Newcastle Light Rail

Light Rail, Roads

Client: Transport for New South Wales
Location: Newcastle CBD
Duration: 2015 – 2017
Project Value: $650 million
Roles: Engineering Manager
Project Website: https://revitalisingnewcastle.nsw.gov.au/what-we-are-doing/newcastle-light-rail/

Newcastle Light Rail is a key part of revitalising Newcastle and will provide a frequent and reliable travel option throughout the city centre, connect key activity precincts, reinvigorate Hunter and Scott streets, and open up great urban renewal opportunities.

The light rail system will contribute to the continued economic growth of the city by bringing people back to the city centre, delivering customers directly to the door of businesses, and linking great new public spaces and city precincts. It will form the centrepiece of a fully integrated, vastly improved public transport network to be delivered by Newcastle Transport, which will cater for the transport demand for the foreseeable future.

The Newcastle Light Rail project was approved in August 2016, major construction started in September 2017 and services are expected to start running in February 2019.

Key features

  • 2.7 kilometres in length, running from Newcastle Interchange at Wickham to Newcastle Beach
  • Light rail follows the old rail corridor for approximately one-third of the route before moving onto Hunter and Scott streets
  • Stops are located at Newcastle Interchange, Honeysuckle (near Hunter Street TAFE), Civic, Crown Street, Queens Wharf and Newcastle Beach

Engineering Management

MCE initially undertook the Senior Technical Manager role for NLR and wrote the clear concise multidisciplinary Services and Works Brief for the Concept/Reference Design engagement, then drafted the commercial requirements and planned the delivery program.  The engagement was extended to include managing the concept design phase, informing the planning approvals in preparation for construction, setting up the governance and building the delivery team for later project phases. MCE provided technical contribution to the Managing Contractor, the Rolling Stock and the Integrated Service Operator tenders.

MCE wrote the technical requirements for the Managing Contractor Expression of Interest (EOI) and Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents.  MCE was a member of the ITT review panel, responsible for ensuring the technical aspects were accurately reflected throughout the EOI and ITT and making recommendations to the Program Director.  MCE supported the multiple Project Managers and Project Director throughout the project.

MCE reviewed the Assurance and Governance Plan (AGP) which defined the delivery strategy and processes for the new Transport for Newcastle organisation.  The plan required a thorough understanding of how the interaction between the three major stakeholders being the Managing Contractor, the Rolling Stock provider and the eventual Operator/Maintainer.  It was necessary to understand the staged handover process of the rolling stock, infrastructure and the envisaged testing and commissioning regime and the delivery strategy of the light rail and surrounding road infrastructure, including buses and ferries.

During the design phases, MCE was responsible for responding to all multi-disciplinary engineering technical queries, recommending standards and best practice whilst ensuring a smooth interface with adjacent projects and engaging key local stakeholders.  I was responsible for establishing NLR’s projects Safety and Quality Compliance Systems and Assurance and Engineering Compliance for the concept design and engaged a specialist to assist drafting the management plans.

The Reference Design accommodated significant external and internal stakeholders changes in requirements from Wickham Transport Interchange, Sydney Trains, Urban Growth, Newcastle Council, Heritage Council, RMS and the community.  I built and maintained strong working relationships with all external and internal stakeholders to enable fluid communication, debate and where appropriate positive changes were incorporated within the design.

MCE also represented TfNSW during Newcastle Light Rail’s public consultation meetings to discuss the project’s Review of Environmental Factors with the local community and businesses. The project was politically driven with a significant impact to the city therefore a pragmatic approach and strong negotiation skills were required to describe the positive effect of the project to the local population.

Contributing Personnel

Read about the people involved  Matthew Colton

Key Successes and Outcomes

  • Delivery of works briefs for Concept/Reference Design engagement
  • Key member of Managing Contractor procurement team
  • Review of the Assurance and Governance Plan (AGP) for delivery strategy definition and processes for Transport for Newcastle
  • Establishment of Safety and Quality Compliance and Assurance and Engineering Compliance systems
  • Representative at public consultation meetings
  • As a result of stakeholder consultation positive changes were incorporated within the design