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Consortium begins building Australia's north/south rail link

Asia Pacific Transport Consortium July 17 began constructing the 937-mile Alice Springs-Darwin rail link in Australia, which would complete a north/south rail link across the country when complete in 2004.
The consortium — which comprises Barclay Mowlem; Macmahon; John Holland; Genesee & Wyoming Inc.'s Australian Railroad Group; S.A.N.T. Holding; and Kellog Brown & Root — is under a BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) contract to complete the $700 million project.
FreightLink plans to operate integrated rail/road/sea transport services once the route is complete, annually carrying about 3 million tons of domestic freight. Trains would operate daily.
The consortium, which initially plans to offer weekly shipping service, expects to create 7,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout the line's construction and operational phases.
Construction will simultaneously begin on two fronts: south from Katherine and north from Tennant Creek. When those fronts connect, crews then will work north from Katherine to Darwin, and south from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs.
After the consortium's 50-year contract expires, the railway would be transferred back to the people of Australia.

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More News from 7/20/2001