South Australia’s Transport Minister is standing by his department’s decision to suspend all of Adelaide’s suburban train services during the first cricket Test against India next weekend.
- All Adelaide trains will be cancelled over the weekend of December 8 and 9
- The first Australia v India cricket Test match is on at Adelaide Oval on December 6–10
- Transport Minister Stephan Knoll says his department had no choice and the suspension will go ahead
The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure announced last night that no trains would run on Saturday and Sunday, December 8 and 9, to allow construction of a building near the Adelaide railway station.
The Test match starts on Thursday, December 6.
The closure was rescheduled from this weekend, which Minister Stephan Knoll blamed on a “technical issues with testing”.
He said there was no choice but to suspend train services during next week’s cricket Test and there would be a “minor level of inconvenience” for commuters.
“Undertaking those works on this weekend is the best time to undertake them,” he said.
“The weekend after we have Carols by Candlelight, the weekend after that we have one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year and no matter when we undertake these works there’s going to be some level of disruption.”
Substitute buses will be running over the weekend.
The closure is to allow access to tracks next to where the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute 2 building is being constructed on North Terrace.
It will replace the Rail Operations Control Centre, which is moving to Dry Creek.
Evening trains have also been suspended several times this month for the work.
About 55,000 people attended the first day of last year’s Ashes Test against England at Adelaide Oval. (AAP: Dave Hunt)
Cricket Australia says it had no warning
Opposition transport spokesman Tom Koutsantonis said the move to suspend train services during the Test would embarrass the state.
“Can you think of anything dumber?” he said.
“The Premier needs to intervene immediately and instruct the Transport Minister to reverse the decision and choose another weekend to do this work.”
Earlier, South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) chief executive Keith Bradshaw said it was “totally unacceptable”.
However, following his meeting with the Transport Minister Mr Bradshaw said while it was disappointing news for cricket fans, Mr Knoll gave detailed reasons for the decision.
He said he raised the lack of notice given to SACA during the meeting.
“Having heard that news though, we’ve managed to secure a meeting very quickly with the Minister and to explore whether there were any potential opportunities to have those dates moved which it would appear there are not,” Mr Bradshaw said.
“We are now moving forward and we’ll work with the Government and with transport to put in place services, substitute services, to ensure that we can minimise as much of the impact to our fans as possible.”
Cricket Australia said it was given “no forewarning” the closure would happen.
“Cricket Australia is required as a special event organiser to develop and pay for a special event transport plan following consultation at the direction of the Minister,” a statement read.
“This plan was delivered in July and was in line with what has been delivered for previous summers.
“The cancellation of services was only brought to our attention yesterday afternoon through the media.
“There was no forewarning from the Government that this interruption posed a risk to services and there was no consultation ahead of the decision.”
It said it was now pushing for the “best possible outcome” for fans including express services to get cricket fans to and from the venue.
Catching the train this morning, one commuter said the decision was “ridiculous”.
“Myself and my three sons go to the Test each year and catch the train,” he said.
“I suppose we’re going to have to drive.
“It’s typical of the State Government — poor planning.”
Another said it was “really, really silly”.
“We’re going to have 50,000 people there a day and how are they going to get home?” he said.
Mr Knoll said normally between 70 and 80 per cent of the expected crowd of 50,000 people did not use trains to get to the Adelaide Oval.
Trams will continue to run during the Test, including to the new Festival Plaza stop on King William Road, near Adelaide Oval.