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Yesterday Member for Schubert Ivan Venning used Budget Estimates to ask the Minister for Transport Hon Trish White to consider extending the Gawler train service into the Barossa Valley.
Mr Venning was pleased to hear TransAdelaide have undertaken preliminary studies and a departmental officer responded on behalf of the Minister by saying “TransAdelaide has conducted studies of operating limited passenger services to the Barossa and some issues indicate that it is not economically feasible. There would also be some clash with arrangements that have been made with bus operators from the Barossa.”
The officer continued “However, in the wider view, together with transport planning, TransAdelaide is looking at a standardisation exercise, which could include standardisation of the line up to and throughout the Barossa, and a greater use by freight, which could open up the way for passenger trains.”
The officer emphasised that this proposal is very much in the initial study stages.
Minister White explained that “one of the things that would make such a service more economically viable would be standardisation of the line.” However the Minister would not be drawn on the timing of the standardisation.
Mr Venning believes a service would be well patronised and advantageous to the area.
“The service could be used by the many Barossan’s who travel to work or school in the northern suburbs or right into the city. The Barossa is being marketed as a great place to retire however one major down-side of moving into the area is the lack of public transport to the city. It is inevitable that ageing constituents will need to visit the city to attend medical appointments and a direct rail service would certainly assist this sector of the community also.” Mr Venning said.
“With petrol prices over $1/litre I expect residents would also find it cheaper to catch a train to the city rather than drive. There would also be savings to the environment through reduced amount of traffic and also to the Council and Government by reducing the wear and tear on our roads and of course there is no car parking problem when in the city and the beeline bus is available right at the Adelaide Railway Station.”
Mr Venning also suggested a similar service to the Iron Triangle (Port Augusta, Port Pirie and possibly Whyalla) would be worth investigating as TransAdelaide’s 2000 Series cars are ideal for that service.
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