Flinders Link Rail Project - South Australia

Key points

  • $141 million jointly funded railway project by the Australian and South Australian government 
  • InfraBuild Steel Centre supplied the cut plate component 
  • Liberty Primary Steel supplied plain carbon and head hardened rail, all made locally in Whyalla  

The importance of strong relationships between customer and supplier has come to the fore through large-scale rail project, the Flinders Rail Link, which will connect Adelaide's health, innovation and education precincts.

The Flinders Link Project, a $141 million jointly funded Australian and South Australian government rail extension to the Tonsley rail line in Adelaide, has seen the relationship between InfraBuild Steel Centre Port Adelaide and local SA fabricator SA Structural go from strength to strength.  

The long-standing relationship between the two SA based businesses goes back over 15 years. InfraBuild Steel Centre Port Adelaide has worked on several large development projects for SA Structural over this period including Australian Naval Infrastructure projects, Adelaide Oval Hotel, Modbury Hospital and Burnside Shopping Centre. 

SA Structural's Group Business Development Executive Tom DeSantis said with large infrastructure projects like the rail link, there are several important factors; capability, price competitiveness and service delivery. Although the name of the InfraBuild business has changed over the years, the philosophy Tom said, hasn't. "The team at InfraBuild Steel Centre live and breathe steel, they know the product and the market. It's the same team and collectively they have a lot of years of experience which is very important. Combined experience and knowledge go a long way." 

Supply of locally made product was another important factor and one that's becoming even more so with current COVID-19 delays on supply of imported product. "Australian made product is important with many projects now", Tom said. "We need surety of supply especially with large scale projects involving bridge and road works."

InfraBuild Steel Centre Port Adelaide was successful in tendering with SA Structural to supply cut plate component to manufacture trough gliders and a pedestrian bridge for the Flinders Link rail project. 

InfraBuild product used in the project included structural angle and channel as well as Bluescope Xlerplate®  with all product made in Australia. Processing of plate was completed on Steel Centre Port Adelaide's Kinetic Plate Profiler and ESAB Plate Profiler machine. 

Around five tonnes of channel, 45 tonnes of structural angle, and 840 tonnes of plate (350L15, 10mm through to 60mm) was supplied with delivery completed in April this year. 

The rail link project offered some unique challenges for Steel Centre Port Adelaide, said PRoject Account Manager Paul Baldassari. "Due to the sizes of the completed girders, we needed long length plate, some up to 17.6 metres long. Lifting and handling, processing and delivery while maintaining flatness needed special care and attention. Unloading this type and length of product on SA Structural's site had never been done before."    

Due to the complicated nature of loading and unloading the scale and type of product, InfraBuild Steel Centre Port Adelaide invited SA Structural on-site while lifting and loading processes were completed. "We invited SA Structural onsite to view our lifting equipment and procedure, in order for them to try and replicate their end" Paul said. 

Extensive upgrade to the existing rail network 

Micro-managing the manufacture and delivery of supplier product to meet customers expected fabrication schedule proved another challenging aspect of the project.

The Flinders Rail project is an extensive upgrade to the existing rail network. It involves a 650-metre extension of the current Tonsley rail line, including an elevated single track over Sturt Road, Laffers Triangle and Main South Road. When completed it will link Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University to the passenger rail network. 

The Flinders Rail project is an extensive upgrade to the existing rail network. It involves a 650-metre extension of the current Tonsley rail line, including an elevated single track over Sturt Road, Laffers Triangle and Main South Road. When completed it will link Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University to the passenger rail network. 

Two new railway stations will be constructed at Flinders and Tonsely and an integrated shared pedestrian/cycle path will run adjacent to the rail line from a new ramp located at the corner of Sturd Road and Birch Crescent to the new Flinders Station. 

Liberty Primary Steel played an important part in the project alongside InfraBuild Steel Centre through the supply of plain carbon and head hardened rail, all made locally in Whyalla. 

Approximately 175 tonnes (or around 3.5km) of rail in 20m lengths was supplied directly from Liberty Primary Steel. Supply of rail also involved a few challenging transportation issues, according to Liberty Market Manager for Rail products, Brenton Marcinkowski. 

"The traffic management required for the delivery of 20 metre lengths of rail on extendable trailers into the construction site via one of Adelaide's busiest roads was one of the projects unique challenges.  COVID-19 also played a role, it meant planned deliveries of rail were delayed from March 2020." 

The Flinders Link project is expected to be completed in late 2020. 

The Flinders Link Project Adelaide

The Flinders Link project has involved several InfraBuild and Liberty divisions. InfraBuild Construction Solutions at Cavan was responsible for the manufacture of nine complicated headstock designs using a state of the art 3D modelling machine. See December 2019 case study for more on how InfraBuild Construction Solutions approached this challenge. 

Article published on Thursday, 10 September 2020

Please contact us for any feedback or media enquiries about this content.

How useful was this content?