World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Adelaide-Darwin railway


Adelaide-Darwin railway

The Adelaide–Darwin railway is a north–south transcontinental railway in Australia, between the cities of Adelaide, South Australia and Darwin, Northern Territory. From 2000 the line was extended from Alice Springs to Darwin 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 goods trains operated by Genesee & Wyoming Australia.


See Central Australian Railway for details of history of the first route - the Adelaide-Darwin railway is a different gauge and route

Alice Springs to Darwin

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.

It cost $1.2 billion to build.[2]

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.


  • July 2001: North: Construction of Alice Springs – Darwin line starts
  • 17 September 2003: Darwin reached, the line from Adelaide to Darwin is complete
  • 17 January 2004: First freight train reaches Darwin
  • 4 February 2004: First passenger train reaches Darwin from Adelaide, travelling 2970 km in 47 hours.[3]

Bankruptcy and sale

The Freightlink board, shareholders and lenders on 19 May 2008 agreed to sell its ownership of the Adelaide to Darwin rail link after failing to make a profit since the railway line commenced operation.[4][5] Then on 6 November 2008 Freightlink went into voluntary administration after failing to reach agreement with creditors on the terms of a sale of the business.[6] Genesee & Wyoming Inc agreed to purchase the assets of FreightLink on 10 June 2010 for $334 million,[2] and when the sale is complete the 50-year lease on the Adelaide- Darwin railway will be transferred to Genesee & Wyoming Australia.[7]


  • 1420 km
  • 6 major bridges crossing the Katherine, Elizabeth, Adelaide, Cullen, Fergusson and Edith rivers[8]
  • 87 minor bridges
  • 1,500 culverts[9]
  • 145,000 tonnes of rail[9]
  • 2.8 million tonnes of ballast
  • 2 million sleepers
  • 8 million sleeper fastenings


As well as the Great Southern Railway operated The Ghan passenger service, freight services operate on the line. Genesee and Wyoming Australia is the main operator.


The original narrow gauge railway served, indeed often created, the towns at the stations along the way.

The new standard-gauge railway has stations at Tennant Creek and Katherine, plus passing loops at Illoquara and Newcastle Waters.[10]

See also


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

  • History of the Adelaide-Darwin Railway

  • Crossing Loops T-AS
  • Crossing Loops AS-D

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.