Call for fast passenger train between Adelaide and Whyalla

RAIL BID: Cr Belinda Spooner, with green suitcase, gathered with locals and tourists at the Peterborough Railway Station. Photo: Garry K. Stubbs
RAIL BID: Cr Belinda Spooner, with green suitcase, gathered with locals and tourists at the Peterborough Railway Station. Photo: Garry K. Stubbs

A group of "rail-revival" enthusiasts has called for the introduction of a fast passenger train service between Adelaide and Whyalla.

They say the service is warranted given a forecast $5 billion development outlay around the Gawler Craton and Whyalla. The Peterborough Advancement Group wants the link to be between Keswick Railway Station in Adelaide and Whyalla using the Australian Rail Track Corporation's standard-gauge interstate tracks.

Such infrastructure would create opportunities for people to live in the Mid North, working either in the industries, or even in Adelaide.

The service would boost tourism with more intrastate travel likely to take place.

The group thinks the opportunities for school groups to tour would be enhanced.

It is hoped to set up a regional train service, with government funding, covering six stops, on a four-hour-fifteen-minute trip with speeds to 150kmh.

The preferred Vlocity car trains would stop at Salisbury, Mallala, Balaklava, Snowtown, Crystal Brook, Port Pirie and Port Augusta, terminating in Whyalla.

Towns such as Hawker, Quorn, Stirling North, Melrose, Gladstone, Kadina and Clare could join with commuter coaches or park 'n' ride. The trains, now used in Victoria, allow for up to four wheelchairs per car and can carry four bicycles plus accommodate long-distance baggage. Each car provides café and wifi.

Services would run to Adelaide daily departing Whyalla at 7am to arrive Keswick at 11.15am or an hour earlier depending on demand.

The reverse service would depart Keswick at 5.30pm and arrive in Whyalla at 9.45pm, allowing five hours in a day trip to the city. Peterborough District Council's Cr Belinda Spooner and Garry Stubbs, both of the group, invite people to contact them in support of what they say is now-essential infrastructure. The group believes the current tyranny of distance across South Australia has to be broken.

The now-defunct Budd Car travelled around the Iron Triangle in the 1970s, providing a link to Whyalla's then railway station on the outskirts of the city.

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