Wickham Interchange
Wickham Interchange

On track to finish citys new rail transport hub

  • Station's innovative and landmark steel roof now in position
  • DfMA has allowed quicker construction onsite and higher-quality finish
  • 3D modelling 'essential' in tackling 'spiderweb' of underground services

Our work to design and build an important new rail transport hub in Newcastle, New South Wales is on track to complete on schedule.

The Wickham Transport Interchange project is creating a rail station that will be a terminus for intercity trains and also be part of a new light rail network serving different districts of Newcastle.

Valued at AUS$70 million, the project also includes laying a section of mainline track, sidings, a steel footbridge, a stabling yard and facilities for rail staff.

Innovative and iconic station roof now in position

At its heart is the station itself with an innovative, 70-tonne steel roof creating an iconic structure that pays tribute to the city’s steel-manufacturing history. 

With a final crane lift in mid-January, the 85m-by-30m roof is now in place – a "major achievement", says Project Leader James Kennedy. Structural work at the station is now finished and fit-out activities are under way.

Platforms are nearing completion, adds James, as protective canopies are put up, while work on the footbridge and the laying of mainline track into the platforms has begun. Laying track in the stabling yard can also start now that underground services have been installed.

3D modelling and DfMA have key role in successful progress

This progress has been aided by the use of 3D modelling and DfMA. James says: "There's not much room onsite for fabrication or to store materials, so prefabricating components as large as possible offsite has really helped." 

He continues: "The platform canopies are one example: refining a design used on the Novo Rail Alliance project in Sydney, they were prefabricated offsite as common-size modules for quick site construction that required minimal work at height." An offsite, precast approach to other structural components meant a higher quality of concrete finish and allowed rapid construction onsite.

A 3D model created for the project has been "essential" to avoiding clashes in the "spiderweb" of underground services, particularly in the stabling yard, says James. "A 3D model allows you to solve problems before digging holes in the ground."

Challenging lift operations 'worked perfectly'

The project team also used the 3D model to plan how they could deploy a 250-tonne crawler crane to lift the station roof into position without hitting existing buildings or the new station itself. James explains: "We modelled the lift operations with huge accuracy and it all worked perfectly."

Our 3D model will eventually be handed over to the client, which will help rail staff manage the facility and will be a planning blueprint for any future alterations and maintenance. 

Passengers should be using the new station, to be called Newcastle Interchange, in the fourth quarter of 2017. James adds: "It's a challenging brownfield environment to work in but satisfying to know we're on track to create a positive legacy for all stakeholders."