Encounter Fast Rail backed by the community

If a proposed 200 kilometres per hour fast commuter railway goes ahead, Alexandrina mayor Keith Parkes said it would be in line with what the community want.

The proposal was designed to create a link between the Fleurieu Peninsula’s major townships and to offer an express route to Adelaide.

Mr Parkes said, while the council had not seen the proposal in full detail, the concept of more efficient use of the rail network was something the community had highlighted.

‘Our 2014-23 Community Strategic Plan includes reference to a Fleurieu Transport and Trail Network that encourages council to advocate for powered light rail should the opportunity arise,” he said.

He said the use of rail was just one mechanism that may improve transport options for Alexandrina residents.

“Transport is a challenging issue, from both the community and public transport perspectives, with regard to infrastructure and accessibility,” he said.

“Alexandrina Council works with Southern and Hills Local Government Association to advocate for improvements in public transport and road networks.”

If the proposal got the green light, Mr Parkes said Alexandrina Council would undertake community consultation, including safety concerns, as there are a number of rail crossings in Alexandrina.

“However, we are interested to learn more about the proposal should the proponents choose to contact council,” he said.

The City of Victor Harbor mayor Graham Philp said while the City of Victor Harbor has no formal position on the fast rail proposal at this stage, it acknowledged the need for improved public transport between the Fleurieu and Adelaide.

“And have been supportive of Rebekha Sharkie’s work to enhance the LinkSA Fleurieu bus service… we will be keenly watching the progression of the Encounter Fast Rail proposal, and look forward to the release of more detailed project information.”

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said, while it was important to explore new ideas, she would prefer to see the proposal developed in a location with a higher population.

“If it was developed in a larger area, say in the eastern states, first then we would have a better idea about costing and success rate,” she said.

“We definitely need more transport here but I’m not sure we’re at the technology stage for it or the population rate.”

On The Times’ facebook page, Heather Haselgrove said the number of people who would use the railway would not justify the huge capital expenditure for new rolling stock and upgrading the track to operate trains at 200 km/h.

In response, Phoenix Noffke said the railway would help to reduce unemployment in the region.

“Building it will give the ability for people to commute into the CBD for work from Victor.… this in turn will reduce unemployment, which has a massive flow on effect,” he said.

“If you don't build it before it's needed, it'll end up like every other piece of infrastructure the SA government has managed to destroy.”

Lachlan Weeden asked where the money to fund the project would come from.

“Still need to electrify the Gawler line (and possibly the Outer Harbor line) and still have the Oaklands underpass to do,” he said.

“And it takes 52 mins from the City to Seaford. I reckon 53 mins to Victor is a bit of a stretch but if it can be done I will be happy.”