Port Botany

Tender released for Port Botany Rail duplication

The design and construct tender for the Port Botany Rail duplication has been released to the three shortlisted contractors.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), which is leading the project, has released the documentation to CPB Contractors, Laing O’Rouke Construction Australia, and John Holland, who were shortlisted in January.

Once complete, the $400 million federally funded project will allow for more freight to be transported to and from Port Botany via rail, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.

“The Botany Rail Duplication will upgrade and duplicate the current single freight rail track between Mascot and Botany to increase the capacity of Sydney’s freight rail network while bolstering operational efficiency, flexibility and reliability for freight customers,” he said.

“This will create more than 400 jobs during construction and provide a welcome boost to all the hard-working local businesses who use the rail line to get their products to markets.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the project would enable a reduction in trucks travelling through local roads in Sydney.

Australia’s freight requirements are set to grow significantly over the coming decades. While this is great news for the industry and the Australian economy, it will place increasing pressure on our roads,” he said.

“I look forward to this transformative project getting underway so that Sydney, New South Wales and our national supply chain can reap the benefits.”

The Cabramatta Loop Project tender, which will allow freight trains to pass each other on the Southern Sydney Freight Line, will be released separately.

The Port Botany Rail duplication project was recently approved by the NSW government in its fast track process.

The project was also added to the Infrastructure Australia Infrastructure Priority List in August, 2020, recognising the need for greater freight rail capacity to and from Port Botany.

Sydney Metro

Preparations taking place for next stage of Sydney Metro

Civil works are underway and stabling facilities are being constructed to connect the existing Sydney Metro line with its extension to the City and Southwest.

In Rouse Hill, the current stabling yards are being expanded with a new test track, stabling roads, and overhead wiring.

The enlarged depot will provide space for the extra 37 trains which will run on the expanded Sydney Metro line when it continues from Chatswood, via the Sydney CBD and onto Bankstown.

Systems Connect, a partnership between CPB Contractors and UGL Engineering is delivering the works, of which over 3.1 kilometres of track and 6,500 sleepers have been installed. Twelve thousand tonnes of ballast has also been delivered.

The facility will be operational by the end of 2021 and all works will be complete by 2022, ahead of the new line opening in 2024. A Sydney Metro spokesperson said this lead time would allow for bedding in the new rollingstock.

“The expanded depot will be used for testing and stabling of the new metro trains as they progressively arrive.

“New metro trains will arrive well in advance of the opening date for the necessary testing – there will be further updates closer to that time.”

At Chatswood, foundations are being laid to connect the existing Metro North West line to the tunnel which will take trains under Sydney Harbour before emerging in Sydenham.

Work has had to be delivered in a 48-hour shutdown of the current suburban rail services, to reduce disruption. 130 workers have been on the project, including moving 330 tonnes of soil, using piling rigs to drill 34 holes up to 8 metres deep. Future works will involve excavating 7,500 tonnes of material and repositioning the existing suburban rail line.

Limiting resources and using recycled materials has been a key focus of the project, both in the first stages of Sydney Metro and current upgrade works.

At the new stabling facility in Rouse Hill, crushed recycled glass used to bed down pipes, instead of sand, using 1,000 tonnes of recycled glass. Recycled road base made of old crumbled concrete is used to make the hardstands for laydown areas and a car park for staff.

Water saving measures include using recycled water, such as rainwater and runoff. Dust block is used to bind fine dust, instead of water.

Rail Systems Alliance delivering high capacity signalling for Melbourne’s rail future

Dealing with rapid population growth has led to Melbourne upgrading the signalling system on two of its most congested lines. Rail Systems Alliance is ensuring the benefits are felt for years to come.

Over the past 10 years, the story of Australia’s cities has been rewritten. While Sydney had been dominant for the previous century, no account of the urbanisation of Australia in the second decade of the 21st century could ignore the rapid growth of Melbourne.

The relative growth of Melbourne is most clearly illustrated by the fact that Melbourne adds a Darwin-worth of population each year, overtaking Sydney in population size by 2026. Much of this growth has been concentrated in two areas, the west and the south-east of Melbourne and the rail lines that serve these expanding areas are reaching capacity. This has necessitated Victoria’s Big Build, the largest infrastructure building programme in the state’s history, of which rail plays a major part, highlights David Ness, package director, Rail Systems, Rail Projects Victoria.

“There’s a number of initiatives underway to help alleviate that population growth, one is the introduction of larger trains that can carry more passengers, and then the second part is the provision of High Capacity Signalling (HCS) on the corridor that lets us run more trains, more often.

“What ties all of that together is the Metro Tunnel project that connects those two corridors, Dandenong in the south-east and Sunshine/Sunbury in the west, and allows us to untangle the existing rail network. It’s a combination of things but HCS is the centre point, allowing you to operate more efficiently on the corridor.”

The HCS project, now in its testing phase, is being delivered by Rail Systems Alliance, a partnership between Bombardier Transportation, CPB Contractors, and Metro Trains Melbourne. The project will introduce Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) technology, the BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 650 rail control solution, on both the Sunbury and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines as well as in the newly built Metro Tunnel, creating a new end- to-end rail line from Sunbury to Cranbourne and Pakenham. The two existing lines are some of the most complex in the Melbourne network, not only serving commuter trains, but regional passenger lines and freight services, requiring a mixed-mode solution, said Tim Hunter, alliance manager, Rail Systems Alliance, Metro Tunnel Project.

“What is unique about Melbourne is the fact that we’re upgrading existing lines, on brownfield sites, as well as the greenfield site in the tunnel. That means that we can continue running the existing trains on the existing lines at the same time as we do the upgrades. As the vehicles become fitted with the CBTC technology then they can run either in the conventional signalling or CBTC mode. The beauty of it is that it’s a mixed mode solution for the existing lines.”

The introduction of moving block rather than fixed block signalling will enable a step change in capacity, even under mixed conditions.

“We’re expecting to open with around 18 trains per hour when we will still have a mixture of CBTC trains and regional and freight trains,” said Ness. “But, as time progresses, the system itself has a capacity of 24 trains per hour. That means it actually has a higher capacity to recover from disruptions that may occur, and the Metro Tunnel will be capable of 24 trains per hour.”

ENSURING EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION
Getting to this targeted level of capacity on the first introduction of CBTC technology on an existing rail line in Australia has required a collaborative approach, facilitated by the nature of the Rail Systems Alliance.

“We went through a pretty extensive, year-long competitive alliance tender process,” said Ness. During the process, Rail Projects Victoria looked at the system’s capabilities, the ability to minimise disruption during integration, and did site visits to other HCS projects internationally.

“On a balanced score card of value for money, being able to address our technical requirements, being able to address mixed mode, being able to work within an alliance framework – which is intrinsic to the way we’re approaching the job – Bombardier Transportation, CPB Contractors and Metro Trains Melbourne were
the successful tenderers,” said Ness.

Taking an alliance approach to project delivery allowed for the project to effectively interact with the many other stakeholders involved. While the technology promises to increase capacity and relieve the strain on Melbourne’s rail network, its success depends upon all elements of the wider project working together.

“We have the technology challenge, in that what we’re introducing into the system is new, but that change is not just operational, it affects the entire way in which the network is run,” said Ness.

The introduction of HCS in Melbourne requires the project to interact with a variety of stakeholders, including the rest of the Melbourne rail network, the other consortiums on the Metro Tunnel Project, and the procurement of larger trains, which is being delivered in parallel.

“The alliancing model provides the most flexibility to adapt and move while maintaining your focus on that end game,” said Ness.“It’s very difficult to do a project like this with just a fixed scope, fixed dates, fixed price, fixed everything. Having a target price that you can adapt and working together with the client has been proven to be the best model.”

In practice, this has enabled a regime of extensive testing for the technology on the rail line. On the Mernda Line wayside equipment has been installed and two existing X’Trapolis trains have been fitted with the Bombardier CBTC equipment. Dynamic testing is now underway. The project has also involved the operator, Metro Trains Melbourne, to prepare the end user – the drivers and operators of Melbourne’s trains, as Hunter outlines.

“We’re setting up additional labs so we can test the train management system for the new trains alongside HCS. We are also taking the equipment and systems that have been implemented inside the tunnel and then testing that with our systems in the lab, so that when we go to implement on site we will have done as much testing as we can offsite. This will make implementation testing and fault finding a lot smoother.”

The hands-on approach to testing enables the end users (for example, train drivers) to become “super users” as the design develops and the new technology is introduced as part of the project.

“We have user working groups within Metro Trains Melbourne to facilitate operational and maintenance input,” said Hunter. “We’ve done a lot of on-site training, we’ve taken them to Bombardier’s CBTC facilities in Bangkok, Madrid and Pittsburgh and shown them what has been done on other projects, and how the technology works. This collaboration is critical to successfully implement HCS on this project.”

Hunter explains that each piece of equipment that drivers or operators use goes through an extensive human-centred design process, with safety front of mind.

“It’s a tremendous amount of work but I’ve learnt from other projects that it’s essential because in the end we want the people who will be using the technology to really feel as though they own it.”

One example where this has occurred is in the design and purchasing of the desks that will be used at operations centres in Sunshine and Dandenong.

“We’ve got the actual desk that we’re proposing to use in the control centres in our office in Bourke Street and we invite people from Metro Trains Melbourne to come and look at, sit at, use, and test it.”

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE OF HCS
While signalling upgrades on two of Melbourne’s busiest lines will have an immediate benefit for commuters, Rail Systems Alliance has also been aware of the need to ensure that investment in the project benefits the wider rail industry. While experiencing unprecedented investment, the rail industry is looking at a looming skills crisis. As one of the first rollouts of CBTC technology, the HCS project aims to train the next generation of signalling engineers.

“We’ve got roughly 35 cadets coming through the project,” said Hunter. “We’re working closely with the Victorian government and the Local Jobs First – Major Project Skills Guarantee but it’s important that we’re building a base for future projects.”

While signalling projects such as HCS have needed to hire talent internationally, Hunter hopes that this won’t continue to be the case.

“We’ve had to bring a lot of people in from overseas – including myself – who have done these kinds of projects around the world but that’s not a sustainable model. What you actually want is a strong, capable, local team, so that’s what we’re setting out to do. We’ve got cadets working on signalling design, onboard equipment, the control systems, the communications systems, the radio systems, systems engineering, and systems safety assurance.”

Having such a major project occurring in Melbourne has a drawcard for attracting the next generation of engineers to rail.

“As soon as they join, I sit down with them and talk about the project and how exciting engineering is on these kinds of projects.”

“University is a good starting place for technical knowledge, but to have the opportunity to work on a project of this size and this complexity on their doorstep is too good to miss,” said Hunter.

While there’s no concrete plan to roll out HCS beyond the existing project scope at this stage, efficiencies of already implementing the technology mean that any future upgrades would be even smoother.

With a competent and experienced local workforce, and upgrades in place on two of Melbourne’s most complex lines, Melbourne would be well-placed to extend HCS over the rest of the existing rail network said Ness.

“Our focus right now is to successfully deliver HCS on the Sunbury and Cranbourne/ Pakenham corridor. However, if you look at Melbourne’s growth, and some of the pressures on the rail network, HCS may be one future option to get the most out of the existing infrastructure,” said Ness.

New board members announced for Cross River Rail Delivery Authority

The Queensland government has appointed five new members to the governing board of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority.

The board is now comprised of an array of senior Queensland public servants, and is chaired by Damien Walker, director-general, Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development.

In addition to the director general of the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and the Under Treasurer, who are required to be on the board in the relevant legislation, the five members of the board are from the State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Housing and Public Works, Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, and Transport and Main Roads departments.

The appointment of new board members follows the removal of the previous Cross River Rail Board. Removed board members were Paul Lucas, former Queensland Attorney General, former NSW chief scientist & engineer Mary O’Kane, CEO of State Gas Ltd, Lucy Snelling, former director general of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet John Lee, Brisbane City Council nominee John McEvoy, and Airservices Australia board member Tim Rothwell.

The previous board’s terms were to expire in April 2020, however in February Minister for Cross River Rail Kate Jones informed them that their terms will not be renewed.

At the time, Jones said that the move to replace the board was about improving compliance.

“It is clear to me and to Cabinet that now we have moved from the procurement phase to the construction phase of the project we need to beef up compliance,” said Jones.

“I want to ensure I have the right people with the right skills to deliver this project and hold CPB and Pulse Consortium to account.”

CPB Contractors was put into the spotlight by construction union CFMEU, which has counted 50 breaches of Workplace Health & Safety laws since early demolition work begun at Cross River Rail sites six months ago.

“To have more than 50 enforcement notices issued in this space of time on one project is just extraordinary – if this was a motorist behind the wheel of a car you’d strip the driver of their licence and impound the vehicle in the interests of public safety,” said CFMEU assistant secretary Jade Ingham.

CPB Contractors was contacted however declined to comment.

Contractors shortlisted for Morley-Ellenbrook line

The Western Australia government has shortlisted two joint ventures to design and construct the Morley-Ellenbrook line, part of the Metronet project.

The two joint ventures are, Ellenbrook Alliance (CPB Contractors and Downer EDI) and MELconnx Consortium (Laing O’Rouke Australia Construction).

Having completed the request for proposal phase, the shortlisted contractors will now enter the competitive bid phase.

The contract is the largest of four works packages to deliver the Morley-Ellenbrook line and covers the design, building, and commissioning of the electric rail line and five new stations.

Early works are already underway on the Bayswater Station and a contractor, Evolve Bayswater Alliance, was recently announced as the preferred proponent for the construction of that station.

WA Premier Mark McGowan announced that the decision has been the product of extensive engagement.

“Leading up to procurement, we engaged with hundreds of local businesses and subcontractors so they were prepared to bid for the huge range of work available through all stages of the project.”

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that the finalised project would connect the growing north eastern suburbs of Perth.

“This is another major step forward for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line project, which is the final missing piece for transport infrastructure in the north-eastern suburbs of Perth.”

After leaving the Midland line at Bayswater station, the new, 21km line will follow the Tonkin highway and finish a t the Ellenbrook town centre. Stations will be built at Morley, Noranda, Malaga, Whiteman Park, and Ellenbrook. Another station could be built at Bennett Springs East with population growth forecast there.

The continuing construction on the Metronet project, which has not been limited by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, is hoped to boost the WA economy.

“This year alone we will have six METRONET projects underway, in addition to our railcar manufacturing facility in Bellevue where local workers will build our METRONET railcars,” said McGowan.

 

Major works continue on Cross River Rail

Throughout April, works will be progressing on the Cross River Rail project.

The CBGU joint venture, made up of CPB Contractors, BAM, Ghella, and UGL, will be carrying out the design and construction works for the Roma Street, Albert Street and Boggo Road stations.

At Roma Street, works will continue on the demolition of Hotel Jen, East and West Towers. This involves, the disconnection of utilities, scaffolding work, and structural demolition. Additionally, the former coach terminal access ramp will be demolishing during April and May 2020.

Tunnelling work at Roma Street is also taking place, with the establishment of the site progressing. Works include constructing the tunnel access shaft, installing an acoustic shed, and bringing in tunnelling plant and equipment.

At Albert Street, work will increase during April as piling begins on the demolished Lot 1 site. Excavation of the tunnel shaft will begin at Lot 2, and during this time piling finishes and an acoustic shed will be constructed. These works involve traffic and footpath closures on Mary Street and Albert Street.

Excavation work in the heart of the Brisbane CBD work will involve rock breaking, removal of excavated material, and ground stabilisation and retention work.

The underground Boggo Road station will be where the Cross River Rail project at its southern terminus connects to the existing rail network. During April, major works will continue there as the excavation of the station box begins. Site office buildings will be constructed onsite, along with internal roads and paths. Utility services will be relocated and some pedestrian movements will be disrupted. The play equipment at Outlook Park will be moved closer to Dutton Park State School.

All work on the Cross River Rail project will follow Australian and Queensland government health advice in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19), however as an essential service, work will continue as planned.

Cross River Rail builder questioned

Questions have been raised once again about one of the primary construction contractors for Queensland’s Cross River Rail project.

CPB Contractors, a subsidiary of CIMIC Group has been asked to prove why it should be allowed to continue working on the project.

The call came in the form of a show cause letter from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) to CPB Contractors after the company did not provide a Minimum Financial Requirement (MFR) report when its net tangible assets dropped below 20 per cent.

CPB Contractors has 21 days to provide the MFR report or QBCC will take regulatory action, which could include a number of options including the termination of the company’s construction licence.

CPB Contractors is part of the Pulse consortium, which is led by CIMIC Group companies. The Pulse consortium is delivering the tunnel, stations, and development component of the Cross River Rail project. CPB Contractors is also part of the Unity consortium, which is delivering the rail, integration and systems works package. Combined, these works include four new underground stations, the tunnel from Dutton Park to Normanby, as well as operations systems and controls, signalling and communications and accessibility upgrades.

Last month, a new governance structure was announced for the project, partly due to concerns that disputes that occurred over the West Gate Tunnel in Victoria would spread to Queensland. The board of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority were told that their terms would not be extended beyond April, a compliance unit will oversee contractor commitments, and the Authority will directly report to the Minister for Cross River Rail, Kate Jones.

“I want to ensure I have the right people with the right skills to deliver this project and hold CPB and Pulse Consortium to account,” said Jones at the time.

CIMIC Group, the QBCC and the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority declined to comment.

Compliance strengthened in Cross River Rail project

A new governance structure for the Cross River Rail project will ensure that contractors deliver on time and to budget, announced Minister for Cross River Rail, Kate Jones.

Lead contractor, CPB Group, has been caught up in controversy in delivering the West Gate Tunnel in Victoria, and the Queensland government is attempting to avoid similar contractual disputes.

“It is clear to me and to Cabinet that now we have moved from the procurement phase to the construction phase of the project we need to beef up compliance,” said Jones.

In a statement, Jones and the Queensland government outlined that the Delivery Authority will report to the Minister directly, a compliance unit will oversee contractor commitments, and the board will be restructured in April, when their current term expires.

“While the construction project is currently on track and on budget, it is early days,” said Jones.

“I want to ensure I have the right people with the right skills to deliver this project and hold CPB and Pulse Consortium to account.”

Jones also announced that local businesses will be able to get involved in the Cross River Rail project, with the Queensland government announcing a new website will go live today, February 27.

200 local companies are already providing goods and services to the rail project, however the new website hopes to provide further opportunities at various stages across the project.

The next wave of subcontractor opportunities will be in tunnelling and station works, said Cross River Rail minister, Kate Jones.

“This will be the one stop shop for anyone who wants to work on Cross River Rail,” she said.

“If you’re a local subby with the right expertise, we want you to apply to work on the biggest project in Queensland’s history.”

Jones visited the worksite at Woolloongabba to inspect progress on the rail project. Already, 140 piles have been sunk to stabilise the station box, 5m out of a total 32m have been excavated, and 8 of 132 piles have been sunk to build the ramp for the tunnel boring machines to access the site.

“Construction will ramp up in 2020 and locals will see more workers on Cross River Rail sites throughout the city,” said Jones.

Contractors already involved in the project include local construction company Wagners, which won a $40 million contract to supply precast concrete segments.

Another company, Multhana Property Services, will provide cleaning and maintenance services at project worksites.

“Multhana is a great example of a proud Queensland company benefiting from Cross River Rail,” said Jones.

“They’re doing a great job and already have eight staff working on the project, with that number set to grow as more worksites are established.”

Work on the Cross River Rail project is expected to be completed in 2024.

CIMIC inks major Cross River Rail contract with QLD Govt

Contractor CIMIC has signed a deal with the Queensland Government on a tunnel, stations and development package for the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project in Brisbane.

CIMIC subsidiaries Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors and UGL will all be employed as part of a consortium (the Pulse consortium) on the public-private partnership (PPP). The works are expected to cost around $2.73 billion and will begin construction later in 2019. 

The consortium will perform tunneling works, build new underground stations and provide ongoing maintenance for the major South East Queensland infrastructure project. 

CIMIC Group chief executive officer Michael Wright said that the company’s integrated approach to PPP projects was based on its “end-to-end capabilities across a project’s life cycle”.

CPB will lead design and construction in a joint venture with UGL, Italy-based tunneling company Ghella, building and civil engineering company BAM International and fund management company DIF. 

Pacific Partnerships will provide 49 per cent of the equity for the package as lead sponsor, with Ghella, BAM and UGL to provide the remaining 51 per cent. UGL will also provide maintenance services on the project as a long-term partner for a period of more than 24 years.

“As Australia’s leading provider of mechanical and electrical works and rail maintenance services, we’re committed to working with the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority as a long-term partner and providing ongoing employment and business opportunities for the local community,” said UGL managing director Jason Spears.

CPB and UGL were also chosen by the Queensland Government to deliver the Cross River Rail project’s Rail, Integration and Systems package in April 2019.