An $85 million extension of the Tonsley rail line to the Flinders education and health precincts at Bedford Park will create the opportunity for $800m in infrastructure investment in southern Adelaide, creating hundreds of new construction and long-term jobs.
Under the plan the Tonsley rail line will be extended 650m and be partly elevated, with a pedestrian and cycle path alongside and a new station next to the Flinders Medical Centre.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling has thanked the Federal and South Australian Governments for their vision in making the Flinders Rail Station a reality.
“The rail connection will be a vital link between the city and the south that will boost growth in line with the National Innovation and Science Agenda and South Australia’s Economic Priorities Plan,” Professor Stirling says.
“The Flinders Rail Station will place Flinders University at the heart of South Australia’s transformation to a knowledge economy, and will be the catalyst for a substantial innovation project that will revolutionise life and work in Adelaide’s south.
“The rail extension provides a real opportunity to capitalise on the State Government’s significant investment to date in Tonsley and is a crucial factor in realising the Flinders vision to create a precinct dedicated to innovation and enterprise, connecting Flinders University, the Flinders Medical Centre and Tonsley,” he says.
“Our plans include driving the development of several thousand student accommodation units to house our expanding international student population both at Tonsley and around the new Flinders station and the expansion of our Flinders New Venture Institute with incubator space for the spin-out businesses it is helping to create.
“We expect these Flinders initiatives will be prime attractors for private investment in retail and other amenities. Additional mixed-use facilities could include medical specialist suites, hospital transition care units, residential units and a hotel.
“For the first time we will have a integrated public transport link between Flinders University’s main campus, and our facilities at Tonsley and Victoria Square. Just as importantly, it will connect Flinders University’s medical research expertise and the Flinders Medical Centre to SAHMRI and the biomedical precinct in the CBD.
“We cannot over estimate the value and importance of providing students with swift and seamless access to our facilities – taking just 20 minutes to get to the city, this transport solution will ensure Flinders University remains competitive in attracting students locally and internationally,” Professor Stirling says.
“Our newly redeveloped Plaza and Student Hub is already transforming not just student learning but the social scene of the southern suburbs – and this rail extension, with its shared pedestrian and cycle path, will provide even more opportunities for locals to be part of Flinders’ new vibrancy,” he says.
The State Government estimates the train would cut travel time by up to 18 minutes by putting commuters on the fast track instead of buses. The project will take up to two years to finish and .is expected to be built concurrently with the under-construction $620 million North-South Corridor Darlington road upgrade.
Both projects were scheduled to be finished by the end of 2018.
The Flinders link will involve construction of a 520-metre rail bridge over Sturt and South roads to the new train station at the northern end of Flinders Medical Centre.
“We are delighted to dedicate a life-sized bronze statue of our namesake Matthew Flinders to acknowledge this significant moment in our history in our 50th year, and honoured that the Prime Minister has unveiled this impressive monument, which will be located at the new station,” Professor Stirling says.
He says the timing couldn’t be better, and builds on the excellent foundations forged in the past half century as Flinders celebrates its 50th anniversary and charts a course for continued growth and strength into the future.