Sydney Metro

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sydney Metro Northwest

The A$8.3 billion Sydney Metro Northwest is the first stage of the Sydney Metro project, Australia’s biggest public transport infrastructure project.

The 36-kilometre project is Australia’s first fully-automated railway network.

The A$3.7 billion Operations, Trains and Systems public-private partnership contract – delivered by the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium – is the largest of the three major contracts awarded by Transport for NSW to deliver Sydney Metro Northwest. The PPP is required to interface with the two other major contracts – a tunnels contract and a viaduct contract.

The PPP was the largest awarded in the history of the state of New South Wales at the time.

Sydney Metro Northwest will revolutionise transportation in the North West region of Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, which also has the nation’s highest private car ownership – with many households having three or more vehicles.

The project includes eight new railway stations, five existing railway stations converted to metro standard and 4,000 new commuter car parking spaces.

Services began in May 2019 with a train every four minutes in the peak, or 15 an hour.

With 98 per cent on-time running, Sydney Metro Northwest will be Australia’s first ‘turn up and go’ metro network and will deliver a level of customer service and safety never before seen in Australian public transport.

Work on the new greenfield section between Rouse Hill and Epping included:

  • installation of 23-kilometre of new rail track, signalling and mechanical and electrical systems
  • eight new railway stations and 4,000 associated car parking spaces
  • platform screen doors running the full length of platforms
  • construction of the Sydney Metro Trains Facility to house and maintain the metro fleet, and
  • an Operations Control Centre, within this facility, to monitor the entire railway, ensuring safe and reliable running.

These works will be complemented by the upgrade and conversion of 13 kilometres of existing railway including five existing stations to bring them up to metro status.

This will include computer based train control, full length platform screen doors, improved information displays and upgrades to fire and life safety systems.

Design features

The project involves:

  • the delivery of 22 six car new generation, fully automated Alstom Metropolis metro trains
  • the delivery of new railway stations and precincts that are both visually striking and exceptionally functional to enhance the customer experience.  The new stations and precincts are located at Cherrybrook, Castle Hill, Showground, Norwest, Bella Vista, Kellyville, Rouse Hill and Cudgegong Road.  The stations will be a mixture of underground, elevated and cut in stations.  The station design features expansive entry plazas, tall vaulted station canopies, uninterrupted gatelines and full width concourse entries and complete cross-concourse visual surveillance for safety and security, and
  • The Sydney Metro Trains facility has been designed to be as optimised and refined as possible to optimise efficiency, maximise redundancy and increase the safety of all personnel. The design also locates the maintenance building adjacent to the Operations Control Centre, providing better connectivity between operations and maintenance functions.

Design features of the key systems to be delivered include:

  • track work using new track form technology and highly mechanised construction methods, with proven asset protection strategies
  • a signalling and train control system using Alstom Urbalis™400 Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) technology to integrate with Alstom Metropolis trains and interface with communications systems
  • an environmental control system for spot cooling  and heating in underground stations, stair pressurisation and temperature control in critical equipment rooms
  • a communications system with dynamic passenger information displays, CCTV with video analytics for crowd management and a radio system with optimised frequencies and redundancy
  • lifts and escalators that are safe, accessible for all passengers and strategically positioned to optimise passenger flow, and
  • platform screen doors that are proven in service globally and designed with fail-safe principles and full redundancy.


  • The project introduces to Sydney a world class, fully automated train system, using proven technology and trains/systems which are at the forefront of innovation. With a commitment to achieving 98 per cent on time running and having trains available 99.5 per cent of the time, and a train every 4 minutes during peak periods
  • Innovative station and precinct design achieves sustainability (the stations are inherently low carbon, low energy and low waste), scalability (the stations are designed to safeguard for future expansion), embed social infrastructure and provide for an efficient door to door journey for the customer
  • The Rapid Transit Rail Facility will set a new benchmark in rail design in Australia, being the first fully automated depot, supported by CBTC technology
  • Plenary structured its financing of the Sydney Metro Northwest with both a government contribution and a conditional debt pay down, delivering significant value for money, including both cost efficiencies and balance sheet treatment efficiencies to the State for the project.

Local economic impacts

Through the construction phase of the contract, the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium will employ hundreds of local workers to deliver the Project and will look to employ local staff in the 15 year operations phase.