Sydney Metro is Australia’s biggest public transport project.
In September 2014 the NRT consortium was contracted to deliver the A$3.7 billion Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) PPP, the largest of the three major delivery contracts for the project and the largest PPP awarded in the State of New South Wales at the time.
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Transport for NSW
Principal commercial adviser
MTR Corporation, a John Holland, CPB Contractors and UGL Rail joint venture
Metro Trains Sydney
Expansion value (NPV)
Expansion financial close
Expansion completion date
Design, build, finance, operate and maintain for 15 years
The PPP comprised the delivery of
After four and a half years of design and construction delivery, the Sydney Metro North West Line successfully opened to customers in May 2019, on time and $1 billion under budget.
Sydney Metro’s North West Line is Australia’s first fully-automated passenger railway.
The ‘turn-up-and-go’ system delivers services every four minutes in each direction during peak times, and every 10 minutes outside of peak times.
And it has introduced the travelling public to an innovative station and precinct design, providing stations that are sustainable (due to the new stations’ low-carbon, low-energy and low-waste design), scalable (designed to safeguard for future expansion) and safe.
Customers have really embraced the Metro, giving an initial overall customer satisfaction rating of 95 per cent.
Six months after opening, NRT achieved financial close to extend the PPP contract – the largest augmentation of a PPP in Australia by some way.
The project involves the extension of the current Sydney Metro south from Chatswood, under Sydney Harbour and through the CBD, and then southwest to Bankstown.
Bringing the infrastructure to life, the new contract package includes $1.7 billion for additional metro trains and the integration of core rail systems such as signalling and platform screen doors.
The contract package also includes a $2 billion operations and maintenance component for NRT to operate the combined North West and City and Southwest lines until 2034.
Combined operations will comprise
Together, with signalling and infrastructure upgrades, the combined Sydney Metro will increase the capacity of train services across Sydney from about 120 an hour today, to up to 200 services an hour beyond 2024.
Driverless metro trains will run at least every four minutes in each direction during peak times, with ultimate capacity for a train every two minutes under the CBD.
Plenary refinanced the Northwest PPP and raised new debt and equity to finance the City and Southwest extension.
The circa. A$1.5 billion refinance was Plenary’s largest refinancing to date.
The debt process engaged the entire Australian senior debt community, with more than 35 institutions participating in a process that eventually resulted in a group of 13 mandated lead arrangers.
Uniquely, the deal involved the simultaneous sale and purchase of 45 per cent of the existing equity, with existing investors Palisade Investment Partners and Partners Group selling down their stakes at returns commensurate with the de-risking of the project following commencement of operations.
As part of a long-term commitment to, and confidence in, the success of Sydney Metro both MTR and Plenary increased their investment.
In addition, the investment qualities of the project were recognised with one of the world’s largest infrastructure investors in Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec joining the investor group.
The excellent financing result has provided a refinancing gain to the State and demonstrates the underlying strength the private sector sees in the Sydney Metro project.
More than 22,000 people worked on the project between 2011 and 2019.
The Northwest Rapid Transit consortium will continue to employ local staff throughout the 15 year operations phase.
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