Northwest Rail Link Gets The Go Ahead in New South Wales
The Australian state government of New South Wales has granted planning approval for the start of construction on the North West Rail Link; a 23km rail line which runs from Rouse Hill to Epping via Castle in the northwest Sydney suburbs.
Multi-Billion Dollar Rail Tunnelling Contract
Construction will start in 2014, with 15.5km twin tunnels, stretching between Epping and Bella Vista being bored. The multi-billion dollar tunnelling contract which has gone to tender is due at the end of the month and there are three consortia that have been shortlisted for it including Baulderstone Bouygues North West Rail joint venture, Rapidlink joint venture consisting of Obayashi, McConnell Dowell, and Laing O’Rourke Australia, and a Thiess-John Holland-Dragados joint venture. Construction of the 4km “skytrain” viaduct section between Bella Vista and Rouse Hill will also commence at the same time as the twin tunnels and the the line is due to open in 2020 with a projected cost of $8.5 billion (Aus).
Before the end of the year, a second environmental study will take place which will allow the community to have input on the design of the line’s six new stations, access points to the underground stations, the surrounding area and how the new railway will operate.
Gladys Berejiklian, minister for transport for New South Wales said of the the rail link “Over coming decades, an extra 200,000 people will move into the northwest taking the region’s population to over 600,000. As more people move to the northwest there is going to be more demand on key transport and road corridors. We will deliver a new generation of fast, safe and reliable trains – the people of the northwest will be the first to in Sydney to get the new single-deck trains as part of Sydney’s Rail Future plan”.