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After years of uncertainty, the electrification of the entire Gawler Train Line has now been confirmed as the Federal Government last month announced a $220m grant to complete stage two of the project.
First mooted in 2008 by a State Labor Government, the Gawler Line upgrade has, until now, fallen short of being fully funded.
Stage Two will electrify the remainder of the line from Salisbury to Gawler, install a new signalling system, build a new electricity feeder station at Kilburn, and purchase new electric rail cars.
The State Labor Government committed $242.5m towards Stage Two while they were in power in 2017, subject to the Federal Government providing the remaining $220 million.
Light MP Tony Piccolo told the Barossa Herald that the federal funding was a long-time coming and the business case had eventually stacked up.
Mr Piccolo also highlighted that there were still planning issues yet to be resolved, including how the line will interact with traffic on Murray Street.
“The community is positive about it but I don’t think there is a full understanding of the issues which need to be address to make sure it all happens,” Mr Piccolo said.
“What I don’t want to see happen is for in two years for [the Transport Minister] to say it has been delayed.”
The State Liberal Government said an improved relationship with the Federal Government has led to the funding finally flowing.
“This project is a fine example of two adult governments working together constructively to deliver for South Australia,” Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll said.
The electrification should significantly increase capacity, allowing an extra 2400 passengers an hour to use the train in peak periods. Work on Stage One, which electrifies the line up to Salisbury, has begun.
The Gawler electrification project is part of a progressive upgrade of Adelaide’s rail network from the diesel locomotives in favour of electric lines for better efficiency, higher capacity and increased reliability. The Seaford, Tonsley and Belair lines were electrified in 2014.
This article first appeared on www.barossaherald.com.au
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