MTR is transforming Australia’s largest cities with world-class fast and frequent trains to meet the demands of a growing population
Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation is one of the world’s leading multinational railway companies. In 2015, MTR serviced more than 3.5 billion passengers on railway networks in Hong Kong, Sweden, the UK, China and Australia.
MTR is a member of the winning consortium awarded a A$3.7 billion contract in 2015 by the New South Wales Government to construct and operate Sydney Metro Northwest. The project is Australia’s largest public transport project and will tackle one of the most traffic-congested parts of Sydney’s suburbs.
According to a public contract overview, MTR will lead the railway operations that will deliver Australia’s first fully automated rapid transit network – a 36-kilometre railway between Rouse Hill and Chatswood. MTR will also operate and manage the new rail stations set for completion in 2019: Cudgegong Road, Rouse Hill, Kellyville, Bella Vista, Norwest, Showground, Castle Hill and Cherrybrook.
Sydney’s North West suffers transit times of around 90 minutes to Sydney’s central business district. With the help of MTR’s investment through the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium, the new trains and services on Sydney Metro Northwest will cut this travel time to just 35 minutes and reduce car trips by 14 million a year. On a round trip to the city, commuters will gain almost an extra two hours in their day which they could spend with their families.
MTR’s Chief Executive Officer, Lincoln Leong, says the company is interested in continued expansion and development in Australia. ‘We’re always looking for opportunities, and what we’ve found is that once we have got to know a city well, like Melbourne and Sydney, there are perhaps other opportunities to keep expanding from there so the focus will be on those cities to begin with.’
MTR’s long-term investment in Australia’s major infrastructure began in Melbourne. In 2009, the Victorian Government chose MTR’s 60 per cent-owned subsidiary, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) to maintain and operate Melbourne’s metropolitan train service. It is the first single organisation to manage all railway operation functions in Melbourne, moving around 840,000 passengers each weekday across a 390-kilometre network that spans 218 stations.
But MTR’s investment isn’t just about trains and passengers, it’s also about the people that work to meet critical service times. It employs around 5,000 people in Victoria, and is investing in the development of their careers. Through its Metro Academy, MTM manages a centralised learning and development department which aligns job-specific training with vocational education. In the past six years, more than 2,000 staff have received a qualification across various disciplines, including management. The federal government awarded MTM the Large Employer of the Year in the 2016 Australian Training Awards in recognition of its commitment.
In a visit to Australia on 9 November 2016, MTR’s Chairman, Professor Frederick Ma, said it was good to see how the company’s expertise and experience is helping both Melbourne and Sydney to develop better transport networks to serve the needs of commuters and foster growth and development.