2016 Roy Hill Rail Project & KiwiRail – Auckland Electrification Project
Railway Project Award 2016
THE RTSA BIENNIAL RAILWAY PROJECT AWARD FOR 2016 IS MADE TO TWO JOINT WINNERS:
ROY HILL HOLDINGS FOR THE ROY HILL RAIL PROJECT IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA; AND
KIWIRAIL, SIEMENS RAIL AUTOMATION, HAWKINS INFRASTRUCTURE & LAING O’ROURKE JOINT VENTURE (HILOR) FOR THE AUCKLAND ELECTRIFICATION PROJECTIN NEW ZEALAND.
The RTSA Biennial Railway Project Award for 2016 is jointly awarded to the Auckland Electrification Project in New Zealand and the Roy Hill Rail Project in Western Australia.
These very different projects, one a regeneration of an aging under-utilized urban passenger rail network, and the other a new build high capacity heavy haul iron ore line, highlight the range and diversity of current rail engineering projects in Australasia, and have been selected for both their successful implementation and their innovative use of technology to meet the project objectives.
The Roy Hill Railway is an entirely new 344km standard gauge, 40 tonne axle load heavy haul railway in the Pilbara area of North Western Australia, and forms a key component of an AUD 10 billion integrated mine, rail and port facility designed to export 55 million tonnes of iron ore annually. The project was constructed in difficult remote terrain and in a sensitive environment in an aggressive 27 month program between 2012 and 2015, and entailed16.9 million cubic metres of earthworks, deep cuttings up to 32 metres deep and embankments up to 16 metres high, 8 bridges over major waterways and 3 bridges over other rail lines and roads. It was completed on time and budget and achieved a very low Lost Time Injury Rate, with the first shipment of Roy Hill Ore taking place in December 2015.
Key innovative features of the Roy Hill Rail project included:
- Tracklaying undertaken using a track laying machine that placed sleepers and rails simultaneously, supported by a high capacity integrated rail construction yard, that enabled 2 km of track construction per day.
- A sophisticated radio based signalling and train control system, providing safe, flexible operation of trains and track worker protection with minimal trackside infrastructure
- The first 40 tonne axle load heavy haul railway in the world incorporating a full suite of condition monitoring in the design of both rolling stock and track infrastructure for optimisation of operational performance.
- A fauna survey trapping and translocation program, exceeding legal requirements, to reduce the impact of the railway construction on sensitive species.
The Auckland Electrification Project (AEP) is the culmination of over 12 years work to transform rail passenger transport in New Zealand’s largest city, which has seen annual ridership grow from under three million in 2003 to sixteen million in April 2016, and the replacement of aging infrastructure and diesel rolling stock with state of the art electric trains, signaling and train control systems and 25Kv AC traction overhead systems. The approximate NZD 500 million Auckland Electrification Project was delivered by KiwiRail in conjunction with key partners, Siemens Rail Automation (formerly Invensys Rail), and the HILOR Joint Venture between Hawkins Infrastructure & Laing O’Rourke between January 2010 and September 2010. Electric Multiple Units, procured under a separate contract by Auckland Transport from CAF, commenced running in April 2014 with all suburban services converted to electric operation by July 2015.
AEP involved the installation of 80 km of electrified track, 3,500 traction masts and portals, six substations, 154 new signals huts, 382 new signals and 235 new point machines. Key technology innovations realized by the project included:
- The first fully operational implementation of the European Train Control System Level 1 automatic train protection system in the Southern Hemisphere.
- The complete renewal of all signalling and train equipment with a state of the art modular computer based signalling system that significantly reduced design, installation and commissioning times.
- The first major Southern Hemisphere use of a rigid overhead conductor beam system to simplify 25KV traction earthing and bonding arrangements and maintain architectural features in the subsurface Britomart terminal.