New South Wales Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian have announced Sydney’s $8.3bn North West Rail Link has reached its most important milestone yet, with a preferred operator selected to run the new rapid transit service. Also announced is the completion and shipping from France of the first of four 6.99m diameter NFM hard rock TBMs to be used to bore the project’s 15km twin tunnels.
Visiting the Bella Vista site of the project today with local MPs, Mr Baird today announced the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium has been selected as the preferred operator to deliver the project’s operations contract. The 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,” Mr Baird said.
A number of other milestones for the project have also been announced today 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.
Ms 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.”
Ms Berejiklian added the Bella Vista railway station site continues to be prepared for the first of four tunnel boring machines.
“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.”