North West Rail Link

Project Details

Project Description

LBA Role

Project Highlights


Sydney, Australia


Turner & Townsend for Transport for New South Wales, NSW Government


2011 – 2012

Project Type

Rail – Tunnelling and Infrastructure


Cost Planning / Estimating



Project Description

 The North-West Rail Link project was developed over a number of years.  In June 2011, the base scope for the project was approved by the NSW Government as an extension to the existing Epping to Chatswood Rail Link.  The project was the NSW Government’s priority rail infrastructure project that would provide an integrated and affordable transport system for North West Sydney.

The proposed project route comprised 22.5 kilometres of twin track between a new stabling facility at Cudgegong and Epping.  The scope included five below ground or open cut stations, two elevated stations and one at grade station.  Approximately 15.5 kilometres of the route was underground and the remaining 7 kilometres was at grade with the majority of this on viaduct.

The project was subsequently renamed Sydney Rapid Transit with the adoption of the use of automated trains that would operate a high frequency timetable between Cudgegong and Chatswood.  This required the conversion of the existing heavy rail route between Epping and Chatswood to be converted for the use of this type of rolling stock.

The project has now been rebranded Sydney Metro North West as Stage 1 of the NSW Government’s strategy to provide a network of high frequency rail services from key centres of population into the CBD.

LBA Role

LBA was responsible for the provision of estimating support to Turner & Townsend (Pty) Limited by providing a cost consultant to prepare the tunnelling and at grade elements of the suite of estimates prepared during the design development, business case and pre-tender estimate phases of the project and to assist with the stations and systems.  This included:

  • Providing cost planning advice and preparing strategic cost estimates during the design development phase including providing advice on the impact of different design variables on budget and risk as the design developed;
  • Providing advice on delivery models, procurement strategies, commercial arrangements and risk allocations based on the experiences from other major international infrastructure projects;
  • Developing the cost plan for inclusion in the Business Case Submission;
  • Carrying out probabilistic cost estimates and undertaking sensitivity analysis to identify those aspects of the cost model which had the greatest contribution on uncertainty of costs;
  • Providing advice on the construction programme for the underground sections of the proposed project.
Project Highlights

To ensure that the cost planning was delivered within the timescales required, a proactive approach was required from the LBA cost consultant: 

  • The cost plan had to be prepared in parallel with the development of the design and not after, using a resource based approach;
  • The cost planning process had to inform decisions during the design development and in some instances, recommend more cost effective alternatives; 
  • Real time advice on the commercial impact of design and programme considerations was critical to finding the optimum solution;
  • Timely, consistent and accurate reporting of financial and likely programme impacts was essential for the Client’s decision making process during the development of the design.

Accreditations and Affiliations