State Government puts the call out for Barossa rail corridor future use ideas

The Marshall Liberal Government has today released a tender seeking expressions of interest for the use of the Barossa rail corridor, which runs from Gawler Central station to Penrice Quarry, near Angaston.

“The primary objective is to identify the best use of the rail corridor in the long-term interest of the state and local economy,” Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll said.
“This corridor has lain dormant since 2014, when Penrice Soda Products’ regular freight service from the Penrice quarry to their factory at Osborne ceased.
“The EOI will seek a broad range of initiatives for the corridor, including rail and other uses.
“For example, there may be interest for the line to be used to extend agricultural areas onto corridor land for farming purposes, or converting the corridor to shared use paths as has been done between Nuriootpa and Angaston.
“I am sure there are many great ideas which have been thrown around within the local community, and look forward to seeing what proposals are put forward.”
Regular commuter passenger services to the Barossa ceased in the late 1960s; the Barossa Wine Train was the last ‘Tourist and Heritage’ passenger service, ceasing operations in 2003.
The current lessee, Genesee Wyoming Australia, has indicated that should a suitable alternative use be identified through this EOI, they would be prepared to affect an early surrender of the ground lease prior to its scheduled expiration in 2047.
“Known future use of the corridor would also influence two road projects currently under consideration: the upgrade of Kroemer’s Crossing to a roundabout, and the replacement of the Altona Bridge,” Mr Knoll said.
“If rail capacity is to be retained at these sites, both projects would incur additional costs and complexities.”
In Stage 1 of the EOI, proponents will be asked to submit an initial proposal including proposed future use, capacity to deliver the proposal, funding source, requirements of the State Government, and benefits to the community.
Expressions of interest will close on September 10, and it is expected Stage 1 will be completed by the end of October 2019.
Should proposals demonstrate merit, a short-listing process will be undertaken to identify proponents to undergo further more rigorous assessment (Stage 2).
This process will allow for more than one initiative to be progressed on different sections of the corridor to best utilise the resource, subject to Ministerial approval.
As a result of submissions received and the subsequent assessment of those, further negotiation or procurement strategies may be required.
If no suitable alternative use is identified, the process will be abandoned.
It is expected that a final outcome will be identified by March 2020.