THE Western Australian government has selected the AD Alliance of Alstom Transport Australia and DT Infrastructure as the preferred bidder to design, supply, build and maintain the High-Capacity Signalling (HCS) system under the Metronet programme in Perth.

The new CBTC system will replace the existing fixed block analogue signalling and train control used on Perth's expanding passenger rail network, boosting overall capacity.

The announcement of the preferred bidder clears the way for contract negotiations to begin. The alliance overcame a rival bid from Safe Perth, a consortium of Siemens and Wabtec.

HCS also includes the delivery of a new digital radio system, replacing the existing narrowband system, and will enable the implementation of CBTC. Nokia Solutions and Networks Australia was awarded a $A 327m ($US 213m) contract to deliver the system in 2022. More than 160 LTE/4.9G radio masts are being constructed across the more than 250km network under the contract, including new track and tunnels. The radio system is based on Nokia’s private 4.9G/LTE mission-critical IP-MPLS backbone, data centre fabric and microwave backhaul solutions.

The HCS project also includes the introduction of a new public transport operations control centre in East Perth.

The HCS project is expected to take a decade to complete. It is funded by both state and federal governments and will be delivered in stages to minimise disruption to train operations. The 2022-23 state budget allocated $A 633m in provisional funding for the HCS programme as part of a $A 6bn allocation for the wider Metronet programme.

First C-series train enters service

The first of a new fleet of 41 six-car C-series EMUs has entered service in Perth. State premier, Mr Roger Cook, and transport minister, Ms Rita Saffioti, took the inaugural 50-minute return journey on the new train on the Joondalup Line from Stadium station on April 7, ahead of the train’s entry into regular passenger operation the following day.

Alstom was awarded a $A 1.3bn contract in 2019 to build and maintain the C-series fleet at a new facility in Bellevue, in the east of Perth. The train is the first to be manufactured in the state for more than 30 years, fulfilling the state government’s election pledge to revive rolling stock manufacturing in Western Australia. A total of 15 local companies are supplying components for the new trains, meeting a 50% local content target for the fleet. These includes bogie frames, pantographs, seats, pneumatic piping and connectors, air-conditioning units, cable trays and other metal components.

The 143m-long C-series EMU train has 400 seats and has capacity for more than 1000 passengers. It is also equipped with modern passenger information displays, USB ports, and wide doors to improve access.

The new fleet will operate on both the Joondalup and Mandurah lines. Delivery is set to continue for the next 10 years, with a new train entering service every few months.

The Metronet programme involves constructing around 72km of new lines and adding 23 stations to the Perth suburban network as well as the HCS scheme to boost overall capacity. It also includes the redevelopment of around 8000ha of land around stations for commercial use.

The estimated cost of the overall project is more than $A 11bn, shared between the Western Australian and federal governments.

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