Keolis Downer awarded $2.14bn Adelaide train operations contract

Keolis Downer has been awarded the contract to operate and maintain Adelaide’s train services.

The eight-year contract begins on 31 January, 2021 when Keolis Downer will operate Adelaide’s six lines and a fleet of 92 railcars.

South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard said the contract involved improvements for passengers.

“Keolis Downer will operate Adelaide’s train services for an initial eight-year period under a performance-based $2.14 billion contract focused on delivering significant improvements to the customer experience.”

Wingard said that Keolis Downer will implement a digitalised work platform for Passenger Service Assistants to enable them to spend more time with passengers.

The contract is the first heavy rail operations contract for the Keolis Downer joint venture. The company operates light rail in Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and Newcastle, as well as buses in NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

According to David Franks, CEO of Keolis Downer, the operator hopes to improve customer services and increase the use of public transport in Adelaide.

“As a local public transport operator in South Australia for the past 20 years, we are excited to continue our partnership with DIT to deliver better train services in Adelaide,” Franks said.

“We are committed to partnering with local stakeholders and organisations to create value in South Australia and deliver the Government’s vision of a sustainable, revitalised train service for the people of Adelaide.”

Adelaide has seen steady growth in patronage on the rail network since 2014, when the Seaford and Tonsley lines were electrified. Further electrification of the Gawler line is currently underway.

“The electrification of the Gawler line is underway and through this project we will be introducing new electric trains with increased capacity,” said Franks.

The Tonsley line is also currently being extended, connecting Flinders University and Medical Centre to the rail network.

“These initiatives are real game changers and will transform the rail network. We are proud to be part of this journey with DIT,” said Franks.

Wingard highlighted that the state government retained ownership of infrastructure and and controls over aspects of the service.

“The state government still owns all the rail assets including tracks, trains and stations and will continue to have control of fare price, revenue, and standards for service levels.”

Keolis Downer was one of three consortiums shortlisted for the contract. The others were Adelaide Next, a consortium of Deutsche Bahn and John Holland with Bombardier as a subcontractor and TrainCo, a consortium of Transdev and CAF.

Ovingham

Ovingham level crossing to use road over rail bridge

The preferred design for the removal of the Ovingham level crossing in Adelaide’s inner north has been released.

Torrens Road will be elevated over the Gawler and freight railway lines in a $231 million works package. The western end of Churchill Road will also be raised to meet Torrens Road at the same elevation.

Tender for the project has been announced and a contract will be awarded later in 2020 with work to begin in 2021.

The design was chosen not only for its impact on traffic and constructability, but the minimal disruption to rail users and the freight line while the road is lifted above the track.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the project will have improve safety and traffic flow.

“Not only will this bust congestion, but it will give the SA economy an essential boost and it will mean more local jobs,” he said.

South Australian Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll said the current design of the road causes delays.

“At the moment the boom gates at this level crossing are down for around 26 minutes during both peak periods which causes traffic delays and frustrates motorists.

“Once complete, this level crossing upgrade will ensure motorists never have to wait for a train to pass again here, making their ride to and from work or home safer and faster.”

The Ovingham project is expected to be complete by 2023.