ARTC Initiates Industry Partnerships for $1.3 Billion East Coast Rail Upgrade

Australian Rail Track Corporation, the major Australian provider of rail track infrastructure, is to initiate a series of partnerships and alliances with the private sector to deliver its $1.3 billion, five year, upgrade of the East Coast rail network.

“ARTC’s investment in the Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane rail corridor is directed at significantly improving transit times, reliability, capacity and yield,” CEO David Marchant said today.

“This massive investment will result in improvement in rail’s performance, the volumes rail can carry and an increase in rail’s share of the transport market.”

Mr Marchant said the partnerships and corporate alliances ARTC envisaged would ensure the best possible outcomes for the infrastructure investment.

“We’ll examine all options for the partnerships and alliances, including risk share, profits, fees and target times along with other beneficial relationships,”he said.

Mr Marchant said there would be an industry briefing and discussions with contractors, design and construct firms, engineers, planners, designers, project managers and associated professions.

“ARTC will call for expressions of interest in June and by the end of July we intend to have the partnerships and alliances concluded.

“It’s a short time frame but we’ve set definitive times for the delivery of these projects and ARTC intends to meet those deadlines.

“We’ve got up to sevenmajor work packages,” he said, “stretching along the Melbourne-Sydney line and the Sydney-Brisbane line, as well as a new dedicated freight line in Sydney’s west andupgrades to the Hunter Valley network.

“In addition, there are signalling projects and new communication and control technology implementation,” he said.

“These projects are integral for ARTC to achieve its aim of increasing the performance and efficiency of the rail networks and ensuring that rail is the preferred transport mode for industry.

“At present, rail has less than 20 per cent market share on the north-south, Melbourne-Brisbane corridor and 11per cent Melbourne-Sydney, compared to 80 per cent on the east-west corridor to Perth” Mr Marchant said.

“ARTC is committed to increasing its market share on the north-south corridor to at least 30 per cent and, in the long term, even higher.

“These are projects which have major national economic implications and ARTC wants to involve the private sector through partnerships or alliances,”he said.

The projects where major alliances or partnerships were being sought are: Southern Sydney Freight Line (from Macarthur to Sefton); improvement works between Sydney and Brisbane; Hunter Valley signal works and improvement of the Sydney- Melbourne main line.

An industry briefing will be held in Sydney on May 31 at which details of all the ARTC projects will be outlined along with information on the partnerships and alliances.

Issued: May 26, 2005

Contact: Brian Dale, 0418 204 198

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