Alice to Darwin rail heads north with Australia Southern


The first load of rails to leave OneSteel's Whyalla Steelworks and destined for the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway will be hauled by privately owned South Australian freight operator, Australia Southern Railroad (ASR).

This is a significant milestone for ASR, just four years after it purchased the former operations of Australian National in South Australia. Since then ASR has continued to run the business at a profit, has increased the tonnages hauled by rail and the company is now putting its own money into the Alice Springs to Darwin rail project. The first train carrying 2,000 tonnes of rail will leave the rail yard at Whyalla at 10.00 a.m. on Wednesday 14 November.

It will be hauled by two of ASR's 22 class locomotives, named Alice and Darwin, both completely refurbished at a cost of almost $1 million dollars each. ASR was recently awarded by ADrail, contracts worth over $40 million for the provision of all rail and associated logistics services during the construction phase of the project.

The contracts also include the movements of the rail from OneSteel to the project work sites at Katherine and Tennant Creek. At Roe Creek, just south of Alice Springs, the 27.5 metre length rails will be transferred onto specially designed road trailers provided by Katherine-based road operator, Slingshot Haulage. The rail will then be transported to Katherine and Tennant Creek for welding into longer lengths for use in the project.

Slingshot Haulage has also won a contract from ASR for the road transfer of all the construction-phase rolling stock from Alice Springs to the railheads. This includes 8 huge railway locomotives, 110 ballast wagons and other specialised wagons. Slingshot is just one of several local companies that ASR has formed partnerships with to ensure the success of the logistics and transport task associated with the project.

The EDI Rail workshops at Port Augusta have benefited significantly from new contracts associated with the project. ASR is investing around $7 million in 65 new multi-purpose hopper wagons which will be constructed by EDI Rail. These wagons will be used to transport ballast for the duration of the project, but afterwards will be used as general purpose wagons for grain and limestone by ASR. This investment by ASR comes on top of the financial commitment to the project from the Federal and State Governments and the Consortium partners.

EDI has also won contracts from ASR to refurbish eight main line locomotives and also the wagons that are being used to transport the rail to Alice Springs and from the worksites. Rail leasing company CFCL Australia will lease a further 45 ballast wagons to ASR for the duration of the project.

ASR CEO, Wayne James said today, "ASR is privileged to play a part in this historic project. Today sees the first tangible signs in South Australia that this project is really moving ahead. We look forward to continuing to work with the consortium and with our partners to ensure that the tight construction deadlines are met, both efficiently and cost-effectively."

For further information contact: Colin Turner on 0418 815 618 or Mark Carter on 0408 800 903


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