North West Rail Link operations contract shortlisted

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced the North West Rail Link is another step closer with the contract process to…

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced the North West Rail Link is another step closer with the contract process to operate the new line reaching a major milestone.

The NSW Government last night (April 30) shortlisted two consortia to move forward to the next stage of the Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract following an extensive Expressions of Interest process over the past five months.

“We now have the cream of the crop from across Australia and around the world competing to deliver this critical project for the people of Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The NSW Government thanks all those companies which have taken part as we move forward to the next stage of this major contract process.”

The two shortlisted consortia, made up of almost 30 companies from across Australia and around the world, in no particular order, are:

  • Northwest Rapid Transit – MTR Corporation (Australia), John Holland, Leighton Contractors, UGL Rail Services, Plenary Group; and
  • TransForm – Serco Australia, Bombardier Transportation Australia, SNC-Lavalin Capital, McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust), John Laing Investments, Macquarie Capital Group.

The OTS contract includes:

  • Building the eight new railway stations;
  • Delivering the commuter car parks for 4,000 cars;
  • Supplying the new generation rapid transit single deck trains;
  • Building and operating the stabling and maintenance facility at Tallawong Road;
  • Installing tracks, signalling, mechanical and electrical systems;
  • Converting the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link for the new rapid transit system;
  • Operating the North West Rail Link – including all maintenance work.

Over coming months, the two consortia will be formally issued with a Request for Proposal, where they will put forward how they would deliver the OTS contract. The proposals will be due at the end of this year, with the contract expected to be awarded in the third quarter of next year. The OTS contract will be delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP), subject to value-for-money guidelines being met.


  • The North West Rail Link will deliver fast, safe, reliable trains, bringing faster travel times to Sydney’s CBD with single-deck trains at least every five minutes during peak periods.
  • The North West Rail Link is a priority rail infrastructure project for the NSW Government.
  • Planning is well underway on the 23km rail link to Sydney's growing North West region.
  • Eight new railway stations are proposed at: Cherrybrook, Castle Hill, Showground, Norwest, Bella Vista, Kellyville, Rouse Hill and Cudgegong Road.
  • Also planned are 4,000 commuter car parking spaces.
  • The rail link includes 15km of tunnels between Bella Vista and Epping.


  • The NSW Government will pay the private sector operator to run the North West Rail Link. This includes:
    • running the trains;
    • ensuring trains run on time;
    • providing clean trains; and
    • ensuring stations are clean and safe.
  • If the private sector operator cannot meet these rules they will suffer a financial penalty, which will be written into the operating contracts.
  • The aim of this Public Private Partnership is to deliver better services for customers and better value for money for taxpayers.
  • Importantly, the State Government will set and control fares – which will be determined the same way as fares on the rest of the Sydney rail network. The private operator will make no money directly from the fares.
  • Their financial incentive will be based on ensuring they meet the rules under the contracts and deliver the services which are expected by customers.
  • As announced in September last year, the NSW Government will contribute to the bid costs of the unsuccessful shortlisted OTS consortia announced today which submits a conforming proposal.
  • The contribution will be capped to one-third of bid costs or $10 million, whichever is lower, and reflects the size and complexity of pulling together a proposal for such a world-scale contract. The NSW Government will also acquire the intellectual property in the unsuccessful proposal.
  • The OTS contract is one of three major contracts to deliver the project.
  • Tenders have closed on the billion-dollar tunnelling contract, which is expected to be awarded in the middle of this year.
  • The first tunnel boring machine will be in the ground next year.
  • Tenders were called in mid-April for the skytrain and surface civil works contract, which is expect to be awarded at the end of this year.