Construction Facts & Statistics

The first sod of the original ‘North-South’ railway was dug in Port Augusta in 1878, with a new less flood-prone 824 kilometre standard gauge route opening between Tarcoola and Alice Springs in 1980.

The first sod of the new $1.3 billion line was turned by Prime Minister John Howard in Alice Springs on 17 July 2001, accompanied by the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Denis Burke and Premier of South Australia John Olsen.

The three Governments contributed $550 million and the private sector $800 million towards this $1.3 billion build, own, operate and transfer back (BOOT) project.

By the time the new railway opened for business in January 2004, it had notched up some impressive statistics: