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Investment continues in Rail despit Global Financial Crisis


Whilst the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has forced the postponement of some of Australia’s planned rail infrastructure investment for 2009-2010, the majority appears to still be on track, according to O’Donnell Griffin Chief Executive (Acting), Mr Enrico Pecora.

“We are going to see pockets of different reactions to the GFC,” said Mr Pecora. “In some instances it will slow projects and in others it will push them through as planned regardless,” he says.

”With respect to rail, the investment focus is likely to be on the metropolitan systems around Australia, with a number of major projects recently approved and several more in the pipeline.”

For example, the Federal Government, as part of its $42 billion Economic Stimulus Plan is to provide a $1.2 billion Equity injection into the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to fund 17 projects to improve efficiency on the nation’s railways; and an additional $150 million funding has also been allocated to the installation of around 200 new boom gates and other safety measures at high risk rail crossings (see list of projects below).

For O’Donnell Griffin, Mr Pecora said, the Novo Rail consortium’s successful bid for the $1 billion RailCorp project, announced in December 2008, was a major win, the Novo Rail Alliance consisting as it does of O’Donnell Griffin, Laing O’Rourke and Connell Wagner.

“We are expecting to see more significant opportunities in rail in the short and medium term as other projects are revived in line with the improvements in the economy,” Mr Pecora added.

These include the awarding of the contract to run the Victorian rail network, work planned for the trans Adelaide line, work on the Northern Perth rail network, and a planned North West Metro link in Sydney.

Whilst the mining industry appears to be wearing the brunt of the GFC with a number of projects on hold pending the economic upswing, there are also still some opportunities on the table there for rail work too.

For example, plans for BHP Billiton’s Rapid Growth Project phase 5 have actually been accelerated – ODG has been involved in RGP2, RGP3 and is still working on RGP4 – and the ARTC continues to invest in the South Improvement Alliance (SIA).

Federal Government Rail infrastructure projects to receive $1.2 billion of funding include:
  1. Sydney – Brisbane New, Extended & Upgraded Loops (NSW)
  2. Melbourne – Junee Passing Lanes (Vic/NSW)
  3. Seymour – Wodonga Track Upgrade (Vic)
  4. Cootamundra – Parkes Track Upgrade (NSW)
  5. Western Victoria Track Upgrade (NSW/Vic)
  6. Wodonga Bypass Duplication (Vic)
  7. Cootamundra – Crystal Brook New & Extended Loops (NSW/SA)
  8. Melbourne – Adelaide Extended Loops (SA)
  9. Adelaide – Kalgoorlie New & Extended Loops (SA/WA)
  10. Border – Acacia Ridge Track Upgrade (QLD)
  11. Hunter Valley: Liverpool Range New Rail Alignment (NSW)
  12. Hunter Valley: Bidirectional Signaling, Maitland to Branxton (NSW)
  13. Hunter Valley: Minimbah Bank – Third Rail Line (NSW)
  14. Hunter Valley: St Heliers to Muswellbrook Duplication (NSW)
  15. Hunter Valley: Minimbah to Maitland – Third Rail Line (NSW)
  16. Hunter Valley: Ulan Line Passing Loops and Duplication (NSW), and
  17. Advanced Train Management System (Phase 2).

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