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Sydney Metro scheme to benefit from Crossrail expertise

35507 crossrail western tunnels

Engineering expertise developed on Crossrail is being used on Australia’s £11bn Sydney Metro project in Australia. More global cities are also set to benefit from the UK’s mega-project.

Speaking at the NCE100 Breakfast Club in London, former Crossrail procurement director Martin Rowark said the promotional arm of Crossrail, Crossrail International, is working with the New South Wales Government on the Sydney Metro project.

Sydney Metro will deliver 31 metro stations and more than 66km of track. It is split into two parts: services for the Sydney Metro Northwest will start in 2019, while services to the Sydney Metro City and Southwest areas will begin in 2024.

“It looks and feels very similar to Crossrail. It’s a tunnelling programme, it goes under their bays at one point, and we’ve been giving some advice with a very high level delivery strategy,” said Rowark, adding that UK businesses will provide support on the programme.

“They need our assistance because actually we’ve still got the dirt on our rigger boots from doing Crossrail and they’re very interested to hear from us.”

Crossrail International was set up in September last year to promote UK engineering expertise internationally. Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan is director.

“I think the idea of Crossrail International is to actually get a bit more positive internationally, and sell what we do and sell it in a positive way,” said Rowark.

Rowark said discussions about sharing the UK’s tunnelling expertise have been taking place with officials from other world cities including Buenos Aires in Argentina, Lima in Peru and Toronto in Canada.

“You do get asked about Brunel in London and the challenges we’ve got building under this vastly complicated city. Other countries are actually facing similar problems for the first time, and you can have a sensible dialogue with them.”

Later Rowark said that a better understanding of how to build a business case would be beneficial for UK engineering schemes.

“All those promises that are made so early to appease the financers and the stakeholders are often actually not delivered on the basis that they’re not fully understood, in my opinion,” he said.

Although he stressed it is too early to discuss the specifics of how Crossrail 2 would be delivered, he questioned whether it is a high priority for the government.

“Is it number one programme in the UK currently in terms of the government’s priorities? That’s a question in itself,” he said.

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