Gawler Line Reconstruction

Written by Dene Macleod

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Project Overview

The Gawler Line Reconstruction—Stage 1 North Adelaide to Mawson Lakes Project was located in Adelaide, South Australia from May to August 2010 for the South Australian Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (DTEI).

The project was a Lump Sum Joint Venture with John Holland Rail with $25 million project value.


Project Scope

The design and reconstruction project involved:

  • Upgrading the track formation and installing new formation drainage system.
  • Installing new gauge-convertible concrete sleepers.
  • Refurbishing and replacing rails.
  • Replacing rail joints with continuous welded rail (CWR)
  • Refurbishing turnouts.
  • Installing a new ballast bridge decking across the Wingfield Drain Bridge and replacing timber bearers on the Torrens River and North Arm Drain bridges.
  • Upgrading five stations along the line including the installation of electrical and communications conduits, re-asphalting of platforms and installing DDA tactile indicators on the platform floors.
  • Upgrading two level crossings and 10 pedestrian crossings.
  • Installation of new signalling conduits.
  • Signalling disconnection, reconnection and recommissioning.


Project Approach and Methodology

The line between North Adelaide and Mawson Lakes was closed for 16 weeks, with replacement buses for passengers.

A comprehensive safety system was employed across the whole site to ensure worker safety while working adjacent to the operating ARTC line and on a ‘live’ section of the existing / upgraded track which was used by other operators. This included a Rail Safe Coordinator and five Rail Safety Supervisors across the whole site, with the Coordinator in radio contact with Train Control and each Supervisor, notifying train and works movements.

One line was completely removed and upgraded, while the other line was progressively removed and upgraded in 1 km to 3 km sections. This ensured that one line could become operational within 48 hours if required to provide emergency access for trains beyond Mawson Lakes to the Main Adelaide Depot.

Other key delivery elements included:

  • Consultation and collaboration with ARTC and other rail operators regarding rail safety and access.
  • Traffic Management Plans with designated truck routes developed in consultation with local councils, residents and businesses, for supply of new ballast and materials and removal of excavated soils and ballast.
  • Using modular timber temporary crossings over pedestrian crossings to maintain pedestrian access across construction site.
  • Using the ARTC line to deliver sleepers to part of the site, by train.
  • Installing a two-sectioned prefabricated steel tub to contain ballast on the Wingfield Drain Bridge.
  • Lifting the track level by up to 300mm to minimise excavation and disposal of contaminated materials.
  • Using the excavated soil to raise access roads in the rail corridor and minimise off-site disposal.