Full Steam Ahead On Third Major North West Rail Link Contract

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced the start of the third major North West Rail Link contract process, to deliver and operate the new-generation rapid transit trains for Sydney.

 “This is the biggest milestone so far in this massive infrastructure project, which will change the way of life for people across Sydney’s North West and deliver the region a reliable public transport service,” Ms Berejiklian said.

 The NSW Government today called for expressions of interest for the multi-billion-dollar Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract.

 It is one of three major tender processes to be underway, and includes:

  • Building the eight new railway stations;
  • Delivering the commuter car parks for 4,000 cars;
  • Supplying the new generation rapid transit single deck trains;
  • Building and operating the Tallawong stabling and maintenance facility;
  • Installing tracks, signalling, mechanical and electrical systems;
  • Converting the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link for the new rapid transit system;
  • Operating the North West Rail Link – including all maintenance work.

 More than 30 entities from across Australia and around the world have so far registered to participate in the expressions of interest process, Ms Berejiklian said.

 The OTS contract will be delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP), subject to value-for-money guidelines being met.

 “From the start of the process we are making it very clear – the customer will be at the centre of our decision-making processes,” Ms Berejiklian said.

 “The aim of this PPP is to deliver better services for customers and better value for money for taxpayers.”

 The Government will pay the private sector operator to run the North West Rail Link and meet the strict rules on how it operates. This includes:

  • Running the trains, including 12 trains an hour during the peak;
  • Ensuring trains run on time;
  • Providing clean trains; and
  • Ensuring stations are clean and safe.

  “If the private sector operator cannot meet these rules, they will suffer a financial penalty, which will be written into the operating contracts,” Ms Berejiklian said.

 Importantly, the State Government will set and control the fares.

 “The Government will set the fares on the North West Rail Link – and they will be determined the same way as fares on the rest of the Sydney rail network.

 “This means the private operator will make no money directly from the fares.

 “Their financial incentive will be around making sure they meet the rules under their contracts and deliver the services which are expected by customers.”

 The tender process has already begun for the tunnelling and surface construction work contracts, including the 4km skytrain viaduct between Bella Vista and Rouse Hill.

 These two will be ‘design and construct’ contracts – funded by the NSW Government.

 “The project is on target for the first tunnel boring machines to be in the ground in 2014,” Ms Berejiklian said.

 Registration for the OTS expressions of interest process is still open via the NSW Government’s eTendering website – and will close on December 19, 2012.

 The deadline for submissions for expressions of interest is February 14, 2013.