QUEENSLAND’s state government has awarded a build-operate-transfer concession to the Airtrain Citylink consortium for construction of an 8·5 km rail link to Brisbane airport at a cost of A$223m. Work is expected to take two years, followed by a 35-year operating period before the line is handed over to the state.

Airtrain Citylink Ltd is owned by Macquarie Bank (30%), Colonial Ltd (20%), British utility group Hyder (15%), GIO Australia Ltd (11%) engineering group Transfield (10%) and French group Transroute (10%). Financial close was reached on February 3 for an initial equity component valued at A$89m, split between shares, bonds and debt. Another A$175m of debt will be provided by ANZ Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Dresdner Bank and BNP.

Design work began in February, with heavy construction getting under way later this year. The branch will diverge from the existing QR network near Toombul. Most of the route will be elevated, with two stations serving the international and domestic terminals.

Airport services will run every 15min, using QR tracks to reach the city centre, where they will connect with QR’s Citytrain network. Alternate trains will continue south to the Gold Coast resorts.

Airtrain Citylink has ordered 12 EMU cars from the Walkers/Adtranz joint venture for A$38m. Based on QR’s inter-city multiple-units also build by Walkers in Maryborough, they will have IGBT traction drives supplied from Adtranz Sweden. Delivery will run from October 2001 to January 2002.