[SMH] Derailed: no power for new carriages

Derailed: no power for new carriages

    * Linton Besser
    * March 10, 2009

THE CityRail network has insufficient electric power to run the biggest order of new trains in Australia and has been forced to spend more than $1 billion to fix the problem and to pay for other essential upgrades.

The first of more than 600 rail carriages due to begin testing in October will be restricted to one section of the rail network until a program of capital improvements is completed, some of which are running years late and over budget.

Although RailCorp was aware more power was needed for the trains, the budget for the overhaul has blown out almost seven-fold.

If too many of the trains are put into circulation at once, sections of the network will short-circuit, sources have confirmed.

In a tender last year the State Government revealed "RailCorp does not currently have an enterprise-wide change strategy for achieving business readiness to accept [public-private partnership] implementation, and this represents a major risk".

A July 2006 RailCorp investigation report revealed the power "capacity of the existing network is predicted to be exceeded in 2008". The organisation's three-year internal audit document identifies "inadequate power to run trains" as a medium level risk.

Budget papers show the power upgrade should have finished this year at a cost of $125 million, but that has been pushed to 2012 after the program hit internal difficulties and its director was replaced 18 months ago.

Almost $86 million worth of work was not done, and just seven of 30 electricity substations have been upgraded.

A statement by one of RailCorp's contractors in the project, ENOTRAC, said the project was to have cost $500 million, but a RailCorp spokesman, Metodi Jovanovski, confirmed the program would now cost $870 million. All sections of the network needed upgrading, he said. "No sectors are complete at this time."

The NSW Auditor-General revealed in a financial audit: "RailCorp will operate these new carriages on selected corridors which will firstly require the upgrade of substations and overhead wiring."

There is also nowhere for RailCorp to store the 498 carriages it intends to retire, let alone the 626 new ones. This is because the multi-million dollar stabling facility planned for the new trains at Leppington was included in the $1.36 billion South West Rail Link, which the Premier, Nathan Rees, dumped in the mini-budget in November.

One replacement facility at Auburn will not be completed before 2014, and RailCorp is now "exploring options" for another yard at Emu Plains. Mr Jovanovski said a "capacity analysis" was being undertaken.

Vital resignalling and remodelling of tracks and junctions to allow the trains smooth access to the network from a maintenance facility at Auburn is also running late. The program began in 2006 and was meant to be finished in 2011 at a cost of $25 million, but the Herald has learnt this has been adjusted to $330 million. The program will now not be complete until 2016 - three years after the last trains are meant to begin service.

The chief executive of RailCorp, Rob Mason, said the delays and budget changes were not material to the project. "RailCorp is on target to progressively deliver all the upgrade works required in time for the receipt of the new PPP trains including power supply and stabling."
Oh What a Gasser! Rex Mossop.
Not related to power supply, the Herald reports that the PPP / Waratah trains now might get stuck with inadequate funds.
dateline= Wrote:Moody's cut the credit rating of the largest privately funded transport project in NSW history, from investment grade to junk status, due to fears of ''higher risks in its financing structure''.
Moody's said the consortium's financing vehicle, Reliance Rail Finance, could be exposed to a potential funding gap of $357 million from early 2012 or ''higher funding costs or both'' if its two guarantors went bust. Uncertainty has dogged the monoline insurers ... Financial Guaranty Insurance and Syncora
The consortium chief executive, Terry Kearney, said there were ''plans in place to manage its commercial arrangements should the position of its financial guarantors change''. But in a veiled warning, the Transport Minister, David Campbell, said Reliance Rail and Downer had obligations under the contract ''and the government expects these to be met''.

"I know politicians are gonna be judged on everything they say, but sometimes, in the heat of discussion, you go a little bit further ... which is one of the reasons why the statements that need to be taken ... as gospel truth is those carefully prepared scripted remarks." Tony Abbott
Didna CityRail have this problem when the Millenium sets came out? Kept pulling the overhead in certain sections and thus restricting them to specific locations around the network?
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Indeed Rob they did. I believe the North Shore was a very good case point. So was the Illawarra, but that was rectified and they were allowed to run down there.
And  it was a  joke as they didnt even train any Waterfall crews  on them, instead they sent Campbelltown crews  over via  taxi to prep the Mill sets that were stabled there, from what I heard the Campbelltown crews loved  the extra hours


Im A Government Employee so get used to disappointment

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