Warrnambool Line
Upgrade Project

Regional Rail Revival $250M+

The Warrnambool Line Upgrade D&C project improved safety and reliability and allowed modern VLocity-class trains to travel on the line for the first time that maximised the benefits of the new trains for passengers.

Stage 1 of the Warrnambool Line Upgrade was completed in December 2022 and delivered a fifth weekday return service between Warrnambool and Melbourne.

The $250m Stage One included:

  • A new crossing loop at Boorcan
  • Twelve level crossing upgrades between Waurn Ponds and
  • Warrnambool with boom gates, bells, flashing lights and improved train detection technology to boost safety for motorists, pedestrians and train passengers.
  • Signalling upgrades (trenching, cabling and infrastructure installation) that mean more trains can run on the line, and
  • Upgrades to Warun Ponds Station, and
  • Construction of a new Stabling Yard at Waurn Ponds

Project Benefits

  • More services on the Warrnambool Line
  • More comfortable passenger journeys
  • Improved reliability on the Warrnambool Line
  • Faster service recovery from unexpected delays
  • VLocity trains able to stay overnight in Warrnambool
  • Safer level crossings
  • All public level crossings on the line will be protected by boom gates
  • Improved support for rail freight

Our Role in the Project

Our nominated T&S team member held a key role (see listed below) within the delivery of the WLU Project.

Downer Senior Project Engineer – Signalling role on WLU project involved overall responsibility for delivery of the signalling system between Waurn Ponds and Warncoort. This included:

  • Signalling Design and Constructability Review for installing +60km of cables, 50 location boxes, 37 signals, signalling equipment room, 15 point machines and +100 AXC and TPWS (Train Protection & Warning System)
  • Delivering signalling systems for Waurn Ponds to Warncoort, including level crossing upgrade, installing signalling assets, test and commissioning
  • Managing resources including signalling site engineers and subcontractors
  • Managing timing / progress of the project and cost / budget
  • Develop Signalling Construction work packs and Site Access Permit (SAP)
  • Managing project risks

Project Challenges & Achievements

The Warrnambool Line Upgrade was delivered by Rail Projects Victoria (RPV), on behalf of the Victorian Government. Downer was awarded the contract to design and build key components of Stage 1 of the Warrnambool Line Upgrade.

All these huge construction works were high pressure and working within tight timelines, limited budget targets and compressed programs.

A considerable amount of work and innovative thinking was required to plan and deliver major and minor works within an operational rail network. This included developing innovative solutions such as.

  • Constructability Assessments: our T&S team member was integrally involved with the construction teams to develop and assess different approaches and methodologies to minimise impacts to ensure all works are completed on time and on budget.
  • Utilising Contractor Pool: to minimise the risk of onboarding the new contractors for some signalling construction works, it was decided to utilise the CSR, Civil and Track contractors that were available on site as much as possible.
  • Site Planning Management: our T&S team member was integrated with the construction and planning teams to plan work sequencing and site plans needed for each stage, as well as what works needed to be carried out to free up the footprint. This involved both technical site planning, as well as negotiations with blue collar staff under the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), stakeholder engagement, community representation and liaison with authorities.

Our Approach to Teamwork, Cooperation, and Innovation

T&S members took charge of technical, commercial, planning, and controls for the Downer signalling delivery team for the WLU project. The project team successfully established a strong relationship with V/Line, RPV, and the local community as they carried out their work over a +200km network.

 Our approach focused on offering skilled infrastructure experts who have experience navigating complex projects. We emphasized inclusivity, transparency, and openness throughout our work. Our team member was regularly commended for their leadership, technical expertise, and diplomacy when handling difficult situations. They were able to find favourable outcomes for all parties involved.

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