In detail: Roy Hill rail

The first shipment of iron ore recently departed from Roy Hill in Western Australia. John Holland delivered the 344km heavy rail line servicing the port facility. Project Manager, Andrew O’Brien examines how collaboration between the various contractors was crucial to John Holland delivering their work on time and on budget:

The John Holland project had 15 milestones overall. This resulted in a requirement to keep on top of the schedule at all times. There were times due to plant and logistics issues, weather events and other package interface constraints that this was a challenge, but we were able to accelerate to make up for this and ultimately achieve completion on time. It was crucial that the various contractors worked together at all times both within the Rail Package 2 bounds as well as the wider project at both the Mine and the Port.

One site where interfaces between the various contractors was critical was the Marshalling Yard. We held weekly meetings with the various contractors and the Main Contractor. At these meetings each contractor would discuss their planned works for the following week and any interfaces or conflicts were discussed at the meeting and agreement was reached. On a day-to-day basis each contractor’s senior representative on the ground would have continuous contact with his equivalent from the other contractors.

This in turn enabled effective collaboration with our client. We maintained close and regular contact with them at all levels, from on the ground work, to project management level and also at the corporate level

In essence, the following elements enabled our success on this project:

  • Detailed planning: The work train set up, the Flashbutt welding depot and the materials handling depot were all key to the success of the project as it allowed for the fully loaded work train to be on-site at the “head of steel” at the required time each day. We have extensive experience in establishing these facilities.
  • Support from the wider business:  Support of the John Holland Rail West Plant section was critical in reducing downtime with plant and to provide specialist engineering assistance as and when required. The support of our Rail West Commercial team and Rail West Management was a great advantage in the successful resolution of issues. This was also true of the Rail West Safety, QA and Environmental teams.
  • Experienced Team: The project team has been successful in delivery of large scale projects previously including in the Pilbara heavy haul environment.
  • Plant:The project team had access to the best plant available including highly mechanised tracklaying equipment, Flashbutt welders and surfacing machines.
  • Flexibility: The team was able to react quickly to unexpected circumstances to mitigate any unexpected delays and to initiate program recovery.
  • Client Field Staff: The client supervisors and superintendent all had a very positive attitude to the project with the Superintendent’s motto being “One Team, One Dream.”
  • Focus on safety: We managed train control, which in turn managed access to the track by all parties. John Holland was also responsible for the integrity of the track upon handback by other contractors. To this end, we provided three experienced inspectors to inspect the relevant section of track upon handback by the contractor. Each inspection was documented and records stored. John Holland’s project Rail Safety Manager performed monthly field auditing on the safe working system, which included auditing other contractor’s railway safe working personnel.