New South Wales: Railway is gaining strength in the transport field

New South Wales is Australia’s most populous state, with more than a third of the country’s residents. The need to improve communications in large urban centers favored the approval of an ambitious transport program for the next 20 years by the State Government, during 2012-2013.

The program includes the “NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan”, with a global investment of 260,000 million Australian dollars (€ 174,278 M) for transport services and infrastructures throughout the state.

First Phase of the Sydney Metro

“Sydney Metro Northwest”, formerly “North West Rail Link”, is the first stage of the Sydney Metro. It will also be the first fully automated railway system in the country. Trains will pass every four minutes at rush hour, with an average of 15 trains per hour. In June 2016, the Consortium managed by ACS CIMIC, together with John Holland and Dragados, completed the works of this project in the Northwest, with an investment of 8,300 million Australian dollars (5,615 million Euros). The works included the construction of 15 kilometers of tunnels and five stations. This section is expected to be commissioned in 2019. This corridor will provide new railway infrastructure and services to 300,000 residents in the Northwest of the city (Epping, Macquarie Park, Chatswood, St Leonards, North Sydney and the CBD). This is a fast growing area in the surroundings of the city.

 Metro City & Southwest

The second stage of the Sydney Metro, the project known as “Metro City & Southwest” will extend the network from Northwest, under the city’s port, to Bankstown. It will have 66 new kilometers and new underground stations and it is expected to enter into commercial operation in 2024.

At present, there are several lots involved in the bidding process. In June 2017, the Australian construction company CIMIC, subsidiary of ACS, was awarded the new metro line under the city’s bay for the amount of 1,902 million Euros. The project includes the construction of two twin tunnels of 15.5 kilometers. The works also include the demolition of existing buildings in the places crossed by the line and the construction of six new stations. These works are expected to be completed by mid-2021.

 CBD and South East Light Rail

This new light rail service is expected to enter into commercial operation in early 2019. In December 2014, the ALTRAC Light Rail consortium was awarded by the Government of New South Wales in Australia the construction of a 12-kilometer light rail network in Sydney. The U.T.E. will also be in charge of the current Inner West Light Rail line. This project is intended for the Central Business District and South East Light Rail and has a budget of 2,100 million Australian dollars (about 1,400 million Euros). The consortium consisting of Acciona, Transdev Sydney, Alstom Transport Australia and Capella Capital, is responsible for its design, construction, operation and maintenance. As part of the project, the works include 12 kilometers of tracks, 19 stops, a bridge over the Eastern Distributor freeway, a tunnel under Moore Park, control center facilities, depots for light rail units, a maintenance depot and substations and other service buildings across the route. Given that this is a highly complex project, significant relocations of power, telecommunications and gas service infrastructures have been required, as well as an extensive urban regeneration, such as the transformation into a pedestrian promenade of a part of George Street, which is one of the main arteries of the city in the Central Business District. Therefore, in addition to Transport for NSW, various design improvements, including larger train cars with a capacity exceeding 15 buses, have been approved. As a result, the new light rail network will be able to transport up to 15% more passengers at peak times. The project includes a wireless infrastructure to preserve the aesthetics of the Central Business District. Urban transport plans are also booming in other cities such as Newcastle or Canberra. The railway is once again chosen as a means of mobility that is essential for the population growth.

Newcastle Light Rail

Newcastle, the sixth most important city in Australia and the second of the State of New South Wales also bets on the railway. The City Council, along with the Government support, has implemented a project for a light rail line. This is a 2.7-kilometer network that runs from the Wickham interchanger to the Pacific Park in the East. The route will follow the old railway corridor for about a third of the route before crossing the Hunter and Scott streets. Trains will pass every 7.5 minutes during peak hours and they will be able to transport 1,200 people per hour. This new fleet of vehicles has been entrusted to the CAF Company.

Parramata Light Rail

“Parramatta Light Rail” is one of New South Wales’ most recent infrastructure projects aimed at reinforcing Sydney’s urban mobility. In the first stage, it will link Westmead to Carlingford via the “Parramatta CBD” with a double track network covering 12 kilometers and it is expected to be opened in 2023. Works on the 20-kilometer line will begin at the end of 2018 and their completion is expected by 2023. The route is expected to run from Westmead to Strathfield, with a second line deflected to Carlingford. The network will include stops at up to six train stations in the West of the city. There are also plans regarding the construction of transport interchangers at the Westmead, Parramatta, Olympic Park, Strathfield and Carlingford railway stations.

Canberra Light Rail

Capital Metro Light Rail is a “Transport Canberra” project that is expected to enter into commercial operation in 2019. Its budget is in the amount of 500 million Euros. In a first stage, there will be 13 km and 12 stops that will link the area of ​​ Gungahlin to the City Center. At present, the second phase is also carried out with the aim of extending the network to the South to Woden passing through the area of ​​the Parliament. This extension takes into consideration a length of between 10 and 13 additional km and up to 13 stops.

In 2016, the “Canberra Metro” Consortium was in charge of the first phase of the well-known “Capital Metro Light Rail”, which will link the Australian capital to the Gungahlin area. This Unión Temporal de Empresas (U.T.E.) benefits from the presence of CAF, which will supply 13 tramways belonging to URBOS family, Pacific Partnerships and CPB Contractors, both belonging to the CIMIC Group.

The Consortium also consists of other companies, such as John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments and DB Engineering & Consulting.