All proposals for uses of the Barossa rail corridor

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local MP Stephan Knoll said none of the five submissions presented a sufficiently well-formed concept which stacked up in the long-term.
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local MP Stephan Knoll said none of the five submissions presented a sufficiently well-formed concept which stacked up in the long-term.

Passenger and tourist rail services will not return to the Barossa after an impartial, evidence-based assessment, commissioned by the State Government, has deemed every proposal to be unviable.

Following a call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the use of the Barossa rail corridor in August last year, the government has concluded none of the proposals, which included passenger and tourist rail services, warrant "further development".

Instead, the rail corridor will continue to be owned and preserved by the government.

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local MP Stephan Knoll said none of the five submissions presented a sufficiently well-formed concept which stacked up in the long-term.

"All submissions lacked the required detail and failed to meet the mandatory evaluation criteria, and did not provide sufficient persuasive evidence of the outcomes and benefits of their proposals which would warrant further development," Mr Knoll said.

"Included were proposals for passenger and tourist rail services, but none of these were viable without imposing significant costs on South Australian taxpayers."

The assessment also concluded that all submissions would have required substantial support from government, and presented "significant and prohibitive amounts of taxpayer funds or assumption of risk".

"The last time passenger train services operated in the Barossa was 1969 - the same year as the first moon landing," Mr Knoll continued.

"The reason this passenger service was discontinued and has not been reinstated since is because it just doesn't stack up and the cost to run it is too prohibitive.

"The use of this corridor will remain a long-term consideration for the government.

"This is why we will continue to own and preserve the rail corridor, but it is certainly not a priority."

Despite these conclusions, the Government announced it will further engage with The Barossa Council on some elements of its submission.

"...we will be working with the local council to explore some aspects of their proposal that could open up use of the corridor," Mr Knoll said.

The Barossa Council's submission centred around developing a fully autonomous vehicle that would provide transport between Tanunda, Nuriootpa, Angaston, and potentially beyond - unconstrained by a railway line.

It also proposed an extension of existing passenger rail from Gawler to Concordia. From Concordia, a rail connection via the Wine Train and/or autonomous vehicle would provide a connection to the valley floor and Tanunda.

The proposal was developed as a joint proposition between Barossa Council, Sage Automation, Chateau Tanunda, Leyton Funds Management and First Drop Wines.

Barossa Mayor Bim Lange said that, despite initially being told their proposal was unsuccessful, they remained hopeful of achieving some form of utilisation of the rail corridor.

"Council remains open to any discussion on achieving its vision, of course balanced against the cost to ratepayers, noting that Council is not a public transport authority," Mr Lange said.

The works at Kroemer's Crossing will continue to provide for the removal of existing rail infrastructure.