Adelaide-Darwin railway

Adelaide-Darwin railway

The Adelaide - Darwin railway is north-south transcontinental railway in Australia, between the cities of Adelaide, South Australia and Darwin, Northern Territory. From 2000 The line was extended to Darwin from Alice Springs as a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer back (BOOT) project by the AustralAsia Rail Corporation.

The line sees the Great Southern Railway operated passenger train 'The Ghan' as well as freight trains operated by FreightLink.


Original construction was by South Australian Railways as a RailGauge|1067 (Cape gauge) narrow gauge railway. [cite web
title=Completion of the Adelaide to Darwin railway line
author=Australian Bureau of Statistics
work=Year Book Australia, 2005
* January 18 1878: South: Construction from Port Augusta starts
* 1879: South: Quorn reached
* 1883: South: Marree reached
* 1883: North: Construction of the North Australia Railway from Palmerston (Darwin) starts
* 1888: North: Pine Creek reached
* 1891: South: Oodnadatta reached, and known as the Central Australian Railway.
* 1910: First promise to complete the line in the Acceptance Act (but no date given)
* 1926: Line acquired by Commonwealth Railways
* 1926: North: Katherine reached
* 1929: North: Birdum reached, terminus at Larrimah, and known as the North Australia Railway
* August 6 1929: South: Alice Springs reached, "The Ghan" starts running under current name; the northern and southern parts are not connected.

The tortuously curving line was notoriously prone to delays, often caused by flash floods washing away bridges and tracks. A decision was thus made to rebuild the entire line with a straighter alignment some 150 km west of the existing track, this time using standard gauge.

* 1957: South: Line from Stirling North (near Port Augusta) to Marree rebuilt and connected to Adelaide
** Some sections of the narrow-gauge line remain in operation as the Pichi Richi Railway
* 1976: North: line closed
* October 1980: South: New line from Tarcoola, South Australia (a siding on the Trans-Australian Railway) to Alice Springs opens
* July 2001: North: Construction of Alice Springs - Darwin line starts
* September 17 2003: Darwin reached, the line from Adelaide to Darwin is complete
* January 17 2004: First freight train reaches Darwin
* February 4 2004: First passenger train reaches Darwin

* May 19 2008 Freightlink board, shareholders and lenders agreed to sell its ownership of the Adelaide to Darwin rail link after failing to make a profit since the railway line commenced operation. [ cite news
author = Vesna Poljak and Michael Smith
title = Banks force sale of $1.2bn Adelaide- Darwin rail link
work = The Australian Financial Review
date = 19th May 2008
page = 1 and 19
] [cite web | last = Calacouras | first = Nick | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Railway up for sale | work = News Ltd | publisher = Northern Territory News | date = 2008-05-20 | url = | format = html | doi = | accessdate = 2008-05-20 ]


In 2000, the AustralAsia Rail Corporation (a company owned by the Northern Territory and South Australian Governments) awarded the contract to build and operate the Adelaide to Darwin railway line as a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer back (BOOT) project to the Asia Pacific Transport Consortium. The Asia Pacific Transport Consortium contracted FreightLink to implement the project and to operate the railway.

The Australian Government contributed $165 million from the Centenary of Federation Fund, the Northern Territory Government contributed $165 million and the South Australian Government contributed $150 million to the AustralAsia Rail Corporation for the construction of assets by Asia Pacific Transport Consortium and FreightLink that were later leased for a peppercorn rent to FreightLink In addition, the three Governments contributed about $26 million each, a total of $79 million in further funding to support the Asia Pacific Transport Consortium directly, by way of mezzanine debt financing (subordinated debt), equity, and contingent equity.


As well as the Great Southern Railway operated "The Ghan" passenger service, freight services operate on the line. FreightLink is the main operator, announcing in June 2008 that it would add an extra weekly rail service between Adelaide and Darwin due to growing demand, taking the total number of services to six. [cite web
title=Extra Adel-Darwin rail service starts
work=ABC News
date=June 24, 2008

ee also

*North Australia Railway


Further reading

*Rozycki, Jack (Jan–Mar 2003). "The Never Never Line. Australia's biggest project: the Adelaide-Darwin railway". "Australian Geographic" 69: 50–67.

External links

* [ AustralAsia Railway Corporation - owners of the line]
* [ History of the line]
* [ History of the Adelaide-Darwin Railway]

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