Tracklaying

Tracklaying in progress on Perth’s future Airport Line

With tunnelling complete on the Metronet Forrestfield-Airport Link project, tracklaying has now begun along the 8-kilometre-long tunnels.

Martinus Rail will install the 40 kilometres of rail needed to form the track in each tunnel, along with tie-ins at Bayswater and stowage at High Wycombe.

The first kilometre of track has already been laid, and Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said that this was a significant milestone on the project.

“Tracklaying is one of the final major events on the construction of a rail line – it’s an exciting milestone for this $1.86 billion project, with more than 2,400 tonnes of Australian-made steel being prepared.”

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that the project was coming together.

“We’re at an exciting time for this major infrastructure project – the tunnel-boring machines have finished creating our tunnels, our three new stations are taking shape and tracklaying is now underway.”

The 27.5m long pieces of steel are flash-butt welded into 220 metre strings. The Martinus teams have been working simultaneously to weld the rail, transport it and lay it along with the sleepers to form the skeleton track, before concrete is poured to complete the slab track.

Other work is also underway to install the overhead line equipment and the communications and signalling systems.

Roughly 100 jobs are supported by the tracklaying and rail infrastructure stages of the project.

Once complete, the Airport Line will link the Perth CBD with the airport and the eastern suburbs, including Redcliffe and High Wycombe. Thousands of commuters expected to use the rail link each day when trains begin running in late 2021.

Morley Station

WA developing concept master plan for Morley Station

The West Australian government is using the construction of a new station and rail line as a way to guide development in Morley. The government is working with local residents and businesses to develop connections between the future Morley station and the surrounding area.

Over 200 residents and businesses have given their feedback, which has shaped the Morley Station Precinct Concept Master Plan, which is being developed in consultation with the City of Bayswater. Once complete, the master plan will guide planning and infrastructure delivery around the station.

Morley is a new station that will be located on the Morley-Ellenbrook line, being built as part of the Metronet project. The station is the first on the line that begins at Bayswater station.

According to WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, the construction of a new rail line allows for a rethink of the development of the surrounding suburbs.

“The significant investment in the Morley-Ellenbrook Line provides the opportunity to continue to grow the Morley Activity Centre as an important social and economic hub for the north-east corridor.”

A high-frequency bus service will link the station to the Morley Galleria to provide access to shopping and services.

Morley MLA Amber-Jade Sanderson said that the plan would also shape private investment in the area.

“This concept plan will provide vision and clear direction for the private sector and help stimulate much needed new investment in the commercial precinct,” she said.

“We want the many private land holders to develop their land for the revitalisation of Morley.”

The plan will inform the development of a local structure plan, which will go into more depth on infrastructure, zoning, and development to complete the design vision.

Work is on track to award the contract for the construction of the line later in 2020, with two shortlisted proponents, Ellenbrook Alliance (CPB Contractors and Downer EDI) and MELconnx Consortium (Laing O’Rouke Australia Construction).

Elevated rail preferred for Inner Armadale Line

Up to six level crossings between Carlisle and Beckenham will be replaced with a rail bridge to improve safety and ease movement in the area.

As part of the works, Wharf Street level crossing was to be removed or replaced with an elevated rail option, however a third option is now being considered, involving rebuilding Queens Park station. The option to close the Wharf Street crossing is no longer being considered.

The WA government is continuing to seek feedback of the final design.

WA resumes free late night trains

This weekend will see late night trains running again in Perth.

The decision to reinstate the 1am and 2am services from Perth and 2.50am service from Fremantle follows the re-opening of nightlife businesses in the state. Phase 4 of the WA lifting of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions come into effect at 11.59pm on Friday, June 26, allowing nightclubs, bars, and live music venues to re-open.

The services that will run again include 1.15am and 2.15am trains on the Joondalup/Mandurah lines from Perth Underground, 1am and 2.15am services on the Armadale/Midland lines from Perth Station, and services between Fremantle and Perth.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that by having these trains back in service it will support hospitality and entertainment businesses.

“As our nightclubs and live music venues begin to re-open, it’s important we head back into the CBD and support our small businesses – reintroducing our free late night train services will give patrons a safe and hassle-free way to get home.”

Staff to run these trains have been quickly mobilised.

“I also want to thank our public transport employees, who have again stepped up to support the community during the pandemic. I appreciate the transport workers accepting short notice changes to their night shifts to make it possible,” said Saffioti.

Community chooses new station name

3,500 locals have chosen High Wycombe as the name for the final station on Perth’s new Forrestfield-Airport Link line.

Once complete, the line will be known as the Airport Line and will terminate in Perth’s eastern suburbs.

Saffioti said that early work on the station had begun.

“The start of construction for the car park is another step towards completion of the station precinct and will provide a further boost for local jobs.”

The Forrestfield-Airport Link is part of the Metronet project in Perth. Trains are expected to run on the line, which travels underneath Perth airport by 20201.

Morley Station

Detailed construction plans for Morley-Ellenbrook line released

A construction boom in the north-eastern suburbs of Perth will begin with the construction of the new Morley-Ellenbrook line.

The 21-kilometre line will support 3,000 local jobs in its construction, with not only the new rail line being built, but an array of parking facilities, transport interchange hubs, and access routes are part of the plan.

The Western Australian cabinet has endorsed the Project Definition Plan for the new line, which outlines the facilities that will be built to enable 11,700 people to board trains on the line on its first day of operations, expected to be in 2023-2024.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said that the new line will be in addition to a significant amount of rail infrastructure projects underway around Perth.

“This year alone we have seven METRONET projects under construction, which is a significant transformation to our State’s infrastructure and public transport build,” he said.

Stations will be built at Ellenbrook, Whiteman Park, Malaga, Noranda and Morley. The line will connect to the existing rail network at Bayswater Station, and passengers will not need to change trains to get into the CBD. The total journey time from Ellenbrook to the CBD is expected to be 30 minutes.

A number of overpasses and underpasses will be built as part of the line. After leaving Bayswater Station, the line will travel over the Midland Line and then under the Tonkin Highway’s northbound lanes. Road over rail bridges will be built at Beechboro Road North, Dulwich Street, and at the Gnangara Road, Drumpellier Driver intersection. Above Morley station, the Broun Avenue bridge will be rebuilt to support a new bus interchange.

In total, the plan includes parking for 3,300 cards, four bus interchanges, cycle facilities, shared paths, toilets at the stations which will be universally accessible. The location and design of the stations has been developed to stimulate transport-oriented development, particularly at Malaga, Whiteman Park, and Ellenbrook, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“This project is more than just a train line – it is about giving locals more options when choosing how they travel, where they work and where they want to live.”

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the forecast patronage on the line demonstrated the need for a rail solution.

“Thousands of people will use this line from day one of operation, stripping cars off Perth roads and busting congestion,” he said.

While early works at Bayswater station have already begun, two contractors have been shortlisted to deliver the main construction contract, Ellenbrook Alliance (CPB Contractors and Downer EDI) and MELconnex, consisting of Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction. The main contract is expected to be awarded before the end of 2020.

Six level crossings removed in latest Metronet works program

Six more level crossing are to go on the Armadale Line in Perth as part of the next major works package in the Metronet project.

The level crossings are at Mint, Oats, Hamilton, Wharf, and William streets and Welshpool Road. All the crossings will involve elevated rail except at Hamilton Street, where land has been reserved for a road over rail solution.

Up to 2.8 kilometres of elevated rail could be constructed, with roads and active travel links created under the rail line.

In addition to the level crossing removals, new stations will be built at Oats Street, Carlisle, and Beckenham and potentially Queens Park. Oats Street Station will replace the current Welshpool station, which will be closed.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that removing the level crossings would benefit commuters and the wider community.

“Metronet is also about connecting the community – for the first time in a century this will remove parts of the rail barrier that have separated the communities of Carlisle, East Victoria Park and Cannington,” she said.

“Commuters can finally say bye, bye boom gates – we’ve all felt the pain sitting at a level crossing waiting for one, two, sometimes three trains to pass by.”

As design work is just beginning, Saffioti said that she hopes the community will get involved.

“This project will also mean new train stations at Carlisle and Oats Street and potentially Queens Park, giving the local community the opportunity to have their say on what they would like these new stations designs to look like.

“It will create opportunities for new and unique public space and developments around stations, connect our communities and allow us to wave goodbye to boom gates.”

$415 million of state funding has been committed to the Mint, Oats, and Welshpool level crossings while funding for the other three is subject to an agreement with the federal government.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the project will deliver a changed community.

“This plan will transform the Armadale Line as we know it, setting it up for the next 100 years and creating more liveable and vibrant communities linked to METRONET.”

The current boom gates are closed 233 times a day for up to six hours per day.

Contracts awarded for Bayswater Station and level crossing removal

Two contracts have been awarded for major works as part of the Metronet project in Western Australia.

Evolve Bayswater Alliance (Coleman Rail) won the $253 million design and build contract for the new Bayswater Station, with contributing partner Decmil. Coleman Rail was announced as the preferred proponent in April, 2020.

Downer EDI won the Denny Avenue level crossing removal contract after being selected as the preferred proponent in February.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that the works will stimulate the state’s economy.

“The Metronet Bayswater Station upgrade and Denny Avenue level crossing removal projects, combined with construction of other nearby major projects like the Tonkin Gap and Morley-Ellenbrook Line, will help support the WA economy through some tough times ahead.”

The Bayswater Station contract involves the construction of a new four-platform station, along with track, signalling, civil, drainage, and overhead line works. The contract also covers a new rail turnback for the Forrestfield-Airport Link, a bridge at King William Street/Coode Street, and the support of a connection to the Morley-Ellenbrook Line.

Bayswater station will be a lynchpin in the new Metronet network, connecting the Midland Line to the Forrestfield-Airport Link and the Morley-Ellenbrook Line. Early works are already underway.

“When complete, the new Metronet Bayswater Station will transform Bayswater into a major transport hub servicing the Midland Line, Forrestfield-Airport Link and Morley-Ellenbrook Line, and a new station is integral to this,” said Saffioti.

Downer EDI will replace the Denny Avenue level crossing with a rail-over-road underpass at Davis Road. Civil works to revitalise the Kelmscott town centre are also part of the project, which involves tree planting and landscaping works.

Denny Avenue is the first of a projected eight level crossing removals that will form part of the Metronet project. Geotechnical works, demolition, and tree removal has already gotten underway.

“This year alone we have six Metronet projects underway, creating thousands of local jobs and creating opportunities for local businesses,” said Saffioti.

Alstom results

Alstom releases results for the 2019-2020 financial year

Alstom has released its results for the financial year 2019-2020, ending March 31, 2020.

The Paris-based, Euronext listed rollingstock and signalling manufacturer booked orders of €9.9 billion ($16.6bn) over the year, and had sales results totalling €8.2bn ($13.76bn).

The figures were driven by orders in Europe, including very high speed trains in France, metros, and regional trains, as well as Alstom’s winning of the Metronet railcar build and maintenance contract in Perth and the contract to supply further rollingstock and signalling to the Sydney Metro Southwest extension.

“Although considered a stabilisation year, Alstom enjoyed strong commercial momentum in a very dynamic railway market,” said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom chairman and chief executive officer.

“We won major orders especially in Europe and in Asia-Pacific. In addition, we secured pioneering orders for our green mobility solutions, illustrating the potential of such technologies and the dynamism of the shift to carbon free transportation modes.”

Research and development spending accounted for 3.7 per cent of sales in 2019/20, with focus particularly on emissions-free mobility, including electric motors, hydrogen fuel-cells, and battery traction systems. Alstom was awarded contracts for its hydrogen train and battery electric train in regions in Germany.

The effect of COVID-19 is not fully realised in these accounts, as they finish at the end of March, 2020, however Alstom noted that it would not issue dividends to shareholders in July. The company calculated that the impact on sales of COVID-19 is roughly €100 million ($167.9m), due to a slowdown of sales recognition. As of May 12 a restart of production is occurring, and the company expects a fast recovery in the rail market.

“Alstom considers the health and safety of its employees and stakeholders as its top priority during this period. We are confident for the resilience of Alstom’s business in the mid-term, given the fundamentals of the rail market and in particular, the need for greener mobility,” said Poupart-Lafarge.

Alliance chosen for Tonkin Gap rail and road project

An alliance of contractors have been selected to build the Tonkin Gap project, which will deliver enabling works for Metronet’s Morley-Ellenbrook Line, in Perth.

The Tonkin Gap Alliance, made up of BMD, Georgiou, WA Limestone, BG&E, and GHD, will expand the section between Collier Road and Dunreath Drive to construct a three-lane, freeway-standard road.

The Morley-Ellenbrook line will partly run along the middle of the Tonkin Highway, and the Tonkin Gap Alliance will build the dive structures to allow the building of the railway to enter and exit the middle of the highway.

Other modifications will occur between Railway Parade and Hepburn Avenue, and will involve the replacement of the existing Broun Avenue flyover.

WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said that the works package will improve mobility in Perth’s eastern suburbs.

“Road and rail projects will play a key part to WA’s economic recovery going forward. This project will fix one of Perth’s most congested roads while laying the groundwork for the Metronet Morley-Ellenbrook Line,” Saffioti said.

“Tonkin Gap is a major component of the train line to Ellenbrook, with two dive structures and the foundation for the rail included in the project scope.”

Saffioti said the government was looking to infrastructure projects to stimulate the state’s economy.

“Together with new Bayswater Station procurement, we now have two out of three major contracts for Morley-Ellenbrook Line at an advanced stage,” she said.

“Building this project, combined with construction of other nearby major projects like the new Bayswater Station and Morley-Ellenbrook Line, will help support the WA economy through some tough times ahead.”

The project is jointly funded by the WA state government and the federal government, with the federal government contributing 80 per cent of project funds.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the project is part of an infrastructure-led recovery.

“Our $100 billion infrastructure pipeline is setting the foundations for economic recovery on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

“In addition, it will create thousands of new jobs at a time when what we want is to get Australians back to work.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan also noted that progressing urban infrastructure projects will have flow on effects.

“Our record investment in major road projects and Metronet will set up our suburbs for the long term and benefit Western Australians, now and into the future,” McGowan said.

“In times like these it’s important we continue to progress the projects that will provide work for local businesses and keep workers in their jobs – this will ultimately support the state’s wider economy.”

Builder selected for Mandurah Station carpark

A builder for the Mandurah Station multi-storey carpark in WA has been selected.

Local builder PS Structures won the $32 million contract to replace the existing northern carpark with a 1,800 bay carpark.

According to a joint federal-state government statement, over 70 per cent of passengers at Mandurah station travel to the station by car, with the carpark reaching 90 per cent capacity by 9am on weekdays.

Both governments have been investing in rail services near Mandurah, south of Perth, with the beginning of a request for proposal process for a new station for nearby Lakelands announced recently.

“This project is yet another way we are continuing to invest in the southern suburbs, with the Lakelands Station project also set to begin this year, and planning for another at Karnup underway,” said WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the expanded carpark would allow for greater train patronage.

“Together with a new station at Lakelands, this project will future-proof access to public transport for communities locally and across the Peel region,” said Tudge said.

“We also know the delivery of crucial infrastructure projects like the Mandurah is essential to supporting jobs and economic growth at this time.”

The Mandurah region has been targeted as an area for population growth, with the city forecast to grow by almost 50 per cent between 2016 and 2036. Enabling more people to use public transport will ensure the growth is managed, said federal Member for Canning, Andrew Hastie.

“The population of Mandurah and the Peel region have grown significantly over the last decade. The Government is delivering practical solutions that our community needs, both through this upgrade and construction of the new Lakelands station.”

The three level carpark will have lifts, a staircase, and a visually appealing façade, and a temporary carpark will be developed while construction is underway. Residents will also be encouraged to use alternative means, such as bus, cycling, or walking to get to the station.

Perth signalling upgrade added to Infrastructure Priority List

Infrastructure Australia has listed the High Capacity Signalling Project, part of the Metronet program, as a priority project.

Now added to Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List, the move acknowledges the benefits which could come from upgrading signalling on the Perth network.

In addition to extensions to lines and new stations, Metronet is proposing to replace the existing signalling and train control system with new infrastructure. This would lead to improvements across the network, said Romilly Madew, chief executive of Infrastructure Australia.

“Modern Automatic Train Control systems can facilitate a range of service improvements, such as schedule and headway optimisation, turn-up-and-go service frequencies, real-time passenger information, faster recovery from operational disruptions, and better regulation of train traffic at network pinch points.”

The system will use a Communications Based Train Control System (CBTC), and the project’s wider scope covers implementing automation train operation, supervision, and regulation, as well as the construction of a Rail Operations Centre, a back-up signalling equipment room, and upgrades to the current Alternate Train Control facility. Current signalling and control systems are reaching the end of their operational life.

“The High Capacity Signalling project will make better, more efficient use of the existing rail network. The existing signalling and control systems are nearing the end of their asset lives. Upgrading them to an integrated high-capacity signalling system will give Perth’s rail network the capacity to grow while also creating more reliable, safe and punctual train operations. Coupling this project with Metronet new lines and stations will create a more attractive public transport network for Perth residents,” said PTA spokesman, David Hynes.

Madew said the project aligns with the priorities of Infrastructure Australia.

“It’s important to note that the High Capacity Signalling Project strongly aligns with Infrastructure Australia’s own recommendations to improve the performance of urban rail networks in our capital cities by making better use of existing networks and technology.”

Implementing the signalling project would enable capacity increases of up to 150 per cent on the rail network and the business case submitted by the WA Public Transport Authority found a cost benefit ratio of 2.6.

The business case stated that a single contractor will design, build, and maintain the Automatic Train Control system, and that the first roll out would be either on the North-South line group by 2026 or the South-East line group also by 2026.

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the signalling upgrades will fit alongside other improvements to the network also designated significant by Infrastructure Australia.

“For people in the north of Perth the Morley-Ellenbrook Line will be 21 kms of rail line improving connectivity and productivity for locals,” said Tudge.

“At the same time the Capacity Signalling System project will improve the performance of the current rail network by allowing trains to run more often, reliably and safely.

“Metronet will get cars off the road, bust congestion, connect communities to jobs and services and unlock opportunities for business growth in the region.”