Sydney Metro Northwest - case study

  • Engineering design
  • Construction and commissioning
  • Operations and maintenance

UGL is a member of the Northwest Rapid Transit Consortium (NRT) delivering the Sydney Metro Northwest project, along with John Holland, MTR Corporation, CPB Contractors and Plenary Group.

The NorthWest Rapid Transit Consortium procured rolling stock and designed, built, financed and now operates the 36km rapid transit train service for 15 years.


Sydney Metro Northwest is stage 1 of the development of Sydney Metro,  Australia’s largest current transport project. 

This scheme comprised:

  • establishment of Australia’s first metropolitan railway using state of the art driverless train technology
  • track length spanning 28km of underground tunnel, 4km of viaduct and 4km of at grade track
  • 8 new stations and augmentation of 5 existing stations along with a rail maintenance facility
  • augmentation and integration of the existing Epping to Chatswood Line

UGL’s package of works included:

  • Systems JV (MTR/UGL) – Design and Build, Test and Commission of $1.3B package of works.  This package includes the delivery of the trains, CBTC, controls and communications, low voltage power distribution and tunnel mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Radio Communications subcontract to SJV – a D&C contract valued at approximately $70 million to provide wireless communication systems including radio rebroadcast and mobile phone rebroadcast.
  • 20% shareholding in Metro Trains Sydney (MTS), the O&M contractor for the line.

Following completion of the Design & Construct contract in 2019, the railway is being operated and maintained for an initial concession period of 15 years by Metro Trains Sydney (MTS), a joint venture of UGL, MTR and John Holland. MTS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Metro Trains Australia (MTA).

Our solution

The Sydney Metro Northwest project is Australia’s first driverless metro-style rail line and the introduction of this new technology requires innovation, such as:

  • The client’s reference design envisaged eight-car EMU sets as is the normal practice in Sydney. NRT’s successful tender offered six-car sets for initial service, expandable to eight cars in the future when passenger loads justify the increase. This results in savings in energy, capital and O&M costs while maintaining the level of customer service.
  • Working closely with Australia’s rail safety regulator to establish the safety case for Australia’s first driverless passenger railway.
  • Incorporating a large solar array on maintenance building rooftops at the depot with information systems to inform the public about the quantities of locally-generated solar energy on a daily basis.
  • The adoption of a cast-in sleeper system, which is new to Australia and will optimise both performance outcomes and capital cost.

Key successes

  • Australia’s first fully automated passenger railway
  • NRT and TfNSW received the 2014 Government Partnership Excellence Award
  • Achieved an Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) rating of ‘Excellent’
  • Projects Grand Prix, 2015 Partnerships Awards
  • Best Transit Project, 2015 Partnerships Awards
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