City Rail Link



City Rail Link is committed to a robust and transparent procurement process focused on risk management, value and ensuring a fair and equitable outcome.

July 2019 Signing of The Link Alliance - news release

City Rail Link Ltd’s commitment to transform public transport in Auckland took a huge step forward today when it signed a contract with the Link Alliance to build the main stations-and-tunnels programme of work for the City Rail Link (CRL).

Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, CRL Ltd, the Link Alliance and kaumatua representing Tāmaki Makaurau Iwi were present for the signing as were project partners KiwiRail and Auckland Transport.

Mr Twyford says the signing is significant for Auckland and for New Zealand.

From left to right - Auckland deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Transport Minister Phil Twyford, CRLL Chair Sir Brian Roche, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

“Given the competition world-wide to build infrastructure, the whole country can take pride in the fact that such a high calibre of international companies want to come here and help build a better future for New Zealand,” Mr Twyford says.

Mr Goff describes CRL as a gamechanger for Auckland.

“It will double the capacity of our rail network, reduce travel times into and through the central city, and help take cars off the roads, as well as driving investment in our region. The signing of this agreement will help ensure the delivery of the world-class transport system our city needs.

“With the population of Auckland growing by 40,000 a year and public transport journeys exceeding 100 million in the past year, the completion of CRL can’t come soon enough,” Mr Goff says.

Signing the Project Alliance Agreement  (PAA) formally clears the way for the three construction companies and three design companies in the Link Alliance, together with CRL Ltd, to start work building two new inner-city underground stations, upgrading the existing Mt Eden station, and completing tunnel  construction. It is the single biggest programme of work for CRL, known as the C3 contract.

“Our signatures drying on the PAA represent a significant milestone not only in the history of this project, but for Auckland’s future as well with the delivery of a modern rail network,” says City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney, said.

The New Zealand and international companies in the Link Alliance are Vinci Construction Grands Projets S.A.S, Downer NZ Ltd, Soletanche Bachy International NZ Limited, WSP Opus (NZ) Limited, AECOM New Zealand Limited and Tonkin+Taylor Limited.

Dr Sweeney says the companies have a proven record of delivering large and complex infrastructure.

“Aucklanders can be confident that a project transforming the way they travel, live and work will be delivered to a high standard, on time in 2024, and on budget, leaving behind an outstanding legacy for the city,” he says.

The Chairman of the Project Alliance Board, Pierre Bourgeois, says the Link Alliance is proud and excited to be delivering a landmark project for Auckland.

“As a truly international team with members from more than 25 countries, we look forward to working alongside local communities to safely construct the City Rail Link over the next five years. Together with CRL Limited, we are committed to realising the outstanding legacy CRL will leave for New Zealand’s biggest city,” Mr Bourgeois says.

The PAA and other project-related documents were signed inside the Chief Post Office heritage building in central Auckland, whose 4000 tonnes of 106-year-old masonry is being suspended on temporary foundations above the construction of a section of the tunnel below it.

The signing follows CRL Ltd’s announcements last April of the Link Alliance as its preferred bidder, and details of a $1 billion increase in the project to $4.4 billion after a rigorous and comprehensive review of project costs. The project’s two sponsors – The Crown and Auckland Council – subsequently approved CRL Ltd’s request for additional funding.

To ensure project momentum was not lost, the Link Alliance began work on a $75 million Early Works Contract while commercial and legal negotiations continued to finalise the PAA.

Construction of three smaller sections of the project at lower Queen Street/Britomart and north Albert Street in the city centre and utility-based work at Mt Eden are already underway.

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April 2019 announcement of Alliance preferred bidder

News release - 17 April 2019

City Rail Link Ltd (CRL Ltd) today announced a revised cost envelope for completing the entire Auckland City Rail Link project totalling $4.419 billion, alongside naming its preferred bidder for its substantive C3 Contract to build the underground tunnels and stations and a $75 million Early Works Contract.

CRL Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney, says after a rigorous and comprehensive review of project costs, a revised cost envelope has been submitted to the project’s sponsors – the Crown and Auckland Council - for approval.

“The $1 billion cost increase on the previous $3.4 billion estimate made in 2014 reflects significant changes impacting the project in the past five years,” says Dr Sweeney.

“No-one could have foreseen the competitive pressures that have occurred in the construction industry over the past few years and the impact that has on costs, particularly for a project the scale and complexity of the City Rail Link.

“Eighteen months ago, the value of work in the infrastructure pipeline on both sides of the Tasman was $80 billion – the value of that work is now estimated at $230 billion.

“Last year, a decision was made to increase the scope of the project to accommodate longer, nine-car trains at stations. Planning today for a city that will be much bigger in the future reinforces the benefits the City Rail Link City will deliver to the way people travel, work and live in Auckland.

Other factors contributing to the revised cost envelope are higher escalation, or construction inflation costs, and an increase in the contingency risk allowance for any future unplanned events.

“Put together, they have all helped add costs to the project overall. Keeping a growing city moving is a serious challenge, but when we complete the City Rail Link it will double the number of Aucklanders within 30 minutes travel of the CBD.”

Dr Sweeney says CRL Ltd’s own cost review underwent a rigorous examination by two international assessors to ensure the project delivers the best value for money for Aucklanders.

Decisions by the Crown and Auckland Council regarding their endorsement of the revised cost envelope are expected in early May.

After an exhaustive competitive tender process, the Link Alliance (Vinci Construction Grands Projets S.A.S,, Downer NZ Ltd, Soletanche Bachy International NZ Limited, WSP Opus (NZ) Limited, AECOM New Zealand Limited and Tonkin + Taylor Limited) has been announced as the preferred bidder for the C3 contract – the project’s largest package of work.

The Link Alliance was one of two groups of New Zealand and international infrastructure companies that submitted what Dr Sweeney, describes as “world class and competitive bids” for the contract. The other group was a consortium of: CPB Contractors Pty Limited, UGL (NZ) Limited, Beca Limited, Jacobs New Zealand Limited and McMillen Jacobs Limited.

Dr Sweeney says that both these joint-ventures consists of outstanding contractors with a wealth of experience delivering major project both here an overseas.

“The calibre of both the tenders were exceptional. Aucklanders can be confident that the project will be delivered to a high standard leaving behind an outstanding legacy for the city,” he says.

Dr Sweeney says progress on the project will still continue at pace as CRL Ltd starts negotiations with the Link Alliance to deliver the $75 million Early Works Contract over a three-month period. The contract includes work relating to design, consents, permitting, utilities and mobilisation.

“The project is already well underway at Lower Queen Street/Britomart, Albert Street and Mt Eden, and momentum will continue. CRL Ltd will now work with the preferred bidder to get the Early Works Contract underway as quickly as possible.

“This keeps us on track to have this transformational project in place and delivering significant benefits for Aucklanders at the end of 2024.

“Today’s announcements represent huge step forwards for a project that will create accessibility and development opportunities that will allow Auckland to remodel itself as a city that is proudly international,” Dr Sweeney says.

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Work Package descriptions

C3 Stations and Tunnels

The C3 Work Package is procured using an Alliance form of contract.

A portion of the bid costs for any unsuccessful shortlisted C3 bidder will be paid in return for any intellectual property rights and effort expended.

A change in the scope between the C7 and C3 Packages has meant that tunnel ventilation and fire strategy are now within the C3 Package.

The works therefore include:

Aotea Station – construction of a 15m-deep, 300m long cut-and-cover station, including platforms, lifts, escalators, rooms housing station and tunnel services equipment, entrances at Victoria and Wellesley Streets, building works, services, architectural finishes, utilities services diversions and connections and reinstatement of streets and foundations for an over site development over the Wellesley Street entrance.

Karangahape Station – construction of a 32m-deep mined underground station, including shafts, platforms, lifts, escalators, rooms housing station and tunnel services equipment, an entrance at Mercury Lane and at Beresford Square, building works, services, architectural finishes utilities services diversions and connections and reinstatement of streets and foundations for an over site development over the Mercury lane entrance.

Tunnels – construction of two bored tunnels approximately 7 metres diameter between Mount Eden Station and Aotea Station, and a fully grade separated junction within mined caverns connecting with two cut-and-cover tunnels to form east and west facing connections to the existing North Auckland Line.

Mount Eden Station – construction of a new station to provide interchange between the CRL and the existing Western Line including a 7m deep open trench for the CRL platforms, concourse structures, lifts, escalators, rooms housing station and tunnel services equipment, an entrance at Ruru Street, building works, services, architectural finishes utilities services diversions, connections and reinstatement of streets, and foundations for over site developments.

Station Group Control Centre – structures, building works, services and architectural finishes for the Station Group Control Centre that will be fitted out by the C7 Alliance contractor.

Tunnel Ventilation System – fans, attenuators, ductwork, louvres and control systems for the tunnel ventilation system housed within the stations.

Fire Engineering – development and implementation of fire life safety strategy and the fire engineering brief for the new stations and all the CRL tunnels, design and construction of fire engineering systems within the new stations and tunnels.

Asset Management – provision of maintenance services for the three new stations.

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C5 Western Line

The C5 Work Package was amended to include only the civil elements of the Western Line, with the C7 Work Package undertaking the rail systems elements.

The work includes civil works required to connect the CRL main tunnels to the Western Line and comprise significant civil construction works with new road, rail and pedestrian bridges and retaining walls.

C6 Mt Eden Stormwater Relocation

C6 was procured as a lump sum, construct-only contract using the NZS 3910 form of contract and has been awarded to March/Bessac JV.

The C6 Work Package included the construction of a 1.95m diameter pipeline at depth below ground level replacing the existing pipeline length on a new alignment over approximately 420m between Water Street carpark and Ruru/Nikau street intersection in Mount Eden. The key elements of the C6 Work Package included:

  • boring and thrusting a new pipeline at depth on curved lines through a wide range of material with accurate level tolerances

  • demolition of two buildings

  • excavation and construction of three permanent access shafts at Water Street, Ruru/Nikau Street and Mt Eden Road

  • joining of the new pipeline to the existing pipeline by cutting-in at both ends

  • minor utility relocations, vehicle access and retaining wall construction and relocating an overhead traction power gantry on the rail corridor

C7 Systems, Integration, Testing and Commissioning (Rail Systems Alliance)

C7 is procured using an Alliance form of contract and a linewide rail systems package.

Works include provision of trackslab, track, overhead line, signalling (control software and systems and interlockings to be provided by CRLL), control systems, communications systems, control room fit-out and building work, and trackside auxiliaries. Rail systems to be installed from the existing operational railway to the east of Britomart, through Britomart Station, C1, C2 and DSC, the new station and tunnels (C3), and the Western Line (C5).

Works also include responsibility for Operational Readiness. Once construction work has been completed and individual systems have been tested and commissioned, the system needs to be commissioned into service. This will include a trial running period, equipment testing and commissioning, driver training, test train running and operating/maintenance manual updating. Key stakeholders will include construction contractors, the train operator (currently Transdev), KiwiRail as owner and network operator, AT and CAF (the train supplier).

The C7 Work Package also includes the scope of the previous Britomart East C9 Work Package to provide increased vertical pedestrian/passenger flows out of the east end of Britomart, as well as the scope of the Henderson and Newmarket sites.

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C8 Wider Network Improvements (Otahuhu and Strand)

The scope of the C8 Work Package was reduced to cover the Otahuhu and Strand sites. The works at Henderson and Newmarketwere re-allocated to the C7 Work Package. The C8 Work Package is being delivered by KiwiRail and Auckland Transport.

The scope of the C8 Work Package includes:

Otahuhu Station rearrangement – introduction of the CRL timetable diverts many Western Line services away from Newmarket and South to give the significantly better West to Britomart service. A new service will be provided between Henderson and Otahuhu as a replacement. This project allows the operations of the purple route at Otahuhu.

Strand Crossover – The CRL timetable demands efficiency of all movements and the movements out of the Strand EMU storage depot are inefficient due to the extensive amount of ‘wrong way running’. This is resolved by the placement of this crossover. 

C9 Britomart East

The scope of works for this package was re-allocated to C7.

Earlier news releases and announcements

Alliance news release - 20 December 2018:

CRL moves to single Alliance to deliver stations, tunnels and rail systems

City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) today announced that it intends to proceed with a single Alliance to deliver the stations, tunnels and rail systems – including the C7 Rail Systems Contract.

CRLL Chief Executive Dr Sean Sweeney says that a single alliance will deliver positive outcomes and significant opportunities for the project.

The decision follows the announcement that RCR Tomlinson and more recently RCR infrastructure (NZ) had gone into voluntary administration. RCR Infrastructure (NZ) Ltd forms part of the Systems Alliance (C7 consortium) that has been awarded the Interim Project Alliance Agreement (IPAA) that is currently delivering the design for the C7 Systems Contract.

“We were notified on 21 November that RCR Tomlinson was in voluntary administration with administrators undertaking a trade sale of profitable parts of the business – including RCR Infrastructure NZ. Since then we have worked hard to understand the impacts on the project and identify the best way forward to complete the C7 works.

“We have determined that the best-possible response is for the current C7 consortium to continue to deliver the design elements for the C7 systems. However, they will no longer submit a tender for the C7 construction works which will instead be incorporated into the C3 Main Station and Tunnels Alliance -  due to start construction mid-next year.

The C3 contract is currently in the final stages of a tender process with two shortlisted tenderers, the Link Joint Venture with Downer, Vinci Grands Projets, Soletanche Bachy, AECOM, Tonkin and Taylor and WSP Opus and a joint venture between CPB Contractors, UGL, Beca, McMillen Jacobs Associates.

The contract is expected to be awarded by the end of April next year and the successful tenderer will now deliver the stations, tunnels and the rail systems for the City Rail Link project.

Dr Sweeney says that delivering City Rail Link on schedule is a key priority and was a critical factor in deciding to go with a single Alliance. He adds that delivering the works as a single Alliance will deliver many benefits for the project.

“By shifting to a single Alliance model now we are ensuring no time lost on the procurement programme as a result of the RCR administration process. It also removes the need for major interface coordination which means less risk and it reduces demands on resources across our delivery partners.”

Dr Sweeney says that the C7 Consortium will continue to complete the design work which is likely to be finished by March next year.

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Note: Some of the information below in earlier news releases and announcements has been superseded with the announcement about the CRL decision to move to a single Alliance.

Contract 7

The Interim Project Alliance Agreement (IPAA) for the delivery of the project’s underground rail systems (C7) has been awarded to a joint venture between RCR Infrastructure (NZ) Ltd and its design partners WSP Opus – together known as the Systems Integration, Testing and Commissioning (SITC) Alliance. Details here.

Update: Statement from CRL Ltd re RCR Tomlinson Administration - 23 Nov 2018 

  • RCR Infrastructure (NZ) Ltd is in joint venture with WSP Opus to deliver a design solution for the C7 rail systems contract.

  • The C7 rail systems contract is one of seven contracts that will be building the City Rail Link (CRL). See the Procurement section for details.

  • The contract has a current value of $7.5m.

  • The joint venture currently has 75% staffed by WSP Opus.

  • RCR Infrastructure (NZ) Ltd - a party the CRLL is in contract with - is not in administration and is still trading.

  • Work has not stopped on the on the C7 design.

  • CRLL met with the New Zealand agent of the administrators (acting in relation of the voluntary administration of the Australian entity) today to discuss the ramifications of the RCR administration on the RCR Infrastructure (NZ) Ltd. The administrator’s current position is that they are working to secure further working capital from the existing banking syndicate to enable a quick robust process to determine the value of the profitable parts of the business.

  • As is prudent, CRLL continues to evaluate a range of options.

Update: Further Statement from CRL Ltd re RCR Tomlinson Administration - 18 December 2018

City Rail Link is aware that RCR Infrastructure NZ has been placed into voluntary administration.

This has no impact on the work that is currently being undertaken as part of the Interim Project Alliance Agreement to deliver the design for the project’s C7 contract.

RCR Infrastructure NZ forms part of that Alliance together with WSP Opus and other parties.

That design work is continuing and is expected to be complete in March next year.

City Rail Link is being prudent and is planning for a number of contingencies with regards to delivering the construction of the C7 contract.