Arup, as part of a joint venture with SMEC called SAJV, will support the Australian Rail Track Corporation with technical and engineering advisory regarding the construction of the Australian Inland Rail network. The new AU$10 billion network will connect Melbourne to Brisbane and will reduce costs, environmental impact and freight transit time to 24 hours as well as improve efficiency. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.
The Australian Inland Rail network seeks to connect two of Australia's largest cities – Melbourne and Brisbane – with a dedicated rail line. The aim of the project is to reduce a range of sectors' significant reliance on freight trucks. The new rail network will reduce the number of trucks on the road, reduce transportation costs, reduce the environmental impact of freight transportation and speed up transport. The project, and its more than 1,700 kilometres of track, is slated to cost $10.7 billion and take 10 years to construct.
The recent announcement will see SAJV, a joint venture between SMEC and Arup, provide Technical and Engineering Advisory to the Australian Rail Track Corporation. As part of the deal, subject experts from SAJV will lend their wide expertise to significantly bolster the resources for the delivery of the new and upgraded track to be laid.
Simon O’Hana, SAJV Project Director, says: “It’s not often you get an opportunity to lead such a talented team on a strategically important and significant piece of national transport infrastructure. With the freight load increasing in Australia, we need sustainable, smart and safe solutions that reduce the demand on roads and congestion in and out of our cities."
According to Darren Chester, Minister for Infrastructure “Inland Rail is a game-changer for Australia as it is being designed to provide a dedicated Melbourne to Brisbane freight link that is reliable and provides a less than 24 hour transit time at an attractive price, enabling the market to move goods when the market wants”.
Chester further adds: “Inland Rail will boost regional economic growth and drive national productivity as it will connect key production areas in Queensland, NSW and Victoria with export ports in Brisbane and Melbourne, with linkages to Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.”
In the past, Arup also lended technical advisor support for the development of another rail track in Australia, the Regional Rail Link, a 47.5 kilometre railway track through Melbourne, Victoria which opened in June 2015. At the time, Regional Rail Link was the largest rail project in Victoria since the construction of the City Loop.