Epping to Thornleigh Third Track

The Epping to Thornleigh Third Track (ETTT) project is a key component of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Program upgrading the 155km Main North Line between Sydney and Newcastle, a shared passenger and freight line.

By providing additional northbound paths for freight trains, the project will significantly reduce waiting times for freight trains and increase the reliability of both freight and passenger services.

The project involves the construction of 6km of new and upgraded track within the rail corridor between the Epping and Thornleigh stations on the western side of the existing tracks.

The new (third) track will separate northbound freight from all-stops passenger train movements along the steep incline between Epping and Thornleigh, providing additional capacity for northbound (interstate container) freight trains, particularly during the day when passenger trains currently have priority.

Our Role

The ETTT Alliance was awarded the $265 million contract in March 2013 and planning approval was granted in July 2013. Early construction work commenced in August 2013, major construction in late 2013, and project completion is scheduled for mid-2016.

Together with partners Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and LendLease Engineering, the Alliance is responsible for all work aspects, including cost, design, construction, safety, quality, environmental approvals and community relations.

The Alliance team is fully integrated with TfNSW to manage and deliver the project and its challenges.

Key Facts

  • construction of approximately 6km of new track on the western side of the existing track between Epping and Thornleigh
  • an access upgrade to Cheltenham Station to make it compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (1982), including the construction of a small concourse for ticketing facilities, as well as new lifts and stairs to provide access to existing platforms
  • modifications to the pedestrian underpass and commuter car park at Beecroft Station (retaining existing numbers of parking spaces)
  • construction of a new rail bridge crossing the M2 Motorway and Devlins Creek
  • extension of Pennant Hills Station concourse, including a new lift and stairs, modifications to the Yarrara Road footpath and roadway, and a replacement footbridge south of the station
  • widening of a number of cuttings along the alignment to accommodate the new third track
  • modifications to existing services within the rail corridor and in some public areas

Project Milestones and Achievements

Due to limited possession availability, construction of the third track has to be achieved in a live corridor. This challenge includes significant earthworks (widening the sandstone and shale cuttings up to 14m in height), the need to maintain access to all stations and adjoining roads, and the need to minimise environmental and community impacts.

To enable this during live operating hours, a 3m rock fall safety barrier was installed adjacent to the track between Cheltenham and Pennant Hills in specific high risk areas during two track possessions.

To enable the station works to be undertaken while minimising any impact on customers and commuters, the following measures were carried out:

  • careful planning with the Station Construction Liaison Group to consider passenger safety and awareness
  • an advanced public awareness strategy through clear, concise signage at stations, leaflet distribution notice boards
  • hoarding off worksites and access routes wherever possible to create defined boundaries
  • temporary relocation of covered waiting rooms where possible

Environmental Monitoring