Maritime & Transport / Rail

Update on the Regional Rail Link Project: Q&A with Metro Trains Melbourne

Metro Trains Melbourne will be presenting their case study, “Regional Rail Link Project Update” at RISSB’s National Rail Turnouts Workshop next month. We had the chance to catch up with them last week and ask a few questions about the project and its impact on the communities involved.

Here’s a transcript of our Q&A with Metro Trains Melbourne

Q: Whilst assisting the future mobility of communities along the rail corridor, the project will undoubtedly disrupt them during the construction process. How important is it to maintain a good relationship with those impacted by such major works?

A: Communities who are well informed about projects and their progress generally accept construction impacts and disruptions.
The Regional Rail Link Authority, therefore, has developed an overarching communications and stakeholder relations strategy for this complex, multi-faceted, multi-site project.
The overall strategic objective is to communicate Regional Rail Link in a manner that presents the six work packages as one project and promotes stakeholder, community and rail customer awareness and understanding of the project’s progress and its anticipated benefits upon completion.
This strategy provides the framework and a coordinated and consistent approach to facilitate each work package’s strategies and plans for communicating all elements of Regional Rail Link as it is designed, built and delivered.
Due to the diverse stakeholder base, messages and delivery channels are tailored to the needs of intended audiences rather than taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Also crucial is relationship management and making clear to stakeholders and the community the extent to which they can influence and have input into project decisions and actively engaging them within these parameters.

Q: Local businesses will doubtless be keen to get involved with such a major project, what have you done to help them understand how they can get involved?
A: Local community benefits encompass local procurement, employment and legacy programs. As the project is divided into several packages with differing commencement times, some plans are further advanced than others. Workshops and presentations to local businesses form part of the plans. Such a program is already underway in the Footscray – Deer Park section of the project. There are opportunities through these workshops, and by contacting the Authority via the Regional Rail Link website, for local businesses to register their interest. A number of businesses have already been identified and provide goods and services to the project, ranging from dry cleaning and shoe repairs through to plant hire.

Q: Regional Rail Link is being delivered in stages with different parties responsible for design and construction. What impact do you think this approach will have on the overall delivery of the project and its anticipated completion date in early 2016?

A: Detailed planning and design of the Regional Rail Link has been underway since 2008 and construction commenced in mid-2011. It is anticipated that the project will be completed in early 2016.
The project has been purposely segmented into six discrete but inter-related work packages via alliance, design and construct and Accredited Rail Operator Delivery contract models. A multi-package approach facilitates delivery and boosts competition in the industry.
Alliance models were chosen for key sections of the project where the scope could not be clearly defined up front. The alliance model offered opportunity for broader participation from the construction industry, as well as increasing competition and encouraging development of the delivery capability within the rail sector.
The design and construct model was chosen for three packages – Southern Cross, Deer Park-West Werribee Junction and West Werribee Junction – where the state had more defined outcomes, project scope and performance requirements.

Q: Attendees at RISSB’s National Rail Turnouts Workshop in Melbourne this June will have a first-hand opportunity to see some key engineering works of the project. What will be some of the highlights of this site tour?
A: More than 100 points and crossings will be installed as part of the Regional Rail Link project, with 16 points and crossings, including tangential turnouts, single compound crossings and double compound crossings in the Southern Cross section alone.
There are significant engineering challenges in this area. These include:
 Cutting in crossing work – crossovers and turnouts into the existing main goods alignments.
 Straight railing through the points of crossing work to enable installation without detection.
 Double compound interface with the adjacent turnout on the North Hump avoiding track.

Following an overview presentation of the Regional Rail Link project by Metro Trains Melbourne’s Manager RRL Project, Mark Betts, delegates will have an opportunity to view some of the works which have taken place adjacent to Southern Cross Station.
Over the past year, the team has been replicating bypass tracks to enable construction of RRL tracks and is on target for the first major commissioning of the project in July.
Due to safety requirements and the number of train movements in the vicinity, direct access to the rail corridor will not be permitted. A number of key vantage points, however, have been identified providing a clear view of the works at the city end of the project.

Metro Trains Melbourne will be presenting at 3.10pm on Day Two, Wednesday 20th June 2012

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