January 25, 2018

Green Light for Adelaide suburban rail projects

Written by  Mark Carter
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Adelaide Metro's Seaford station. Adelaide Metro's Seaford station.

THE state government of South Australia has recently announced the signing of construction contracts for three previously-budgeted projects that will expand and enhance the Adelaide Metro suburban rail network.

Australian construction company Lendlease has been awarded a contract to deliver Stage 1 of the $A 615m ($US 498m) Gawler Electrification project, which will see the Gawler line electrified at 25kV ac between Adelaide and Salisbury. The project includes installation of catenary, upgraded signalling, and implementation of Automatic Train Protection.

Some aspects of the project were completed during previous track closures three years ago including re-sleepering along with the installation of some masts and foundations, but the project stalled when federal funding originally promised was not forthcoming.

Transport and Infrastructure minister, Mr Stephen Mullighan, says patronage on the Gawler lines has increased by more than 30% in the seven years to 2017. “On average almost 17,000 passengers use Gawler services each weekday and electrification of the entire line will allow for an extra 2400 passengers an hour in peak periods,” Mullighan explains. “Since electrification of the Seaford line in 2014, patronage has increased by over one million trips a year on that line.”

Electrification work to Salisbury is expected to be completed by mid-2020 and stage two through to Gawler is ready to proceed, subject to a new application for federal funding.

The Public Transport Projects Alliance, which includes McConnell Dowell, Mott MacDonald and Arup, has been awarded two contracts including the $A 174m Oaklands Rail Crossing Grade Separation project. With the increase in Seaford Line rail services since electrification, the Oaklands level crossing is active for up to 25% of the peak, imposing significant congestion and traffic delays on local roads.

Jointly funded by the Australian government ($A 95m), the state government, ($A 74m) and Marion city council ($A 5m), the project involves building a new rail underpass and provides for a new low-level station.

The Alliance has also been awarded a $A 16.4m contract for the detailed design and construction of a 1km rail spur and station, to reconnect the Port Adelaide business and tourism precinct with the Adelaide Metro network.

The new line will link the Port’s commercial centre and the Dock One residential area to Adelaide city centre by connecting to the existing Outer Harbor line at Grand Junction Road. Much of the alignment required is already in place and is currently used by the adjacent National Railway Museum.

Works are expected to begin in the second half of this year, with trains due to begin running to the Port in second quarter of 2019.

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