A historic METRONET construction contract – that will add a further 32 kilometres of rail to Perth’s network – was signed today, as early works commenced on the Thornlie-Cockburn Link project.
The $1.25 billion contract for the construction of the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extension is the biggest passenger rail expansion in WA since the 70 kilometre Mandurah Line contract was awarded in 2004.
NEWest Alliance – comprising CPB Contractors and Downer – will deliver both projects under a bundled contract arrangement funded by the Australian and Western Australian State governments.
It is expected both projects will support more than 3,000 jobs, creating work opportunities for Western Australians and a boost to the local economy.
By 2031 the Thornlie-Cockburn Link (TCL) and Yanchep Rail Extension METRONET projects will serve a population catchment of 400,000 people, providing Perth suburbs with more transport choice.
The 17.5 kilometre TCL project will link the Thornlie and Cockburn Central train stations, and build two new stations at Ranford Road and Nicholson Road.
While the Yanchep Rail Extension component of the contract was detailed in November, when early works started on that project, the Thornlie-Cockburn Link was still subject to final negotiation.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said 2020 would see the METRONET projects moving forward.
“Next year is shaping up to be a defining year for METRONET construction,” Mr McGowan said.
“Perth will have six METRONET projects under construction at once, creating thousands of local jobs and opportunities for local businesses.
“The TCL will connect two of Perth’s train lines for the first time – the first time we will have a east-west connection between rail lines on our network.
“Our METRONET projects, along with our unprecedented investment in upgrading our road network, will give residents a new public transport option and reduce their time spent in traffic, which means they can spend more time with family and friends.”
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the TCL would connect the existing Thornlie Rail Line to Cockburn Central Station on the Mandurah Line.
“The project will also replace the pedestrian level crossing at Elliot Place with a footbridge, making rail travel much more user friendly for our community” Senator Cormann said.
“The Canning Rail River Rail Bridge will also be duplicated and the Ranford Road Bridge modified.”
Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said the two projects would mean thousands of local jobs and help bust congestion.
“Around 3,000 jobs will be supported across both METRONET projects – 1680 for the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and 1370 for Yanchep Rail Extension. This is a great result for the local economy,” Mr Tudge said.
“The Yanchep Rail Extension will cut public transport journey times by at least 30 minutes to and from the city, getting people home sooner and safer.”
WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said her Government was committed to keeping rail construction work local.
“The start of the TCL and Yanchep Rail Extension projects marks the beginning of a new era of rail construction in WA,” Ms Saffioti said.
“Along with bringing railcar manufacturing back to WA, our METRONET transformation will initiate ongoing work and training opportunities for locals.
“They are projects that we promised to the WA public and are now happy to be delivering on those commitments.
“Today’s contract signing is a major step towards giving Perth the public transport system it needs to grow and succeed in the 21st century. Connecting our communities and having efficient public transport links is the backbone of a strong, well-functioning city.”
The final cost of the Thornlie-Cockburn Link has now been revised to $716 million, with the State Government contributing $366 million and the Federal Government contributing $350 million.
The project was originally budgeted at $535.8 million. The revised cost is largely attributed to relocating third party infrastructure ($82.7 million), improved wages for workers ($20.2 million), minimising network disruption and meeting environmental requirements.
The revised project cost is more than offset by the fact the METRONET WA-made railcars project came in $347 million under budget.
Early works on the TCL project are now underway, with Main Roads currently lengthening the Karel Avenue Bridge to make room for the new rail corridor.
Main Roads will also integrate early works for TCL’s tie-in to the Mandurah Line, with the Kwinana Freeway widening works that are currently under construction. This should help reduce disruption for motorists on the freeway.
It is expected the TCL integration works will extend the freeway project works into March 2020.
Due to the the complex nature of third-party service relocations that are built into the project, major construction is due to be completed in 2022, with train services operating in 2023.
By 2031 it’s expected there will be up to 18,000 daily boardings.