Problem to be addressed
The Gawler rail line provides a mix of express and all-stops passenger rail services between Adelaide’s CBD and northern suburbs using a diesel fleet. It also provides access to the regional centres of Mawson Lakes, Salisbury, Elizabeth and Gawler. Patronage along the Gawler rail line grew by 30% in the decade to 2016 to become the busiest passenger rail route in Adelaide. Currently, passengers are using 75% of train capacity during the morning peak along the busiest sections of the rail line.
The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit identified that, owing to the current and predicted population growth in northern Adelaide, rail demand between Gawler and Adelaide is expected to almost double by 2031. As a result, the line could reach capacity within five to 10 years.
The scope of the project includes electrifying the Gawler rail line, replacing the diesel fleet with electric train cars, replacing signalling equipment and systems, upgrades to 20 stations on the line, and extension or modification to 12 platforms.
Economic, social and environmental value
Rail users would benefit from faster journey times and increased service frequencies between Adelaide and Gawler Central. Replacing high-polluting diesel motor units with electric motor units will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, noise and vibration.
The project also addresses broader strategic objectives by improving the accessibility and sustainability of transport to and from the northern suburbs of Adelaide.
The proponent’s stated benefit-cost ratio is 1.1, with a net present value of $44 million (7% real discount rate).
Capital cost of initiative as stated by proponent (2017 business case) $765 million (P90, nominal, undiscounted) | Australian Government contribution $306.25 million | State government contribution $458.75 million | Private sector contribution N/A