Moorebank Intermodal Terminal. Graphic: MICL

New CEO appointed to manage Moorebank Intermodal Company

James Baulderstone will take over as the new CEO of the Moorebank Intermodal Company for a five year term.

Baulderstone most recently comes from GFG Alliance Australia, the owner of the Whyalla Steelworks, where he was strategic projects director. He has previously held executive roles at Santos and BlueScope Steel and has 30 years of experience in commercial, corporate, finance, and legal roles.

The Moorebank Intermodal Company is the federal government-owned entity which facilitates the development of an intermodal terminal at Moorebank. Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qube, is developing and will operate the terminal.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann welcomed Baulderstone’s appointment.

“Baulderstone has extensive leadership experience and he will work with the Board to provide strong strategic direction to support the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Precinct to progress from construction to a fully operational precinct,” said Cormann.

“The project is expected to deliver $11 billion in economic benefits over 30 years and to support 6,800 jobs in south-western Sydney once fully operational.”

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that Baulderstone will work to move more freight via rail.

“We look forward to working closely with Baulderstone to deliver the Moorebank Precinct which will increase warehousing capacity in south‑west Sydney and promote road to rail uptake so we can help stop future congestion on Sydney’s arterial roads.”

Previous CEO Erin Flaherty will continue as Chair of the Moorebank Intermodal Company board.

In June, Qube announced that Woolworths would be a major tenant at the Moorebank site and will utilise the site’s direct connection to Port Botany to remove freight from roads. Woolworths follows Target as a significant tenant.

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.

Lindum level crossing

Federal-state study identifies improvements to dangerous level crossing

A study into a notorious level crossing and station precinct in Brisbane’s east has attracted community input, with 300 surveys completed and 180 ideas shared in an online feedback portal.

The input was garnered as part of a community feedback process into the Lindum Station Precinct Study. Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the community feedback would inform the final design outcome.

“We will be looking at a range of options for the level crossing, including at-grade solutions or alternative locations,” he said.

In 2019, a woman was killed at the level crossing and the crossing has been a source of community and commuter frustration as it crosses a major regional road.

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said it was essential the community was involved in the station precinct’s redesign.

“Lindum Station and its surrounds are a crucial part of the local community. That’s why it’s vital we prioritise the community as part of the study.”

Bailey said that a new station, crossing, and precinct would safely cater for commuters, road traffic, nearby businesses, and create active transit connections.

Member for Bonner Ross Vasta said a range of options are being considered.

“Options to be explored to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians include grade separation, upgrading the existing level crossing and relocating the level crossing,” he said.

“The project will also consider station and parking upgrades.”

Community feedback will inform the development of a technical study, which will identify the best way to make the improvements to the station precinct.

The study is jointly funded by the federal and Queensland governments, with the federal government having committed $85 million to the construction of an upgrade to the Lindum Rail Crossing.

Ovingham

Ovingham level crossing to use road over rail bridge

The preferred design for the removal of the Ovingham level crossing in Adelaide’s inner north has been released.

Torrens Road will be elevated over the Gawler and freight railway lines in a $231 million works package. The western end of Churchill Road will also be raised to meet Torrens Road at the same elevation.

Tender for the project has been announced and a contract will be awarded later in 2020 with work to begin in 2021.

The design was chosen not only for its impact on traffic and constructability, but the minimal disruption to rail users and the freight line while the road is lifted above the track.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the project will have improve safety and traffic flow.

“Not only will this bust congestion, but it will give the SA economy an essential boost and it will mean more local jobs,” he said.

South Australian Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll said the current design of the road causes delays.

“At the moment the boom gates at this level crossing are down for around 26 minutes during both peak periods which causes traffic delays and frustrates motorists.

“Once complete, this level crossing upgrade will ensure motorists never have to wait for a train to pass again here, making their ride to and from work or home safer and faster.”

The Ovingham project is expected to be complete by 2023.

Western Sydney Airport Metro line to begin construction this year

An extra $3.5 billion will be invested by the NSW and federal governments for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport line, with construction to commence before the end of 2020, announced Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Construction is already well underway on the airport, and later this year works will start on this new Metro service which will link the suburbs of Western Sydney to the rest of Sydney,” said Morrison.

Morrison made the announcement of extra federal funding alongside NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“This project is moving forward, through the hard work that has been carried out by the Federal, New South Wales and local governments over the past year,” said Berejiklian.

“The opportunities this mega project will provide are vital as our economy recovers from the financial impact of the COVID-19.”

The line will include six metro stations, including two at the airport, one at the terminal and another at the business park. Stations will also be built in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, Orchard Hills, and Luddenham. An interchange station will be built at St Marys to connect the line with the rest of the Sydney network.

The 23km line is expected to cost $11bn and is scheduled to open in 2026 in time for the opening of Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said that the metro line will be at the centre of the under-development region.

“This new metro railway line will become the transport spine for the region, connecting travellers from the new airport to the rest of Sydney’s public transport system.”

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the project would support the wider economy.

“This project will support 14,000 jobs, bringing new opportunities for the people of Western Sydney, closer to home,” he said.

“It represents an economic stimulus in the middle of Western Sydney, supporting jobs for electricians, carpenters, plumbers, tunnellers, surveyors, crane and forklift operators and truck drivers.”

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.”

Builder selected for Mandurah Station carpark

A builder for the Mandurah Station multi-storey carpark in WA has been selected.

Local builder PS Structures won the $32 million contract to replace the existing northern carpark with a 1,800 bay carpark.

According to a joint federal-state government statement, over 70 per cent of passengers at Mandurah station travel to the station by car, with the carpark reaching 90 per cent capacity by 9am on weekdays.

Both governments have been investing in rail services near Mandurah, south of Perth, with the beginning of a request for proposal process for a new station for nearby Lakelands announced recently.

“This project is yet another way we are continuing to invest in the southern suburbs, with the Lakelands Station project also set to begin this year, and planning for another at Karnup underway,” said WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the expanded carpark would allow for greater train patronage.

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

“We also know the delivery of crucial infrastructure projects like the Mandurah is essential to supporting jobs and economic growth at this time.”

The Mandurah region has been targeted as an area for population growth, with the city forecast to grow by almost 50 per cent between 2016 and 2036. Enabling more people to use public transport will ensure the growth is managed, said federal Member for Canning, Andrew Hastie.

“The population of Mandurah and the Peel region have grown significantly over the last decade. The Government is delivering practical solutions that our community needs, both through this upgrade and construction of the new Lakelands station.”

The three level carpark will have lifts, a staircase, and a visually appealing façade, and a temporary carpark will be developed while construction is underway. Residents will also be encouraged to use alternative means, such as bus, cycling, or walking to get to the station.

Perth signalling upgrade added to Infrastructure Priority List

Infrastructure Australia has listed the High Capacity Signalling Project, part of the Metronet program, as a priority project.

Now added to Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List, the move acknowledges the benefits which could come from upgrading signalling on the Perth network.

In addition to extensions to lines and new stations, Metronet is proposing to replace the existing signalling and train control system with new infrastructure. This would lead to improvements across the network, said Romilly Madew, chief executive of Infrastructure Australia.

“Modern Automatic Train Control systems can facilitate a range of service improvements, such as schedule and headway optimisation, turn-up-and-go service frequencies, real-time passenger information, faster recovery from operational disruptions, and better regulation of train traffic at network pinch points.”

The system will use a Communications Based Train Control System (CBTC), and the project’s wider scope covers implementing automation train operation, supervision, and regulation, as well as the construction of a Rail Operations Centre, a back-up signalling equipment room, and upgrades to the current Alternate Train Control facility. Current signalling and control systems are reaching the end of their operational life.

“The High Capacity Signalling project will make better, more efficient use of the existing rail network. The existing signalling and control systems are nearing the end of their asset lives. Upgrading them to an integrated high-capacity signalling system will give Perth’s rail network the capacity to grow while also creating more reliable, safe and punctual train operations. Coupling this project with Metronet new lines and stations will create a more attractive public transport network for Perth residents,” said PTA spokesman, David Hynes.

Madew said the project aligns with the priorities of Infrastructure Australia.

“It’s important to note that the High Capacity Signalling Project strongly aligns with Infrastructure Australia’s own recommendations to improve the performance of urban rail networks in our capital cities by making better use of existing networks and technology.”

Implementing the signalling project would enable capacity increases of up to 150 per cent on the rail network and the business case submitted by the WA Public Transport Authority found a cost benefit ratio of 2.6.

The business case stated that a single contractor will design, build, and maintain the Automatic Train Control system, and that the first roll out would be either on the North-South line group by 2026 or the South-East line group also by 2026.

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the signalling upgrades will fit alongside other improvements to the network also designated significant by Infrastructure Australia.

“For people in the north of Perth the Morley-Ellenbrook Line will be 21 kms of rail line improving connectivity and productivity for locals,” said Tudge.

“At the same time the Capacity Signalling System project will improve the performance of the current rail network by allowing trains to run more often, reliably and safely.

“Metronet will get cars off the road, bust congestion, connect communities to jobs and services and unlock opportunities for business growth in the region.”

Federal government assessing projects for infrastructure spending

The federal government is currently assessing infrastructure projects to see what initiatives will receive funding.

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack said in a webinar with Infrastructure Partnerships Australia that the government was looking to the infrastructure sector to kick-start the Australian economy.

“The federal government has recently called on our states and territories and the 537 local governments to ask them what infrastructure can be brought forward. We are now assessing that infrastructure with responses received from three-quarters of the local councils.”

McCormack also highlighted that already funded projects would continue.

“Designing and constructing infrastructure is vital to Australia’s immediate and long-term future and we are committed to ensuring our record $100 billion pipeline stays on track during this time.”

As construction was deemed an essential activity, most projects around Australia have continued despite coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. With some restrictions now being lifted, further spending in infrastructure will be part of the government’s response, as Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Alan Tudge.

“We have been working closely with industry since the outbreak of this pandemic to ensure a considered and responsible national response, whilst ensuring the health and safety of employees and the broader community.

“We want this crucial job sector to be maintained and remain as strong as ever so we are in a much better position to come out of COVID-19 and get our economy back on track.”

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia CEO Adrian Dwyer said that further investment would enable the sector to continue to support the wider economy.

“By maintaining a focus on the pipeline of existing projects and supporting the acceleration of new investments, the Federal Government has been able to keep the wheels on the construction sector,” he said.

“It’s not just about the 1.3 million people employed in the sector, it’s the flow-on effect to their families and the broader economy which makes it so important that we maintain a strong and viable sector through the COVID-19 crisis and out the other side.”

New chair for Moorebank board

Alan Tudge, Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure, has announced that the federal government has appointed Erin Flaherty as the Chair of the Moorebank Intermodal Company (MIC) board.

Flaherty will serve a three-year term and takes over from Kerry Schott as the head of the board for the company which is overseeing the construction of the intermodal terminal in south-west Sydney.

Flaherty has served on the boards of other transport projects, including for one year as a board member for Sydney Metro and five years as an advisory board member for the North West Rail project.

Coming to the MIC, Flaherty also brings her experience as the executive director of Infrastructure New South Wales and advisory board member for Sydney Light Rail.

Ultimately, the MIC is the Commonwealth entity responsible for facilitating the precinct’s development, which will be developed by the Sydney intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA), owned by Qube Holdings.

Flaherty joined the MIC when she was appointed as a non-executive director in March 2019. This coincided with the transition from the construction to operational phase.

Once completed, the 243ha site will include 850,000sqm of warehousing fed by a non-stop shuttle between Moorebank and Port Botany. A rail terminal will connect the intermodal terminal with rail networks across NSW and around the country.