GAP expansion project) and will see some 69km of track join the existing Goonyella and Newlands coal rail systems.
John Holland is currently involved in a number of rail alliances across Australia including:
.Hunter 8 Alliance (NSW)
Partners: John Holland, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and GHD
.Trackwork Services Alliance (NSW
Partners: John Holland and RailCorp
.South Improvement Alliance (Vic)
Partners: John Holland, Australian Rail Track Corporation, MVM Rail,
.South Morang Rail Extension Alliance (Vic)
Partners: John Holland, AECOM, Department of Transport, MTM, VicRoads
.Tracksure for Adelaide Rail Revitalisation (SA)
Partners: John Holland, Coleman Rail, York Rail
.Perth City Link (WA)
Partners: John Holland, Public Transport Authority, GHD
AusRAIL PLUS 2011 will be the largest held to date and will this year focus on innovation and customer relations. Richard Stewart*, GM of Australiaâs largest rail construction, operations and maintenance contractor, John Holland, provides his personal view on this yearâs two conference themes.
As Australia’s largest rail construction, operations and maintenance contractor, John Holland is committed to being an industry leader in innovation and client service.
Despite working across a broad range of contracting roles – including train operator, network manager, asset manager, principal managing contractor, joint venture / alliance partner and sub-contractor – our business fundamentals are always the same. We seek constant improvement in our ongoing performance to ensure our quality, efficiency, cost management, people management, environmental sustainability, knowledge management and community engagement are the best in our industry. Innovation and client service are always at the forefront in each of these key areas of performance.
The primary focus across all of our operations is safety, and this is an area where we continually seek to innovate to improve our work practices.
To ensure the safety of our people, partners, clients, along with the general public, we are regularly involved in assessing our processes, procedures and training, along with making continued investment in the tools and equipment required to perform work safely.
One example is the current development of a new rail anti-collision system, which will improve track safety for personnel working in rail corridors. The system, based on aeronautical technology and used in the mining industry, can be used between track plant to improve safety by alerting people of their proximity to plant and other personnel.
Achieving an integrated design across all the engineering disciplines of a new railway is also a challenge.
Within the rail industry, several recent projects have experienced significant schedule slippage through the design process. At John Holland we have simplified the complexity of our processes to facilitate better communication with our stakeholders to ensure expectations are met.
John Holland’s systems assurance approach provides customers with the visibility and confidence that their requirements (including safety and reliability) are met at every stage throughout the asset lifecycle.
Embedding the systems assurance approach also ensures the potential benefits that innovation provides can be explored and tested against the existing customer requirements. This occurs across the whole lifecycle, from construction to the consideration of our client’s long-term operations and maintenance needs.
These systems assurance techniques are integrated into the design development process and include ongoing management of customer requirements in parallel with assuring that safety and reliability performance requirements are met.
Resourcing is another key issue for our business. Forecasting both people and specific plant resource requirements is very challenging when we cannot be sure about which projects we will be undertaking over the longer term.
This involves making decisions based on our best assessment of future industry activity, and investing ahead of opportunities being confirmed to meet long lead time requirements for certain items. To best optimise our resources, we work closely with our clients on current and future projects to understand how to invest in resources and capabilities that will best meet their requirements.
Finally, John Holland recognises that high-quality training is paramount to our overall success as an organisation. We believe our staff should be provided with relevant training and development conducted in an environment that supports their learning goals.
Our training is regularly updated to account for developments in technology, content and approach. We actively seek opportunities to collaborate with other training providers whose ethos reflects similar goals and standards. This collaboration helps John Holland ensure best practice in our processes and training programs, and leads to the identification of opportunities for innovation.
One example is our current investment in the training and development of network controllers who will plan and control the movement of trains on the Country Regional Network (CRN).
This contract involves the operation, management, maintenance and upgrade of country railway lines across NSW, including 2700km of operational freight and passenger lines and 3100km  of non-operational lines.
Having identified network control as a skill in high demand and short supply across the rail industry, our team of rail industry experts have developed a comprehensive training program and recruited eight new trainee network controllers from a variety of backgrounds.
This training investment is a critical part of the CRN focus on safety and customer service, and our aim is to develop a culture that is deeply committed to safe and efficient operations for our CRN customers.
Like safety and investment in new technology, training and development of staff is another way in which John Holland continues to strive to be the most innovative and successful contractor in the Australian rail industry.
Given increasing demand for new and improved rail infrastructure, innovation is something that every organisation should contribute to so that collectively as an industry, we are positioned well to deliver, operate and maintain the new railways needed to support the growth of the Australian economy.
*Richard Stewart is general manager, rail Australia at John Holland.
AusRAIL PLUS will this year feature the views of Australia’s major rail leaders at the Rail Suppliers CEO Forum, to be held on Day One of the conference, Tuesday November 22, and the CEO Forum, to be held on Day Three of the conference, Thursday November 24.
Rail Express is the offical publication of AusRAIL PLUS, and will feature exclusive Q&As with all of Australia’s rail leaders participating in the conference’s CEO Forums.
AusRAIL PLUS 2011 will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from November 22nd-24th.
To register visit: www.ausrail.com
Phone: +61 2 9080 4307
The Victorian Government has shortlisted two consortiums to deliver the second major package of work for the state’s Regional Rail Link project.
The shortlisted consortiums are Integrate Rail (John Holland, Abigroup, Coleman Rail, AECOM & GHD) and Leighton Contractors, Downer EDI, SMEC & Mott MacDonald.
The Southern Cross Station to Footscray package of works includes realigning and upgrading the existing track and building two rail lines.
Transport minister Terry Mulder said the the extensive package of work to be delivered by the successful consortium would transform the movement of regional trains through Melbourne’s inner west.
“Once fully completed, the Regional Rail Link will become metropolitan Melbourne’s first major new rail line in 80 years, providing capacity for up to 9,000 additional passengers during peak hour,” Mulder said.
“It will also improve the reliability of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo V/Line services as well as free up capacity for more trains on the Werribee, Craigieburn and Sunbury (Sydenham) lines.”
The final contract is expected to be awarded next year.
Downer given an extension on Waratah
RailCorp has released a statement saying that the Practical Completion inspection process for the first Waratah train would now continue through to June 3, effectively giving Downer EDI a two-week extension.
While the contract between RailCorp and Reliance Rail sets out that RailCorp should either approve or reject Downer’s first train set 20 business days after it was submitted for inspection, which has already passed, RailCorp said that the extension was “consistent with the four to six week timeframe anticipated by Downer when it presented the train to RailCorp on 20 April”.
Reliance Rail and Downer must demonstrate that the train meets safety, reliability and passenger amenity requirements before RailCorp can introduce the train into passenger service.
“Introducing a new train is a significant undertaking and we want to ensure this process delivers customers the best outcome,” RailCorp said in the statement.
ARTC controllor ‘forgot’ rail yard was occupied
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its report into an incident involving a near miss between a freight train and an empty Country Link Xplorer passenger train at Manildra last year which found an ARTC controller had “forgotten” that the Manildra rail yard was already occupied.
According to ATSB’s report on the incident, in February last year a passenger train was authorised to travel through the rail yard on the main line, however, at the same time a freight train was already standing on the main line.
ATSB’s investigation concluded that an Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) network controller failed to enter information into the computer system identifying that both the main line and loop were occupied.
The controller had later forgotten about the track occupancies when authorising the passenger to travel through the yard.
ATSB said in its report that while a number of defences served to avoid a collision in this case, the event posed a “serious safeworking irregularity” where one train had been authorised to proceed over track occupied by a second train.
“The ARTC, Pacific National and the Manildra Group have put processes in place to ensure shunt orders are not fulfilled unless all shunt operations have ceased and either the main line is clear or a form of train protection has been implemented in accordance with the network rules,” the report stated.
Leighton wins HK contracts
Australia-based Leighton Holdings has won two major contracts worth $547m from MTR Corporation to build the South Island rail line project in Hong Kong.
One of the two contracts was awarded to a joint venture between Leighton Asia and John Holland.
Under the contract, Leighton will build  2km  of viaduct that will form the above-ground section of the railway, a 115-metre long Aberdeen Channel railway bridge, 1.1kms of tunnels, two elevated stations at Ocean Park and Wong Chuk Hang, two underground stations at Lei Tung and South Horizons and related plant and ventilation buildings. Cut-and-cover construction methods and drilling and blasting will be used for tunnelling works.
Construction works are scheduled to begin this month and should be completed by 2015.
The South Island Line (East) will be a medium-capacity railway covering approximately 7km from Admiralty Station to South Horizons Station with intermediate stations at Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang and Lei Tung. It will provide fast and reliable railway service for communities in the south of Hong Kong Island and help ease traffic congestion at critical bottlenecks like Aberdeen Tunnel and the central business district.
GCRT ahead of schedule
Queensland transport minister Annastacia Palaszczuk has told State Parliament that early works for Gold Coast Rapid Transit are ahead of schedule and the first 13km section from Parklands to Broadbeach should be completed by 2014.
"Following the completion of roadworks later this year, construction of the light rail corridor will begin, with the track expected to be laid in the second half of 2012," Palaszczuk reportedly said.
NRW Holdings wins BHP contract
NRW Holdings has scored a $158m 12-month contract with BHP Billiton Iron Ore.
The contract  comprises three sections including the Goldsworthy to Finucane Island rail duplication earthworks, the Mooka access road and Mooka marshalling yard.