The North Australia Railway extended from Darwin to Birdum. It was built as a narrow gauge railway. Originally it had been built as the Palmerston division of the South Australian Railways, but was transferred to Commonwealth Government control in 1991. It extended to Emungalan on the Katherine River in May 1917 and eventually to Birdum whilst Commonwealth Railway control.
Initially, after handover to the Commonwealth Government on 1 January 1911, the line was run by the Northern Territory Administrator until 30 June 1918 when it was handed to the Commonwealth Railways. Records of the period suggest that the Commonwealth Railways had a big influence on the line prior to the official transfer of control as they provided the Administrator with assitance in the purchase of rollingstock and other items. The last train ran on this line on 30 June 1976.