12 April 2023
2-minute read

Delivering complex rail possessions 

John Holland’s experience delivering complex rail possessions has again been put to the test, with two large rail possessions on Melbourne’s Rail Network Alliance project and Botany Rail Duplication project in Sydney.

In January, Melbourne’s Rail Network Alliance undertook the Eastern Corridor occupation, one of the most technically challenging it will deliver during the Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project.   

The 26 days of round-the-clock work to prepare for trains to run through Metro Tunnel saw a huge undertaking of complex works. This included:  

  • track rationalisation works at Caulfield Junction   
  • energising and commissioning the South Yarra substation  
  • upgrading of the legacy signalling and train control to the new Ebilock interlocking and Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) train control system  
  • the Sunshine Signalling Control Centre going into revenue service and multiple software uploads and system upgrades taking effect.  

Delivering it was the culmination of years of design, software and technology development, testing, installation and planning inputs.  

And in February our team completed the complex five-day, 24/7 possession on our Botany Rail Duplication project, including the removal of a 60-year-old bridge and installation of a new one. 

The installation took months of detailed planning, thanks to the location of the project (right near Sydney Airport), and a five-hour completion window because of road occupancy requirements.  

The first night saw a 600-tonne crawler crane with a full Superlift counterweight successfully remove the old bridge. The same crane, together with a 650-tonne mobile crane, then installed 24 precast concrete planks – some of which were stitched together onsite using batched ultra high-performance concrete. 

The removal and construction of the new primary superstructure was done over a weekend road closure, with the remaining works completed in the last two-and-a-half days. After five days, we handed the track back to our client ARTC on time for the first train to run into the port.


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John Holland pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Custodiams of the land on which we work and live, and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples today.