Keolis begins operations and maintenance of Adelaide commuter rail in South Australia

3rd February 2021

On 31 January 2021, Keolis Downer, Keolis’ Australian subsidiary, began operating and maintaining Adelaide’s commuter rail network in the State of South Australia for a period of eight years. With Keolis’ strong track record of running commuter networks in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, Keolis Downer bundles local knowledge with global expertise to provide South Australians with high-quality transport services.

Keolis will deliver better and more frequent services focusing on safety and reliability. Over the contract period, 12 new electric trains will be added to 22 existing ones in the network’s 92-train fleet. Awarded by South Australia’s Department of Infrastructure and Transport, this contract strengthens Keolis Downer’s presence in Australia, where it has been operating shared mobility modes such as trams, buses, ferries, autonomous electric vehicles and on-demand transport for over ten years.

Bernard Tabary, CEO International at Keolis Group, said:

“As we warmly welcome new staff members to our global team, we are delighted to embark on this exciting journey with them and bring our strong safety and customer service culture to Adelaide’s commuter rail network. We look forward to building our partnership with the Government of South Australia to optimise the commuter rail passenger experience in Adelaide.”

A commuter rail contract improve the passenger experience

After four months of preparation, Keolis Downer assumed responsibility of the Adelaide commuter rail network on 31 January 2021. In September 2020, the South Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport awarded Keolis a €1.32 billion (AUS$ 2.14 billion) contract to operate and maintain Adelaide’s Metro Rail network for a period of 8 to 12 years. This is the first time this network will be managed by a private operator.

Spanning 131 kilometres -including 39 kilometres of electrified track- the commuter rail network features 89 stations, six lines (Belair, Gawler, Outer Harbor and Seaford, Grange and Tonsley).

Keolis will partner with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport to successfully operate the 650 metre Flinders Link extension launched in December 2020 to enhance access to the Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University precinct.

Over the contract period, Keolis Downer will also introduce 12 additional electric trains to the network’s 92-train fleet, which already features 22 locomotives powered by electricity, to offer a more comfortable passenger experience and increase vehicle capacity by 15% during peak hours.

 Two hundred employees, including drivers, passenger service assistants (PSAs) and customer information officers, were transferred from the South Australian government or recruited externally. As Keolis Downer continues to expand its staff numbers to ensure the highest levels of safety, operational efficiency and passenger satisfaction, new staff members have been trained in Keolis’ “Zero Harm” safety culture and “Think Like a Passenger” approach.

 Keolis Downer staff members in Adelaide are also equipped with smartphones to anticipate and meet the needs of passengers by responding to enquiries with real-time information about train timetables and traffic conditions.

More than a decade in Australia

Created in 2009, Keolis Downer is a joint venture between Keolis and Downer Group. It counts nearly 5,000 employees and carries more than 250 million passenger per year in five states.

Keolis Downer operates Newcastle’s multimodal network featuring tram, bus, ferries, real-time on-demand transport. In addition, Keolis Downer operates and maintains the tram networks of Melbourne (the largest and oldest tram network in the world), Newcastle and the Gold Coast, as well as bus networks in three states (Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland). The Group also provides first and last mile mobility solutions including autonomous electric vehicles (currently deployed in Adelaide, Newcastle and Sydney), and real-time on-demand transport in real-time (in Sydney, Newcastle, Mount Barker and the Barossa Valley).

Keolis strengthens its expertise in rail operations around the world

Excluding Adelaide rail network, Keolis operates 15 rail networks over 7,000 kilometres of track, in France (Blanc Argent), Germany (in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia), the Netherlands (Province of Overijssel and Twente), the United Kingdom (around London and in Wales) and the United States (around Boston and Washington, D.C.).

Adelaide suburban rail network in figures

  • 131 km long network

  • 6 lines

  • 89 stations

  • 92 trains including 22 electric ones

  • 4 depots

  • 15 million passengers carried per annum

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