Rails to the Top End by Robin Bromby
Few ever thought it would happen – that is, trains, running all the way from Adelaide and into Darwin. But, one hundred and twenty-six years after work began, and 93 years after the Commonwealth Government promised to complete the partially finished route to the Top End, this mighty new transcontinental railway stands complete.
It has been a brave call to sink so much money into a new railway which runs through long stretches of empty or sparsely populated country, and to do so in an era when rail has to compete with huge road trains and air freight. Remember that the other trancontinental line – between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie – was completed in 1917 when rail had no viable land transport competitor. And, moreover, it was linking economically developed states on either side of the continent.
While the concept of a line linking Darwin with the rest of Australia has from the start been plagued by those who doubt it could ever be made viable, the completion of the Adelaide-Darwin line is a testaement to the sort of vision that built Australia. It is also a welcome sign for all those who seen much of Australia’s rail infrasturcture being allowed to deteriorate over recent decades. The line is not only a vote of confidence in the Northern Territory, but also of railways in the 21st century.
Publisher: Outback Books, Paul Fitzsimons
Published: 4th edition, 2004
Category: Trains and Railways, Australian History