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Looking up Down Under: Transcontinental line's first freight train signals new Australian rail realm

Today, FreightLink expects to move the first freight train on a new 1,860-mile Adelaide-to-Darwin, Australia line, which includes a recently built 880-mile segment to Alice Springs.

A consortium comprising Kellogg Brown & Root, John Holland Group, Barclay Mowlem, Macmahon Holdings and Australian Railroad Group — which built the Alice Springs line — established FreightLink to provide rail service and oversee intermodal terminals in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Darwin.

The consortium owns and operates the railroad under a 50-year lease with the Northern Territory and South Australia governments.

The transcontinental rail line is designed to reduce freight costs and transit times between Asia, and southern Australian states Adelaide and Darwin.

"This new rail corridor has the potential to change the face of Australian freight movements, both domestic and international," said Brian Nye, chief executive officer of the Australasian Railway Association, which represents rail-industry firms in Australia and New Zealand, in a prepared statement. "With congestion in our cities growing and the freight task set to double, we need as much cooperation as possible from all levels on major transport infrastructure projects."

On Feb. 1, the consortium plans to launch passenger-rail service on the line, moving the first train from Adelaide to Darwin.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/15/2004