The Government of New South Wales will award UGL a AUD 1.5 billion (USD 1.1 billion) contract to operate and maintain the Country Regional Network (CRN) following a competitive tender process.
The agreement is to be signed for a period of 10 years, starting from January 2022.
The contract covers network operations, including establishment of a new network control centre in regional NSW, rail infrastructure maintenance and installation of a new signalling system, asset and property management and safety, access, performance, and environmental management.
“Running the CRN is an important and mammoth task. Since 2011, the NSW Government has invested more than AUD 1 billion [USD 774.5 million] to ensure it delivers for all our customers, from our rail passengers to farmers and industry,” Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said.
Under the contract, the authorities expect the increase of the maintenance works to be carried out within the next decade “to ensure that the network continues to meet the high standards that operators and customers expect,” Toole said.
In addition, the partnership with UGL will create more jobs in the regions
The Country Regional Network connects broad areas of regional NSW to interstate and metropolitan rail systems and in addition supports, customers transporting coal, grain, cotton, minerals and containerised freight to domestic and export markets. The network covers 2,386 route km of operational passenger and freight rail lines and 3,139 route km of non-operational lines. Almost 1,000 km of the network is dedicated to moving grain
The network comprises 27,000 hectares of land and infrastructure including 1,300 level crossings (300 active), more than 900 bridges and 1,200 property assets like stations, 356 of which are heritage listed.
The current contract to operate and maintain the CRN has been held by John Holland Rail since 2011 and is due to expire at the end of 2021.