North West Rail Link - Operations, Trains and Systems

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New South Wales Government
New South Wales
Project dates
Sep 2014 - 2019
Contract type
Public Private Partnership
$3.7 billion total project value
Group Company
CPB Contractors
Project details

In 2014, the New South Wales Government awarded Northwest Rapid Transit consortium (NRT) the operations contract to deliver Australia’s largest public transport project – Sydney’s North West Rail Link.

The $3.7 billion Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) contract is the largest of the three delivery contracts for the North West Rail Link, Australia’s first fully automated rapid transit network.

When services start in the first half of 2019, NRT will deliver 15 trains per hour during peak periods – equating to a train every four minutes.

As Australia’s first ‘turn up and go’ rapid transit network, NRT will deliver a level of customer service and safety never before seen in Australian public transport.


The Northwest Rapid Transit Consortium includes:

  • Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation – with John Holland and UGL Rail Services – who will operate and maintain the rapid transit network upon completion
  • John Holland Group, CPB Contractors, MTR and UGL Rail Services – a four way joint venture to deliver the infrastructure and rail systems
  • Plenary Group – the financial sponsor and capital arranger

NRT’s rapid transit fleet will be delivered by international train manufacturer Alstom.

Key Facts

  • Streamlined design of the rapid transit network for new standards in passenger access and comfort
  • Latest customer way-finding aids for real time travel information to be provided
  • The highest levels of customer safety will include CCTV monitoring on constant relay to NRT’s state-of-the-art operations control centre
  • The computer-based train control (CBTC) Urbalis 400, which minimises the stopping time at stations and the time between each service, ensuring a comfortable and reliable journey for customers

Construction work on the new greenfield section between Rouse Hill and Epping will include:

  • Installation of tracks, signalling and mechanical and electrical systems
  • Eight new railway stations
  • 4,000 customer car parking spaces
  • Platform screen doors running the full length of platforms
  • Construction of the Rapid Transit Rail Facility at Tallawong Road, to house and maintain Sydney’s new rapid transit fleet
  • An Operations Control Centre, based at the Tallawong Road facility, to monitor the entire railway, ensuring safe and reliable running

Epping to Chatswood Rail Line Conversion

The upgrade and conversion of a further five existing stations to bring them up to rapid transit status. This will include computer-based train control, full length platform screen doors, improved information displays and upgrades to fire and life safety systems.


Following construction, NRT will be contracted for a 15-year operating period to deliver a clean, safe and high performing service for the people of north-west Sydney.

Fares will be set and controlled by the NSW Government in line with the rest of Sydney and customers will be able to use their Opal cards, just as they would on other public transport services.


NRT’s private financing includes three of Australia’s major banks in ANZ, NAB and Westpac, as well as international banks Standard Chartered, BTMU, ING, HSBC, Mizuho and OCBC.

Equity financing comes from three of NRT’s consortium members MTR Corporation, CPB Contractors and Plenary Group, and also includes equity investments from Palisade Investment Partners, Partners Group and Marubeni Corporation. The equity group has been selected for the experience and capabilities they bring to transport projects and their long-term commitment to local partnerships.

Project Milestones

  • Contract award: September 2014
  • Construction activity (on site): early 2015
  • Epping to Chatswood Rail Line conversion: late 2018
  • Line opens (commences operation): first half of 2019
  • Contract completion: March 2034
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