Heritage tree relocated as part of METRONET works

An 80-year-old Kurrajong tree has been relocated to allow for construction at the Bayswater Station in Perth, part of the METRONET project.

The tree was moved to nearby Bert Wright Park, with the assistance of one crane, followed by a mobile crane which transported the tree to the nearby park. Residents were following the relocation closely, noted Marylands MLA, Lisa Baker.

“Preparation works for the tree relocation began in May 2019, when a trench was dug around the tree and its roots trimmed. Soil was then backfilled into the trench, and the tree was left for six months for careful monitoring over the winter,” she said.

“While residents were no doubt thrilled to witness the incredible sight of a massive tree being craned down one of their main streets, its relocation also marks an exciting new stage in the Bayswater Station Upgrade project.”

Moving the tree will allow for the station’s eastern entrance to be upgraded, to allow for better integration with the surrounding commercial centre and meet disability standards.

As part of the METRONET project, Bayswater will become a significant transport hub, located at the intersection of the Midland line, the Forrestfield-airport link, and the Morley-Ellenbrook line.

Once completed, the new Bayswater station will host six-car trains, be compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act, and have more connections to bus services. Additionally, the King William Street bridge will be raised by a metre to 4.8 metres, to avoid collisions with high vehicles and trucks, which frequently caused delays.

Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, noted that the station’s new design incorporated the views of the local community.

“While residents were no doubt thrilled to witness the incredible sight of a massive tree being craned down one of their main streets, its relocation also marks an exciting new stage in the Bayswater Station Upgrade project,” she said.

“We know having properly integrated train stations and transport infrastructure can transform local communities in to buzzing hubs of retail, recreational and residential life.

Alstom finalises $1.3 billion contract for WA’s biggest railcar order

Alstom will build 246 Metronet railcars as well as a manufacturing and assembly plant in Bellevue, Western Australia, after the project contract was finalised this week.

According to the state government, the railcar manufacturing order “has come in $347 million under the original budget of $1.6 billion”. Under the 10-year contract at least 50 per cent of the railcars will be built locally.

As part of the project, Alstom will establish a base in WA at the 12,000 square metre plant near the old Midland Railway Workshops where railcar maintenance will also be carried out for the next 30 years.

“Work will start on building the new production plant in Bellevue and completed in 2021 next year, on top of six other Metronet projects that will be under construction in 2020 alone,” WA premier Mark McGowan said.

Since the closure of the Midland Railway Workshops in 1994, WA’s trains have been predominately built in Queensland with only two per cent of the work completed in WA. The local work will create 200 jobs as well as a number of indirect jobs, according to the WA government.

“Not only were local jobs lost, it was also more expensive to outsource railcar supply. The cost per railcar under the last order of B-Series trains was $4.05 million, while the cost under the new C-Series contract is around $2.97 million,” a government spokesperson has said.

Local companies have already been awarded contracts for fitting out the Bellevue railcar plant, including a $3.8 million contract awarded to Vector Lifting for the delivery of lifting jacks, a bogie press and bogie turntables has. An $850,000 contract for the supply of four cranes was recently awarded to Bassendean manufacturer Eilbeck.

“We’ve secured a quality deal for the state, by bundling multiple railcar orders into one super-contract, we have encouraged the market to make very competitive bids for the work,” minister for transport Rita Saffioti said.

“Importantly, this project will also deliver two three-car sets to replace The Australind and provide South-West residents with the reliable rail service they deserve.”

The contract includes 246 railcars, arranged in 41 six-car EMU sets, for additional Metronet capacity and to replace the ageing A-Series. It also includes six railcars to replace the existing Australind service, which will be delivered as two three-car DMU sets.

The first C-series trains produced at the Bellevue plant will be ready to use on the network in 2022 and will have an operational life of 35 years.  The new Australind railcars are expected to be ready in 2022-23.

Alstom Australia & New Zealand managing director Mark Coxon said the contract structure would allow the state to manage Perth’s projected future growth while re-establishing its rail manufacturing industry.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and look forward to partnering with the state of Western Australia to deliver this significant project,” Coxon said.

Better technology including LED lighting, USB charging points and regenerative braking will also be installed to make the new trains more efficient. Once operational, Alstom’s HealthHub predictive maintenance tools will be used to optimise performance and reliability.

“The project will see the transfer of the latest railway technologies and manufacturing processes to Western Australia, establishing the most technologically advanced train manufacturing and maintenance sites in Australia,” an Alstom spokesperson said.

The company is also set to partner with local TAFE and training organisations to create new fast-tracked training and skills development programmes.

Perth B-series train. Credit: Creative Commons / DBZ2313

WA infrastructure package a win for Metronet

 A $940 million infrastructure package for projects across Western Australia, including Metronet, was jointly announced by the federal and state governments on Wednesday.

The bulk of the funding will go towards eight existing road and rail projects, while a total of more than $200 million, contributed by both governments, will fund six new projects.

Among the new projects, $80 million is slated for the construction of a new Metronet station at Lakelands on the Mandurah rail line. Of this, $64 million is contributed by federal government and $16 million by the state.

The total amount of federal funding for WA’s infrastructure will rise to $5.4 billion from about $4.5 billion over the next four years after a further $868 million federal injection.

“This new agreement with the Commonwealth comes on top of the almost 500 road and Metronet projects currently underway or in the pipeline – when complete it will be an unprecedented transformation of our transport network,” premier of WA Mark McGowan said.

McGowan said the package of works will generate around 1,000 jobs, adding to the thousands of other jobs being created by other WA infrastructure projects that are either under construction or in the pipeline.

“The package of works has something for Perth’s northern, eastern and southern suburbs which are all experiencing significant population growth,” WA minister for transport Rita Saffioti said

“The State Government put forward an ambitious timeframe for the existing projects and we’re working hard to get new contracts underway, as soon as possible, including having to work through Federal environmental processes.”

Metronet’s environmental impact up for assessment

The environmental assessment process has begun for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line, according to WA transport minister Rita Saffioti.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has received the first of two environmental assessment submissions from the Public Transport Authority (PTA) on behalf of the state government.

“Metronet projects like the Morley-Ellenbrook Line limit urban sprawl, reduce reliance on cars and help create more sustainable communities,” Saffioti said.

“We will continue to work with environmental regulators to ensure this legacy project for Perth minimises its impacts and maximises its role in supporting the long-term sustainability of our city as it grows.”

The state government is making its submissions in two parts, because there are different environmental values along the 21km Morley-Ellenbrook line. The first submission covers the Bayswater to Malaga rail works from the Bayswater industrial area to Malaga within the Tonkin Highway median.

“We have used the existing Tonkin Highway corridor as much as possible and much of the alignment follows largely unvegetated land,” Saffioti said.

The Bayswater to Malaga area has largely been cleared during previous projects, and so there are minimal environmentally sensitive values. The PTA’s submission therefore focused on reducing amenity impacts, such as noise and vibration, to nearby residents.

According to a PTA statement, their project team has avoided sensitive sites and will continue to work closely with regulators to identify, avoid, minimise and mitigate any potential impacts.

The second submission, covering rail work from Malaga to Ellenbrook, is scheduled to be delivered to the EPA by early 2020. This proposed section of the future rail line travels through Marshall Road land, across the narrowest part of the Bennett Brook and land parallel to New Lord Street.

“In the meantime, we look forward to starting the first stage of the Morley-Ellenbrook Line very soon by starting early works for the Bayswater Station Upgrade,” Saffioti said.

The Bayswater Station Upgrade is the first stage of the Morley-Ellenbrook Line construction and will commence during December.

Metronet East redevelopment to add new stations

Two Perth train stations are to be added to the Western Australian Government’s Metronet East Redevelopment Area “to ensure vibrancy, housing and jobs are the focus of each revitalisation”, according to a statement from Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

The project will expand the existing Midland redevelopment area to incorporate the Bayswater and Forrestfield station precincts in Perth. The process is expected to take around 12 months, with Planning Control Areas to be organised in the interim by the WA Planning Commission.

“It is important for the wider community that the State Government harnesses its investment in Metronet to deliver outcomes such as quality infill, housing choice and jobs — which will build a stronger economy and save taxpayers in the longer term,” Minister Saffioti said.

Works at Forrestfield are currently underway, with early works on the Bayswater station upgrade expected to commence in 2019.

Minister Saffioti said that consultation would take place with the cities of Bayswater, Kalamunda and Swan in the coming months to discuss the amendment of the Midland Redevelopment Scheme project being led by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA).

The MRA is working with Bayswater on its town centre structure plan to make sure it incorporates the new plans, while Kalamunda will continue to plan the broader Forrestfield area outside the redevelopment area.

“By creating Metronet East we bring together our commitment to creating more housing and employment choice and maximising our transformative investment in the Bayswater, Forrestfield and Midland areas,” Saffioti said.

“The best possible outcome for each of the Metronet East precincts would be for them to develop into more attractive areas for people to live, work and visit for recreation.”

Demolition commences on Perth level crossing removal

Procurement and demolition works have begun on the Denny Avenue level crossing removal project in the Perth suburb of Kelmscott.

Old buildings in the vicinity of the crossing, which the WA State Government referred to as being “notoriously dangerous”, are being cleared through the federal- and state-funded public transport program Metronet to make room for its Kelmscott project development. The scope of the demolition includes five state houses on Railway Avenue and Third Avenue.

Statistics from the WA Government state that the boom gates at the Denny Avenue level crossing are down for an average of three hours and seven minutes a day, with excessive wait times leading to risk-taking behaviour from drivers who try to cross the track when the boom gate is down or descending.

Work is set to commence later in the year to replace the crossing through the development of a lowered road and raised rail at Davis Road, which runs parallel to Denny Avenue. The crossing at Denny Avenue will be removed entirely.

The WA government is engaging contractors to help design and construct the $69 million development, which will incorporate a rail and bridge contract and a road and civic infrastructure contract.

“Each package of works has a different risk profile for the contractor, so the decision was made to split them into two design and construct contracts,” said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“The removal of the Denny Avenue level crossing will greatly improve the daily lives of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, improving safety and decreasing road congestion in the area.”

The chosen contractors will be required to work under the proviso that they keep road and rail disruption in the Kelmscott area to a minimum.

The Denny Avenue project marks an important milestone as the first part of Metronet’s level crossing removal program.