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 grain growers to support rail freight

Grain growers cooperative CBH Group has welcomed the Western Australian government’s Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight (RARF) Strategy and committed to work on business cases to fund improvements to rail lines.

The RARF was released on June 29 and outlines a targeted program of upgrades and improvements to WA’s regional freight lines, particularly those that enable grain to be transported from growers to ports.

CBH Group, which provides grain haulage services to its member growers, has been working with the state government and infrastructure manager Arc Infrastructure on the project, said CEO Jimmy Wilson.

“CBH has had the opportunity to give practical and pragmatic input to the development of the strategy, including data on forecast grain production growth and a focus on what will deliver the greatest transfer of grain tonnes from road to rail,” said Wilson.

Wilson said the RARF is “an important and essential step in improving the efficiency of the Western Australian grain supply chain through strategic rail and road investment”.

The RARF named upgrades to rail lines from Perth to Geraldton, Mullewa to Perenjori, Albany to Hyden/Newdegate, and Esperance to Salmon Gums, as priority project packages. CBH is already working on business cases for a new passing loop at Broomehill and rail siding extensions at Brookton, Cranbrook and Moora, which will allow for longer trains to be loaded at those sites.

It is expected that CBH and Arc Infrastructure will lead the improvements, with support from the WA government.

“The low-cost, high benefit projects outlined in the strategy would facilitate the transfer of more grain tonnes off road onto rail, deliver more rapid rail movement from site to port to capture the market window when the Black Sea is least active, as well as improve efficiencies in the road network where rail is not an option,” said Wilson.

In her foreword to the strategy, WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said that she hoped the works would improve efficiency, safety, and productivity in WA’s supply chain, and enable Australian growers to compete in international markets.

The strategy sets the foundation for improvements to WA’s network over the next 10-15 years.

“We look forward to working with the state government on progressing business cases for funding the priority projects identified in the strategy that will support the ongoing international competitiveness of Western Australian grain growers,” said Wilson.

Regional freight strategy identifies upgrades to WA network

The Western Australia state government has released a targeted program of regional freight rail upgrades to get more agricultural freight onto rail.

Rail improvements are suggested in each of the regions studied in the Revitalising Agricultural Regional Freight Strategy (RARF) report, released on Monday, June 29.

These upgrades include rail lines from Perth to Geraldton, Mullewa to Perenjori, Albany to Hyden/Newdegate, and Esperance to Salmon Gums, in addition to rail improvements throughout the Wheatbelt region.

The RARF strategy also recommends a review of the interface agreements for disused Tier 3 rail corridors and the inclusion of rail lines into the National Land Transport Network.

With the strategy now published, the state government will now prepare a submission to Infrastructure Australia for investment in regional freight networks. WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that the report will guide investment and that work is already underway.

“The RARF Strategy is a blueprint for strategic investment for agricultural infrastructure in our WA regions, underpinning the agricultural sector in our State.

“Work has already started with industry on progressing project packages, with the State Government working with CBH and Arc Infrastructure to progress business cases for Tier 1 and Tier 2 railway packages identified as a priority in this strategy.”

Arc Infrastructure general manager commercial & development, Nathan Speed, said that Arc would work with CBH and the state government to upgrade lines it manages.

“Arc Infrastructure congratulates the Government for the release of the State’s agricultural freight strategy,” he said.

“We look forward to working with Government on these and other projects from RARF that will support the ongoing international competitiveness of WA grain growers, and deliver long-term benefits to the economy and state.”

The report notes that where private or leased infrastructure is concerned, as in the case of WA’s freight rail lines which are leased to Arc Infrastructure, the private sector is expected to lead the development of business cases.

As well as upgrades to track infrastructure, the report highlights the need for intermodal terminals around the network, including on the Avon (Northam) rail corridor, between Perth and Geraldton, Brookton and Northam, and Albany and Hyden/Newdegate.

Based on feedback received on the draft strategy, a more targeted list of projects were included in the final RARF strategy.

Earlier in June, the WA government confirmed it was undertaking an assessment of the cost of reopening the disused Tier 3 grain lines.

“We recognise there is a lot of sentiment around the Tier 3 lines and have commissioned an engineering assessment to advise on the cost and time required for potential rehabilitation,” said Saffioti.

Coinciding with the release of the RARF strategy is the release of the South West Supply Chain Strategy for public comment.

“The draft South West Supply Chain Strategy identifies and prioritises future road, rail, air and port infrastructure requirements in the South-West region and establishes a framework and direction for future freight transport related investment in the region for the next 10-15 years,” said Saffioti.

The report identifies a need for investment in the region’s rail network as strategic locations are approaching operational capacity. In addition, the reconfiguration of rail access to Bunbury Port will allow for the rail infrastructure to meet the needs of bulk exporters. Another area the report identifies as needing investment is the establishment of container rail services between Bunbury and Perth for broader export and domestic market.

To address these challenges, the report cites the need for line duplication, new passing loops, and rail sidings. The report also explores the possibility of a intermodal freight terminal at the Waterloo Industrial Precinct.

Speed said that Arc is working towards getting lithium ore onto rail.

“We continue to collaborate with Talison Lithium and government on the development of the business case for the rail based supply chain from the Greenbushes mine, as outlined in the South West Supply Chain Strategy. We hope to commence detailed project feasibility in late 2020.”

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.

Passenger services modernised on regional WA services

Passenger services on Transwa regional trains in Western Australia will be upgraded, with the potential of a bring your own device service for entertainment and wi-fi connectivity.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that ENGIE/Icomera will first look into installing the BYO device hardware on Transwa’s bus fleet, with the plan to roll out the same feature to regional train services operated by Transwa.

“The McGowan Government is fully committed to getting the best possible outcomes for our regions, and that includes the amenity of the trains and road coaches available,” said Saffioti.

“High-quality onboard entertainment is a big part of that, and I am pleased that we are able to capitalise on advances in modern technology to make further improvements in what is already an excellent service.”

The Prospector service between Kalgoorlie and Perth already has personalised on demand entertainment services and has recently been upgraded with a new content provider to give passengers a greater selection of movies.

ENGIE/Icomera has also been tasked to look into the feasibility of introducing wi-fi on the Prospector and AvonLink, MerredinLink, and Australind train services.

Other passenger services improvements include a real-time arrival and departure information screen at Kalgoorlie Station, which will overcome limited connectivity along the line, said Mining and Pastoral MLC Kyle McGinn.

“The on-time screens at Kalgoorlie Station will be of huge benefit to those picking up someone at the station, to ensure less time wasted waiting for a text message through some dodgy reception patches.”

When making the announcement on June 19, Saffioti also highlighted that on-train passenger assistants will be brought back in-house and will be employed directly by Transwa instead of through a subcontracted service provider, Delron.

The Rail, Tram, and Bus Union welcomed this decision.

“The WA Government’s acknowledgement of the superiority of public sector employment should not end here – we now need to build momentum to see more jobs brought back into the public system,” said WA PTA Branch Secretary Josh Dekuyer.

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.

Tier 3 grain lines assessment to evaluate cost, time to re-open

The Western Australian government has committed to an engineering assessment of unused Tier 3 grain lines in the state.

The assessment will determine the cost and time of bringing the mothballed freight lines back up to scratch.

The lines, which stretch over 500km, are managed by rail network operator Arc Infrastructure but were put into care and maintenance by the WA government in 2014. An Arc Infrastructure spokesperson said that it would facilitate the assessment.

“Arc Infrastructure understands the Public Transport Authority (PTA) has engaged a third party to conduct an engineering assessment on the Tier 3 lines. Arc is facilitating the assessment as required, by providing access to the network and some baseline data, however it is being completed independent to Arc.”

Grain handler CBH Group, whose grain freight trains, operated by Watco, take its grain to port, has also supported getting grain onto rail.

“CBH’s long-standing policy is that it supports grain on rail where it is economically viable to do so,” said CBH Group chief operations officer Ben Macnamara.

In 2014, the ABC estimated that it would cost $120 million to return the lines to operating conditions.

Following the closure, CBH Group and Arc Infrastructure entered into an arbitration process over access to the rail network. That process was completed in 2019, and the final agreement decided not to reopen the Tier 3 lines due to the deterioration in quality.

The WA government is close to completion of the Revitalising Agricultural Regional Freight Strategy (RARF) and is currently considering submissions. The draft strategy recommended improving the rail network in all regions, however noted that the re-opening of the Tier 3 lines is not part of the strategy.

The Arc Infrastructure spokesperson said that it was working with CBH on initiatives proposed in the RARF.

“We will continue to support the planning and design on any of the high priority RARF initiatives that will increase volume of grain being moved on rail for the benefit of WA growers.”

CBH’s Macnamara also looked forward to improving the rail network.

“The grain rail freight network is a significant part of the WA grain industry supply chain and CBH has welcomed the State Government’s development of the Revitalising Agricultural Region Freight Strategy,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing working with the government and industry on this important initiative.”

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.

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.”