Rail Operator

The business case for the AustralAsia Railway Project was based on providing a competitive freight service that would deliver benefits to all Australians and ensure the ongoing viability of the line.

The initial business case was built on general cargo and containerised freight.  However the new freight route and link to East Arm Port led to a mining boom along the corridor, with the freight task heavily influenced by mines such as Bootu Creek (manganese), Territory Resources (iron ore) and Oz Minerals’ South Australian Prominent Hill Mine (gold and copper).


Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) is a public company (New York Stock Exchange: NYSE ticker: GWR) with a current market value of approximately USD5.7 Billion (AUD6.0 Billion) and annual revenues of almost USD1.6 Billion.

Through its subsidiaries, GWI operates 120 railroads operating over 25,500 kilometres of track and provides industrial shunting services and serves 37 ports in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium. Post the acquisition of RailAmerica, GWI is the largest short-line and regional rail operator in the United States.


Genesee & Wyoming’s Australian operations (GWA) commenced in 1997 with the acquisition of the former Australian National Railroad lines and freight operations in South Australia. In 2010 GWA purchased the FreightLink business and took ownership of the Tarcoola to Darwin railway concession. Today GWA has over 35 train starts per day with operations spread over 3,500 kilometres of track. In 2013, GWA hauled approximately 19 million tonnes of freight consisting of a variety of ores, grains, fuel and general consumer goods. GWA is an accredited above rail operator in all mainland Australian states and territories apart from the ACT.


GWA has extensive experience in the operation of intermodal train services on the Adelaide to Darwin rail corridor since the completion of the Alice Springs to Darwin railway in 2004. In the initial stages GWA only operated the train services under a hook and pull contract with Freightlink, however following the acquisition of the FreightLink business in 2010 GWA assumed the full responsibilities for the intermodal business between Adelaide and Darwin. This entailed the operation of intermodal terminals at Darwin and Alice Springs as well as the management of contractors providing terminal services at Katherine, Tennant Creek and Adelaide. GWA has grown this business since the acquisition in 2010 by investing more than A$50 million in equipment and operations to improve the reliability of the service. The improvement in reliability has been achieved by;

Freight Services

Genesee and Wyoming Australia (GWA) runs six intermodal freight services a week between Adelaide and Darwin and hauls bulk fuel and bulk minerals from mines along the railway to East Arm Port to link with shipping routes to Asia.

Intermodal Products

Bulk Minerals

GWA is the largest provider of rail haulage services to bulk minerals customers in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

GWA’s key bulk mineral customers on the Australasian Railway as at June 2015 include:


Passenger Services

Great Southern Railways, operator of the legendary Ghan passenger service, ran its first service on the AustralAsia Railway in February 2004 after arranging access with operator FreightLink.

The Darwin Passenger Terminal is next to the Darwin Business Park, in the East Arm Development Area off Berrimah Road. The Berrimah terminal, adorned with spectacular Larrakia artwork, was designed as a temporary facility to support the start-up phase of a rail passenger service.

The Journey

Route: Adelaide – Alice Springs – Darwin
Duration: 2 nights in either direction
Distance: 2979 kilometres
Frequency: Twice weekly Adelaide – Alice Springs – Darwin.

For more information on the Ghan or to make online bookings visit www.gsr.com.au