$1bn contract awarded for high-capacity signalling and communications system as part of Melbourne Metro project

CPB Contractors and Bombardier Transportation were last week awarded the contract for the $1 billion Rail Systems Alliance, which includes the first roll-out of a high-capacity signalling (HCS) and communications system on an existing rail network anywhere in Australia.

The advanced technology will allow trains to operate closer together – every two to three minutes – and support the creation of a 'turn-up-and-go' train network for Melbourne. The signalling will operate the 65 new high-capacity trains currently being built in Victoria, which will run on the Sunbury to Cranbourne-Pakenham line via the Metro Tunnel.

Artist's impression of Melbourne's High Capacity Metro Train
Above: Artist's impression of Melbourne's High Capacity Metro Train / Victorian Government.

Dedicated control centres will be built in Dandenong and Sunshine to support the new technology. The centres will be staffed by experts who will monitor trains on the new Metro Tunnel line.

Also last week, Expressions of Interest were announced for the final major works package of Metro Tunnel – the Rail Infrastructure Alliance (RIA).

The $1 billion contract includes the design and construction of the eastern tunnel entrance in South Yarra, the western tunnel entrance in Kensington and associated works across the Sunbury to Cranbourne-Pakenham corridor, including upgrading track power and conventional signalling.

Earlier this month, a consortium led by Lendlease Engineering, John Holland, Bouygues Construction and Capella Capital was selected to build the Metro Tunnel, which includes twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels from South Kensington to South Yarra and 5 new underground stations at Arden (North Melbourne), Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain (St Kilda Road).

The overall $11 billion project will create a new end-to-end rail line from Sunbury in the west to Cranbourne/Pakenham in the south-east. When complete, capacity will be created on the network to enable 39,000 more passengers to use the rail system during each peak period. Early works are already underway, with major construction on the tunnel and stations expected to start next year and completion scheduled for 2026.

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