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Tuesday, 1 May 1984
Page: 1452

(Question No. 769)

Senator Maguire asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 29 March 1984:

What information is available in addition to that provided in reply to a question without notice in the House of Representatives on 1 March 1984, about the Melbourne-Adelaide railway line, specifically:

(a) proposals for upgrading or standardising the existing broad gauge line between Tailem Bend and Adelaide;

(b) whether the Tailem Bend to Adelaide railway is to be converted to a three rail operation or is to be replaced by a new standard gauge line;

(c) the costs of the options in (b);

(d) the proposed commencement date if any for operation of standard gauge trains between Adelaide and Tailem Bend and Adelaide and Melbourne; and

(e) any proposals for a completely new railway route around the Adelaide Hills to the border of South Australia and Victoria.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(a) and (b) An evaluation of standardising the Melbourne-Adelaide railway line is still being conducted by officers of the Victorian State Transport Authority and Australian National Railways Commission (AN). The present proposal is for a three rail operation between Tailem Bend and the Adelaide metropolitan area. Construction of a new standard gauge line parallel to the existing line or major upgrading or realignment have not been considered.

(c) An indicative cost of a third rail option between Adelaide and Tailem Bend is $17m.

(d) At this stage no firm commitment has been entered into to provide a standard gauge link between Melbourne and Adelaide. This will depend on the outcome of the study being currently undertaken and other budgetary considerations. If the project were to proceed standard gauge trains could be operational within 3 years of commencement of construction.

(e) Initial consideration was given to a number of alternative routes but the proposal for three rail operation between Adelaide and Tailem Bend and direct conversion from Tailem Bend to the Victorian border was considered the most cost effective option.