The $8.3 billion North West Rail Link has reached its most important milestone yet with a preferred operator selected to run the new rapid transit service.
The NSW Government has announced that the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium has been selected as the preferred operator to deliver the project’s operations contract.
As previously announced, this consortium is made up of: MTR Corporation (Australia), John Holland, Leighton Contractors, UGL Rail Services and Plenary Group.
“This is a landmark moment for the North West Rail Link and the NSW Government will now work with the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium to further negotiate and finalise this multi-billion-dollar contract, which is expected to be awarded later this year,” Premier Mike Baird said. “This will be one of the biggest Public Private Partnerships ever awarded in the history of NSW – and shows again how hard the NSW Government is working to ease congestion and get this state moving.”
A number of other milestones for the project have also been announced, including:
- The first Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) has now been built overseas and is on its way to Australia from France via China;
- The first TBM has been named ‘Elizabeth’ by a local student, after colonial icon Elizabeth Rouse;
- 'Elizabeth’ will be in the ground by October; the second TBM by the end of this year;
- The exact location of the first two TBM entry points has been revealed at Bella Vista, where major excavation of the site has reached almost 10 metres.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said two consortiums were competing for the operations contract.
“We attracted the cream of the crop from across Australia and around the world for the operations contract, and I thank everyone involved in both the private sector and Government for all their hard work,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I also thank the Transform consortium for their involvement in this major, highly competitive tendering process, which will ensure we deliver the best new rapid transit system for Sydney that we possibly can.”
The Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract includes:
- Building the eight brand new railway stations;
- Delivering 4,000 commuter car parking spaces;
- Supplying Sydney’s new generation, fully-automated rapid transit trains;
- Building and operating the stabling and maintenance facility at Tallawong Road;
- Installing tracks, signalling, mechanical and electrical systems;
- Upgrading and converting the railway between Epping to Chatswood to rapid transit status; and
- Operating the North West Rail Link – including all maintenance work.
Ms Berejiklian said due to the highly commercial nature of ongoing discussions with the preferred consortium, the NSW Government will be in a position to provide more detail about Northwest Rapid Transit’s proposal when the contracts are signed later this year.
“This ensures that NSW taxpayers get the best deal possible from this important contract, which will make up a large part of the total $8.3 billion project cost.”
The NSW Government will pay the successful operator to run the North West Rail Link and meet customer service contract requirements like running trains on time and making sure they are clean. Importantly, the Government will set and control fares. “We have made it clear that if the operator can’t meet these standards, they will suffer a financial penalty which will be written into the operating contracts,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Tunnel Boring Machines
The Bella Vista railway station site continues to be prepared for the first of four massive tunnel boring machines.
Ms Berejiklian said: “We’ve excavated this major tunnelling site, and now the first of the four TBMs is on its way. I’m also very pleased that we can announce today the second TBM will also be in the ground by the end of this year. We are really getting moving with this important project. The tunnelling phase of construction will support around 900 jobs – with a major recruitment drive now underway. This is great news for jobseekers in Western Sydney".
“Following a naming competition involving school students from the North West, the first TBM will be named ‘Elizabeth’, after local colonial icon Elizabeth Rouse. It has been a longheld tradition worldwide to name TBMs after women, and I thank Alexandra Marshall from Rouse Hill Anglican College for her winning contribution".
“I look forward to Alexandra’s involvement in Elizabeth’s official launch in October this year, and members of the public will also be able to track her journey to Bella Vista using the North West Rail Link website."