Sydney Metro Northwest, stage one of Australia’s biggest public transport project, has opened to the public.
Delivering over 36km of new metro rail for Sydney’s growing north-west, the AUS$8.3 billion project will improve travel time and increase reliability using a new generation of fully automated trains. It also comprises eight new stations from Epping to Tallawong, five upgraded stations and 4,000 commuter car parking spaces.
Under a contract awarded by Northwest Rapid Transit (NRT) in September 2014, Alstom has been responsible for the project management, design, supply, manufacturing, testing and commissioning of 22 six-car Metropolis trains and the Urbalis 400 CBTC signalling systems. Alstom has also been awarded a 15-year maintenance contract for the trains, signalling, depot operations and equipment.
The trains were designed for Sydney by Alstom in France and assembled at its centre of excellence in Sri City India, with contributions from Alstom’s operations in Australia, Brazil, China and Belgium. They have three double-doors per car for improved access and passenger flows, large windows and ambient LED lighting as well as constant CCTV monitoring, emergency intercoms and the latest way-finding aids for customer information and real time travel information.
The new line is fully automated using Alstom’s computer-based train control (CBTC) system, Urbalis 400, which minimises the time stopping at stations and the times between each service.
Prior to the opening, Sydney Metro and the operator of the Metro North West Line, Metro Trains Sydney (MTS), ran trains to the schedule which was planned for when the line opened, and carried out final checks and refinements to the system, so that everything would be ready for the first passengers.
During the initial settling in period of about six weeks, trains will run every five minutes at peak to allow the new system to ramp up to full frequency. Thereafter, the frequency will increase to every four minutes – 15 trains per hour – in each direction. Passengers won’t need a timetable – they’ll just turn up and go.
Mott MacDonald’s managing director in Australia John Mortimer explained: “Sydney Metro Northwest starts a new era in public transport in Australia, providing for the first time in the country a fully accessible, fully automatic metro which will support the emergence of Sydney’s north west as a major residential and commercial centre.”
Working on behalf of the John Holland-Leighton infrastructure JV, part of the Northwest Rapid Transit Consortium who delivered the project, the Mott MacDonald, KBR and SMEC design joint venture delivered the detailed design for the eight new stations, which includes three underground stations, three new open-cut suburban stations and two new elevated stations.
The JV was also responsible for train stabling maintenance facilities and the track and overhead power systems for the whole line.
Building information modelling (BIM) was successfully applied to this major transport infrastructure project and helped the JV minimise cost and schedule risk and enhanced constructability.
The innovative design developed by the Mott MacDonald KBR and SMEC JV reduced the use of raw construction material whilst enabling the architectural design of the stations to be implemented within budget. Reducing the use of raw construction materials and labour on site in favour of pre-fabricated elements also increased the efficiency and sustainability of the project, both in construction and in future maintenance operations.