THE California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has awarded a joint venture of Systra and Typsa a $US 131.2m contract to design track and the overhead line electrification (OHLE) system for the first section of the state’s planned high-speed network.

The joint venture will produce high-level designs for track and OHLE on the 273.6km section from Merced to Bakersfield, and detailed designs for the 190.4km currently under construction. This will include trackside cable runs, ducts beneath the track, access walkways, fencing and drainage.

Systra and Typsa will also manage technical and non-technical interfaces with other contractors and consultants, including the future construction manager/general contractor appointed to undertake tracklaying and OHLE construction based on their designs.

A previous Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process to appoint a track and OHLE design contractor was left to expire by CHSRA in October 2022. The authority cited the economic climate at the time, supply-chain difficulties and inflation running at a 40-year high.

CHSRA says that it has since developed a new procurement strategy, taking industry feedback into account and adjusting to programme needs.

A second RFQ was issued in November 2023. The authority says that the award of the track and OHLE design contract marks an important step in its new procurement strategy.

“Getting track and systems design under contract is an important milestone in movement to bring high-speed rail service to California,” says CHSRA board chair, Mr Tom Richards.

“This approval gets us closer to electrified passenger rail service and putting this transformative project into operation as soon as possible.”

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