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April deadline for Gawler line reopening

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The State Government says the Gawler Rail Line Electrification Project will now be completed in April, with a full shutdown of the state’s train network also required for two days next month.

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Ahead of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport appearing before a parliamentary committee today, Transport Minister Corey Wingard this morning said the Gawler Line will reopen in April following the completion of commissioning activities of the signalling system.

The train line, which services the northern suburbs around Playford and Salisbury, has been closed for electrification works since December 2020.

The project was first announced in 2008 by the Rann Government.

The Marshall Government has attributed the latest delays to border restrictions making it difficult to access skilled workers interstate.

Wingard, who last year stated the project would be completed in late 2021 or early 2022, apologised for the “further short delay” but said the State Government was doing “all that we can” to get the line running again.

The transport minister also announced that the final stage of works will necessitate “impacts” to “the entire Adelaide Metro Network during the period 18-21 February, with all lines closed on 19 and 20 February”.

“There is no denying this has been a difficult project to deliver but I’m extremely proud to be part of a government that doesn’t run away from the hard stuff and gets on with the job of building what matters,” Wingard said in a statement.

“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.”

Labor this morning highlighted a tweet from Wingard last month written in response to the Opposition’s claims that the project wouldn’t be finished until April 9.

Wingard wrote: “Oh Please. You have pulled a date out of your backside.

“My priority is getting the project finished as soon as possible in a safe manner and I have no intention of working towards a Labor timeline,” he said on December 1.

Opposition transport spokesman Tom Koutsantonis labelled the latest delay “sheer incompetence”.

“Long suffering residents of the northern suburbs have been without a train line for more than a year and still don’t know the exact date of when services will resume,” he said.

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