South Australia’s Gawler Rail Line is nearing the final stages of rail electrification infrastructure, with timeframes now set for the expected commencement of services.
The Gawler Rail Electrification Project (GREP) was hit with unavoidable setbacks in 2021 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including an inability to bring the required number of highly specialised workers across the border from interstate, and manufacturing shutdowns during extended lockdowns in other states.
Following months of hard work by the project team to minimise the impacts, the project is now closer to completion, with services expected to be commencing in April 2022.
The $715 million project will include 12 new electric trains.
South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Corey Wingard, said the commissioning activities of the signalling system will require impacts to the entire Adelaide Metro Network during the period 18-21 February, with all lines closed on 19 and 20 February.
“The pandemic has been the contributing factor to an additional cost pressure of $127 million taking the project cost to $842 million,” Mr Wingard said.
“We apologise for the further short delay but we are committed to completing the project safely, including allowing for sufficient time for testing and driver training.
“We are not going to cut corners on safety so that we can start services a few days or weeks earlier.
Mr Wingard said that the rail infrastructure is almost complete, and is approaching the final stages of commissioning before moving to the next stage.
“We will then move into the final signalling and electrical testing phases, before undertaking driver training.
“This testing and training will include both diesel and electric trains operating along the new corridor, to familiarise drivers with the new line.
“We’ve also been refreshing a number of stations along the Gawler line as part of a $20 million program to provide a better commuter experience when services resume.
“We know people are eagerly awaiting the return of the trains, and we’re doing all that we can to see that happen as soon as possible.”