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.

Mandurah station carpark under construction

A new carpark at Mandurah station, south of Perth, is now under construction.

Ground breaking occurred today, Tuesday September 8 on the $32 million, three storey carpark. The carpark will add an additional 700 parking bays, taking the total number of parking at the station to 1,800 bays.

The extra parking is hoped to encourage more commuters to use the Mandurah line and fits with existing transport patterns as 70 per cent of passengers at Mandurah station travel to the station by car. The current carpark reaches 90 per cent capacity by 9am on weekdays.

As the terminus of the Mandurah line, Mandurah Station provides a rail connection for the wider Peel region to the Perth metro area, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“As an end-of-the-line station, Mandurah caters not just to those living and working in suburban Mandurah but those from further afar and these upgrades will help future-proof public transport for communities across the Peel region and beyond.”

The carpark is funded by both the federal and WA government. Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the carpark would work alongside other transport investments.

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

SmartParker machines as well as security and safety technology will be installed as part of the construction of the carpark. While the new carpark is under construction a temporary carpark has been set up off Morfitt Street.

Constructed by WA builder PS Structures, WA Premier Mark McGowan said that it was important that these projects supported the local economy.

“This is all part of our plan to keep Building for Tomorrow, which is about getting shovels into the ground and constructing lasting transport infrastructure across WA for generations to come.”

The carpark is expected to open in the second half of 2021.

Level crossings to go and access improved on Armadale Line

The Western Australia government has unveiled a series of works for Perth’s Armadale Line to improve safety and increase access along the line through Perth’s south-eastern suburbs.

The WA government and federal government will jointly fund the removal of up to six level crossings.

The $415 million plan to remove three level crossings at Oats Street, Mint Street, and Welshpool Road, along with assessment of three level crossings at William, Wharf, and Hamilton streets has been submitted to Infrastructure Australia.

Procurement will begin on the Metronet project before the end of 2020, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“Submitting the business case to Infrastructure Australia is the next step forward to removing these boom gates,” she said.

The rail line will be raised over the road at the level crossings for up to 2.8 kilometres. The elevated rail option will enable better connections between adjoining communities, safer roads, and less noise.

As part of the WA Recovery Plan, train stations on the Armadale line will be upgraded to improve disability access.

$8 million will be spent on Cannington, Gosnells, and Kelmscott stations to bring them up to the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (DSAPT).

These improvements will include better pedestrian access, the relocation of passenger information and ticket vending machines, and better lighting, signage, and CCTV coverage.

At Gosnells station, upgrades to the parking area will be part of the works, while at Kelmscott Station the bus stand infrastructure will also be improved.

“Public transport is for everyone, and we have a responsibility to ensure that anybody using our stations can do so as safely as possible, regardless of their mobility levels,” said Saffioti.

“These upgrades will mean all patrons using Cannington, Gosnells and Kelmscott stations will be able to use Transperth train services with dignity and independence.”

The project is part of the WA Recovery Plan, which has identified projects that can begin immediately and inject activity into the WA economy.

designs

WA reveals new station designs and combined construction disruption website

Updated designs for new train stations on the Thornlie-Cockburn Link were unveiled by the Western Australia and federal governments on Sunday, August 23.

The designs were showcased as contractor NEWest Alliance, a joint venture of Downer Group and CPB Contractors has mobilised on site. The first works will involve the relocation of utilities and moving the current freight line to the northern side of the corridor to allow for the duplication of the line to serve passenger services.

Two new stations will be built on the east-west line, at Nicholson Road and Ranford Road. Thornlie and Cockburn Central stations will be upgraded. The Ranford Road station will include a new, higher road bridge to future-proof the rail corridor.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said he was pleased to see work underway on the project.

Maintaining activity in the construction sector is a pillar of our economic recovery, and Metronet projects like this are creating hundreds of jobs from designers to engineers to tradespeople to truck drivers,” he said.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the project would support over 1,500 jobs during the next four years and will tie in with projects such as the Kwinana Freeway widening and the North Lake Road Bridge.

“These major works will create more vibrant communities with connections to good quality public transport.”

Constructed is expected to be complete by 2022 and trains will begin running in 2023.

The WA government also launched the Building for Tomorrow program, which brings together Metronet projects as well as road, cycling and marine upgrades around Perth and regional Western Australia. The new website highlights construction updates and disruptions to minimise impacts on surrounding communities.

“All efforts will be made to co-ordinate works with minimal impact to the public but with an investment of this scale, construction will undoubtedly cause disruption to commuters in the short-term,” said Saffioti.

“It is important the public are aware of the disruptions near them, understand why the works are going on and when they are expected to be completed.

“The Building for Tomorrow campaign and website will build awareness of the specific works and assist the public in making informed travel choices.”

Fremantle Traffic Bridge

Procurement fast tracked for new rail-road bridge

A new multimodal bridge over the Swan River at Fremantle will be brought forward by six months.

The $240 million project is funded on a 50-50 basis by the Western Australia and federal governments and has had procurement brought forward by six months, with construction expected to start by late 2021, said federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge.

“Fremantle continues to be a bustling hub and we brought forward funds so construction on this project could kick off sooner.”

The bridge will carry rail and road traffic, as well as providing a pedestrian and cycle link between north and south Fremantle. The current bridge is nearing the end of its useful life.

The alliance contract is expected to be awarded in early 2021, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“Community consultation is now underway and will inform the project’s development and design to ensure we reach the best possible outcome for this significant infrastructure in Fremantle.”

Infrastructure Australia added the project to its Infrastructre Priority List in February, 2019. The independent advisory body noted that rail connectivity in the region is limited due to the shared Fremantle Rail Bridge. Currently, passenger services are given priority, however both freight and passenger volumes on the bridge are expected to increase. Adding more connections would prevent delays and improve freight efficiency into and away from Fremantle Port.

In seeking community input for the project in early August 2020, the WA government noted that the project is highly complex and positioned in a challenging area. Issues including heritage-listing, ensuring continued connectivity while the new bridge is constructed, and ensuring ease of navigation on the river will impact upon the nature of the project.

“It has been well known for more than a decade that the Fremantle Traffic Bridge needs replacing so we’re excited to reach the stage of community consultation,” Saffioti said at the time.

Claremont

Contract awarded for tracklaying at Claremont Station

The Western Australian government has announced the successful tenderer for the $36 million contract for tracklaying at Claremont station.

John Holland is the successful contractor and will complete the works at the station, part of the Metronet project.

Scheduled for completion in late 2021, with rail infrastructure operational by mid 2021, the work involves installing turnbacks west of Claremont Station on the Fremantle line.

The turnbacks will allow trains to travel back towards the city after stopping at Claremont. This will allow greater frequency services on the Fremantle and Forrestfield-Airport Link lines. Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that local and city-wide works required the new infrastructure.

“We know significant development is taking place around Claremont Station – which is currently the third-busiest on the Fremantle Line – and we expect patronage of this station to increase significantly, which is why this upgrade is so important,” she said.

“Claremont Station is located halfway along the Fremantle Line, so is ideally positioned to host turnbacks – it’s a vital part of ensuring our rail network is well-placed to deal with future demand particularly when the Forrestfield- Airport Link comes online in late 2021.”

During normal peak periods turnback one will be used every ten minutes. Turnback two will be used during peak periods and special events as required, or when there are planned or unplanned service disruptions.

In addition to the new track, Claremont station will be upgraded to meet accessibility standards and a new underpass will be constructed. Bus facilities and pedestrian connections are also part of the project.

Saffioti said that works would support the local economy.

“This $36 million contract will help support 300 local jobs in the community, an excellent outcome for the project.”

container

WA endorses plan for new container port at Kwinana fed by rail

The Western Australia government has endorsed the creation of a new container port at Kwinana to relieve pressure on Fremantle Inner Harbour.

With the state’s freight task expected to overwhelm capacity at Fremantle by the mid-2030s, the independent Westport Taskforce recommended a new container terminal at Kwinana, supported by rail links and intermodal terminals.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said that the decision was about preparing the state for the future.

“It is imperative that we plan for Perth’s long-term future, beyond the capacity limits of Fremantle Port and its road and rail links,” he said.

“Fremantle Port has served our State for the last one hundred years, it’s now time to plan and build the next big piece of economic infrastructure that sets our State up for the next century.”

Moving container freight to Kwinana by 2032 would reduce pressure on inner city roads and allow for further capacity. A decision on whether to transition from Fremantle to Kwinana in one step or over a phased period is yet to be made.

The report found that the current freight rail corridor would need to be expanded for Fremantle to handle larger volumes of freight, and that works to do so, including duplicating the line, would cost an estimated $1.4 billion. A new port at Kwinana would potentially remove the need for a freight line running through Fremantle, the report noted.

An alternative option of increasing the size of the port at Bunbury was also held back by the cost of duplicating the South West main rail line.

For the two preferred options, a series of upgrades will need to be made. These include duplicating the rail line close to the Forrestfield Intermodal Terminal, the single track from Cockburn to Kwinana, and the connection between the Kwinana Triangle and the Kwinana marshalling yard. In addition, a new railway from the Anketell Triangle to the port itself would need to be constructed.

The WA government will now spend $97.2 million to progress the options for the future port, including developed a detailed design for rail connections to the port.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that the state was already supporting getting more freight onto rail.

“We have reached our target of 20 per cent of freight onto rail, a record number, that translates to 110,000 trucks off our roads each year.”

manufacturing

WA funds local manufacturing and maintenance of railcars

The Western Australian government will ensure more rollingstock maintenance and manufacturing happens in WA, with a $40 million investment and a new focus on building iron ore cars in the state.

$40m will go towards the maintenance of Western Australia’s new Australind fleet with the construction of an expanded Metronet Railcar Manufacturing and Assembly facility in Bellevue.

WA Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti announced that the Bellevue site will be grow to include the maintenance of the new diesel multiple units (DMUs), manufactured by Alstom, which will replace the current Australind fleet.

The Bellevue facility will also service the Prospector and AvonLink railcars, WA’s infrastructure diagnostic vehicle, and track maintenance and rail shunting locomotives.

WA had previously brought railcar manufacturing back to the state with the announcement that 246 C-series railcars will be built with 50 per cent local content, said McGowan.

“One of my Government’s key election commitments was to return railcar manufacturing back to the Midland area,” he said.

“We’re delivering on this and now we’re doing what we can to ensure we’re removing interruptions in supply chains and allowing local businesses to take advantage of the great manufacturing opportunities in our State.”

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the scale of the project will provide opportunities for local workers and suppliers.

“Around 250 railcars will be produced at Bellevue over the next decade, while it will also serve as a permanent maintenance facility for the expanded METRONET fleet,” she said.

“This new $40 million diesel maintenance facility will be a new key element to the services provided at Bellevue and will provide local job and training opportunities for local Western Australians.”

In a joint statement, McGowan and Saffioti said that an “action group” will be created to investigate the viability of manufacturing and maintaining iron ore railcar wagons that service the iron ore rail network in the Pilbara. This manufacturing could occur in the Pilbara or other parts of WA. Currently, manufacture of iron ore wagons often happens in China.

The study will look at how initiatives can support the steel fabrication industry in WA, and maintenance opportunities for new and existing ore wagons.

A contract for the construction of the diesel maintenance facility will be awarded next year.

Construction of the main manufacturing site is underway and is expected to be completed later in 2020. Local manufacturers are now able to register to supply components to the railcars.

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.