Councils look to light rail to connect south-west Perth

Councils in south-west Perth are pushing for a new rapid transit link between Murdoch and Fremantle.

The South West Group, made up of six councils from the region, have released a new report highlighting the need for a dedicated transport link to stimulate urban growth and improve transport connections. Read more

Midland Station

Works for Morley-Ellenbrook Line begin as Midland Station design released

Works to prepare for the rail corridor in the Tonkin Highway median have begun, while new designs for Midland Station are released.

The current works include the construction of two underpasses with dive structures to enable the line to enter and exit the highway, as well as travel underneath the Reid Highway and Tonkin Highway interchange.

A road and bus bridge will also be built at Broun Avenue, including a bus interchange station, to enable access to the Morley Station.

The Tonkin Gap project is one of a number of major infrastructure projects in Western Australia that have been accelerated to encourage the economy to recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The works follow the signing of the contract for the construction of the Morley-Ellenbrook line.

“We now have workers on the ground starting the vital enabling works for the train to travel down Tonkin Highway to Ellenbrook,” said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“These works will create thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local businesses.”

The rail enabling works are expected to be complete in late 2022 and the full Tonkin Gap project in late 2023.

Updated concept designs for Midland Station
Revised concept station designs have been released for the new Midland Station, also part of the WA Metronet program.

The new station will involve decommissioning the existing Midland Station and building a new station closer to commercial and health facilities and better integrated with the surrounding community.

The project also involves the removal of the Helena Street level crossing and a new crossing at Cale Street for more efficient traffic movements.

The alliance contract for the station works is expected to be awarded in mid-2021.

Saffioti said the project would link with the new railcar manufacturing site.

“The new station will also link to Metronet’s Bellevue Depot, making it the first landmark our brand new C-Series trains will pass through on their way to regular service on the network.”

The station will also service the nearby Midland TAFE, where a purpose-built training facility for rail courses was recently finished.

Morley Station

Contract signed for Morley-Ellenbrook Line construction

The contract for the construction of the Morley-Ellenbrook line has been signed, with the project coming in at $700 million, with contingency, escalation and ancillary costs taking the total project budget to $1.1bn.

The winning MELconnx Consortium, led by Laing O’Rouke, will deliver the project which involves 21km of new track and is the largest expansion of the Perth rail network since the Mandurah Line.

In addition to the new rail line, the project includes five new stations at Morley, Noranda, Malaga, Whiteman Park, and Ellenbrook, a future station will be developed at Bennett Springs East.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the project was already making progress.

“Now the contract has been signed, the funding secured and early works are underway.”

These early works include the New Bayswater Station, where the line will begin from the Midland Line, and the Tonkin Gap Project which allows the line to access in and out of the Tonkin Highway and preparing the corridor for tracklaying.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the project would boost the local economy.

“Now more than ever, big infrastructure projects like METRONET’s Morley-Ellenbrook Line are imperative to WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery as they create a pipeline of work and support thousands of jobs.”

The project is expected to be completed in 2023-24 and Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the benefits would be immediate and longlasting.

“Metronet will re-shape Perth and that transformation is underway all across the metropolitan area,” Tudge said.

“It means jobs right now and critical, targeted infrastructure for generations to come.”

The jointly state-federal funded project would cut public transport times in half for residents in the north-eastern suburbs of Perth, with direct trains from Ellenbrook Station arriving in the Perth CBD in 30 minutes.

MELconnx beat a CPB Contractors and Downer EDI joint venture to win the contract.

WA budget includes $1.7bn for rail projects

The Western Australia government will invest $1.7 billion in Metronet projects in this financial year.

The figure comes from the WA state budget, released on October 8, and is in addition to the $1.5bn in federal funding for Metronet.

Projects to be funded this year include the Forrestfield-Airport Link project, which is expected to be completed in late 2021, the first $275.3 million for locally made rollingstock and the assembly and manufacturing facility in Bellevue, and $195m for the Thornlie-Cockburn link.

In addition, level crossings, new stations and carparks, and the extension of existing rail lines are included in the 2020-2021 budget.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the total investment over the forward estimates would support the WA economy out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To keep our local economy strong, the state Budget delivers a record $27 billion in infrastructure investment over the next four years, including construction and manufacturing work for Metronet and major roads across WA,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard to establish a major pipeline of work to support local jobs and help guide Western Australia’s economy out of the COVID-19 pandemic, while ensuring we’re delivering and building major projects for tomorrow.”

The funding in this year’s budget ensures that current projects can continue and procurement can take the next step forward in the 2020-2021 financial year. Contracts are expected to be signed and work to begin shortly on the Byford Rail Extension, New Midland Station, and level crossing removals on the Inner Armadale Line. Final negotiations for the construction contract for the Morley-Ellenbrook line are expected to be completed soon.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said skills and training would be part of the major construction investment.

“These projects won’t just change the way we travel, they will also have a huge role in supporting local jobs and training opportunities, with more than 10,000 jobs expected to be supported as part of these METRONET investments,” she said.

“This year’s investment will allow for continued delivery of the Thornlie-Cockburn Link, Yanchep Rail Extension and Forrestfield-Airport Link, but we’re not stopping there.

“Even more projects are in the pipeline, ensuring we’re delivering and building the infrastructure needed for tomorrow.”

Most extensive community consultation in WA public transport history shapes final station design

The new designs of the future Bayswater station in Perth have been updated after the most extensive community consultation in the history of transport projects in Western Australia.

Online surveys, community events, briefings, presentations, enquiries and community reference groups contributed feedback on the station’s initial design.

As a result of those inputs, escalators were added to the station, which previously only included stairs and lifts.

Architectural elements were also tweaked due to community feedback. More colour, and texture were added, and streamlined shaping was added to the structures, as well as the public spaces and landscaping.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the station’s design was a product of its community.

“Today’s new designs reflect the feedback provided by the Bayswater community,” she said.

“The new designs are a great outcome for the local community and public transport users, drawing on both local rail heritage and the natural world that surrounds it.”

Finished designs mimic the metal fluting on train carriages and the ripples of the nearby Swan River.

At the High Wycombe station, community consultation will also shape the station, with young people from the Kalamunda area to collaborate with an established artist for an art piece that will stretch across a 40m-long wall at Ibis Place.

High Wycombe is one of the new stations constructed as part of the Forrestfield-Airport Link project, and the youth-led art piece is designed to foster positive interactions between young people, Perth’s public transport workers and infrastructure.

WA public Transport Authority (PTA) spokesman David Hynes said the art was part of the Right Track program.

“Building a positive relationship between ourselves and our young passengers is a win for everyone on the Transperth network, and collaborations like this go a long way to achieving that,” he said.

“By its nature public transport infrastructure can produce a few of these large blank walls, so when it’s appropriate to do so it’s great to involve the local community – in this case local youth – in making the space their own.”

WA launches rail-focused infrastructure training program

The Western Australian government has launched a four-week intensive training course that will give students hands-on experience on major rail projects in the state.

Students will get a first-hand insight into Metronet projects including the Bellevue Railcar facility, the Yanchep Rail Extension, the Thornlie-Cockburn link, and the Denny Avenue Level Crossing Removal. Road projects are also part of the course.

The program will be delivered at TAFE campuses across Perth and is designed to increase the pool of workers in the infrastructure sector. Young people and women are being encouraged to apply.

Designed to create a pathway for those who may have lost their jobs during COVID-19, the course is free for those on JobSeeker/JobKeeper payments, those who are concession-eligible or under 25.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the Infrastructure Ready program is designed to address approaching skills shortages in the infrastructure sector.

“We are delivering more than $6.5 billion worth of road and rail projects across all corners of the State – ensuring we have the workforce to deliver this pipeline of work is a key priority,” she said.

“This new training will deliver job-ready workers to meet the immediate needs of Western Australia’s multi-billion-dollar civil construction industry.”

During the program, students will be taught measurement and calculation skills for the construction sector and safe work practices. Instruction on how to operate small plant and equipment also forms part of the course.

Through partnerships with industry, those who complete the program will be offered the opportunity to gain entry-level prospects. Civil construction industry contractors will be given incentives to employ and retain program participants.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said that the program will set up participants for success.

“Participants will gain firsthand experience on this unique course that will put them in good stead for work on our major infrastructure projects and for future employment opportunities.”

RFPs sought for Byford Rail Extension

Contractors are invited to submit proposals for the completion of the Byford Rail Extension, part of the Metronet program in Perth.

The project involves constructing 8km of new track, a new station at Byford, a bus interchange and up to 600 parking bays.

Armadale Station will also be expanded for longer trains, and the project will include a new Australind platform and an extended pedestrian overpass. Armadale’s bus station will also undergo an upgrade.

The project, estimated to cost $481 million, will connect the high-growth suburb of Byford on Perth’s south eastern fringe to the rail network. A contract is expected to be awarded in mid-2021 with the concept design phase underway.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said works on the Thomas Road level crossing, ocnudcted by Main Roads Western Australia would begin the project.

“Works will commence later this year with the removal of the Thomas Road level crossing which will create more than 300 local jobs,” she said.

Local federal member Andrew Hastie said the community had been looking forward to the project.

“The Byford Rail extension will change the way people in Byford live and work,” he said.

“It will create more opportunities for local workers, students and businesses.”

State member for Armadale Tony Buti said his community was similarly enthused about the project.

“Our local community has been waiting for this project for many years and I’m pleased to see it is full steam ahead for these works.”

The Byford Rail Extension was submitted to Infrastructure Australia in July 2020, however the independent advisory body has yet to finalise its evaluation.

Options for the reconfiguration of other level crossings between Byford and Armadale are still being considered.

Midland

WA seeks RFPs for Midland Station relocation project

The request for proposal (RFP) process has begun for the Midland Station relocation project.

Part of the Metronet suite of works, the project will involve decommissioning and demolising the existing Midland Station and the construction of a new station between Helena Street and Cale Street.

The project will be procured through an alliance model.

The relocated station will enable a connection to the new Bellevue Depot and railcar assembly facility, where Perth’s new fleet of railcars will be constructed and maintained. Extensions to the rail network will also allow for future extensions of the Midland line.

The new station will also better connect the public transport network with the Midland Gate Shopping Centre and Midland Health Campus, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“For many years now we have focused on reinvigorating Midland into a thriving commercial and residential centre, and a new Midland Station will be a big part of that,” she said.

New forecourts will be constructed and the relocated station will allow for future mixed-use developments. The level crossing at Helena Street will be removed and replaced with a new crossing at Cale Street.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the project would boost the local economy.

“We are seeing activity ramp up at a time when WA needs infrastructure spending to boost the economy and create jobs as we come out of COVID-19.”

Local federal Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt said the new station would enable connections for the wider community.

“The new station will make it easier for people coming from the hills and foothills to access the rail line,” Wyatt said.

“This will make a big difference for all members of our community, especially those who use public transport to get to work or school.”

Local businesses are invited to register on the projects’ Construction Businesses Register to be on the list of potential local suppliers provided to the successful contractor.

Preferred proponent announced for Morley-Ellenbrook line construction

The Western Australian government has selected the preferred proponent for the design and construction of the Morley-Ellenbrook line.

Led by Laing O’Rouke Australia Construction, the winning consortium, MELconnx won out over a joint venture between CPB Contractors and Downer EDI as the preferred proponent for the design, building, and commissioning of the new 21km line and five stations.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the line would ensure that Perth’s transport system kept up with urban growth.

“Perth’s north-eastern suburbs have boomed recently and the population is predicted to increase dramatically over the next decade,” she said.

“We need to ensure our infrastructure keeps up with this growth – not only are we delivering on the much anticipated Metronet Morley-Ellenbrook Line, we have also delivered key road upgrades including Northlink, the duplication of Reid Highway and the upgrade of Drumpellier Drive.”

The rail construction contract is one of four works packages that make up the project. Other packages include the new Bayswater station, works on the Tonkin Gap highway, which the new rail line will run down the middle of, and forward works.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the project would benefit the communities it serves and the WA economy.

“This has been talked about for decades and is a big step forward for this project, which will transform Perth’s growing north-eastern suburbs and benefit the local and surrounding communities,” he said.

“Now more than ever, big infrastructure projects like Metronet’s Morley-Ellenbrook Line are imperative to WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery as it creates a pipeline of work and supports thousands of jobs.”

The Morley-Ellenbrook line is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the benefits would be immediate and long-lasting.

“It means jobs right now and critical, targeted infrastructure for generations to come.”

The announcement of the preferred proponent for the Morley-Ellenbrook line closes out the new rail projects that are currently part of the Metronet program. Further contracts are expected to be announced for level crossing removals on the Armadale Line and the electrification of the Armadale Line to Byford.