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Opening of new rail lines at Lawson

07 February 2012

During a 72-hour possession over the Australia Day weekend our Lawson Alliance team successfully completed, commissioned and handed over a new 600 metre section of the Main Western Railway. The Alliance’s scope in the rail corridor during this possession included trackwork, overhead wiring and signalling.

This was the first major section of mainline rail track that Abigroup has constructed in the Sydney network and an integral part of our upgrade of a 2.9km section of the Great Western Highway from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided road. The $157 million contract involves earthworks, pavements, significant retaining walls, property adjustments, utility services relocations, extensive rail works, a major new road bridge and the widening of an existing railway overpass bridge.

Managing the rail interface was one of the most complex aspects of the project, requiring close liaison with RailCorp and undertaking rail tie-ins during tightly-controlled weekend possessions.

“Our planning for this critical work started more than two years ago, involving ongoing meetings, discussions, agreements, subcontract negotiations and the preparatory rail possessions until the start of this major milestone on Australia Day,” said Alliance Manager Paul Cejka. “Work continued non-stop through Friday, Saturday and Sunday until commissioning of the Rail Lines, Signalling and Overhead wiring was achieved late on Sunday night. We can now continue with the balance of works remaining on the project and complete other programmed milestones.”

The alternative to a 72-hour “mega-possession” was to undertake extensive work over many nights, but that option was over-ruled by the team due to safety concerns.


Trackworks along the new 600m section of the Main Western Line through Lawson over the Australia Day weekend

The Alliance's client and partner, Roads and Maritime Services, was extremely pleased with the results of the weekend possession.

“The Alliance team skilfully planned and managed the possession works and kept to time despite working through heavy rain on the Friday and the evenings,” said Ian Allan, Project Services Manager at Roads and Maritime Services. “Thanks also to the many RMS staff who contributed to developing the challenging concept design work that is now successfully constructed.” 

Explanatory Note: A rail possession is the term used to define a temporary shutdown of part of the rail network, involving either the complete closure of a section or one or more running lines, in order to carry out essential upgrading or repair works. Possessions are typically scheduled to occur over weekends and/or holiday periods to minimise disruption to rail users.

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