February 12 was the closing date for expressions of interest in bidding for contracts to maintain the infrastructure formerly owned and managed by the State Rail Authority of New South Wales. Rail Access Corp, now responsible for infrastructure in NSW, intends to introduce competitive tendering by 2001 for all maintenance, construction and project management. At the moment, the work is done by Railway Services Authority, formed from SRA’s engineering departments.

The first multi-disciplinary contract, for maintenance of the East Hills suburban line, was to be tendered during February and is due to be awarded by mid-year. Further contracts will follow until all work in the state has been tendered. RSA is permitted to bid against outside companies.

RAC is currently spending A$200m a year on routine maintenance, A$350m on cyclic maintenance including renewals, and A$250m on new infrastructure. o