AUSTRALIA: Responsibility for the management, maintenance and upgrading of the New South Wales government's regional rail network transferred from the Country Rail Infrastructure Authority to contractor John Holland with effect from January 15.

More than 300 employees have transferred to John Holland, which now has a directly employed workforce 'in excess of 400'. John Holland expects revenue of around A$1·5bn during the 10-year contract period.

CRIA retains ownership of the network, and will provide strategic direction and oversee the management contract.

'Today's milestone builds on our ongoing push into the transport services sector and our capacity to deliver maintenance and operations services to large scale public and private-sector transport networks', said Karl Mociak, Executive General Manager of John Holland's Transport Services business.

The Country Regional Network comprises 2 386 km of operational freight and passenger lines and 3 139 km of non-operational lines.

New South Wales has two other state rail networks; the Metropolitan Network is owned by RailCorp, while the Leased Network covering Interstate and Hunter Valley routes is owned by CRIA and leased to ARTC.