15 January 2004
Now some might consider that an unreasonable delay in the delivery of a political promise? Not Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Nah, he just says that he has "long hoped that it might be possible for the Darwin to Alice Springs railway to come to fruition."
Well it has. Finally.
This morning, ninety-seven years after the Government of South Australia handed over one-sixth of the continent to the Federal Government to create the Northern Territory, conditional upon the construction of this rail link, the first freight service left Adelaide on its 3000 kilometre journey north to Darwin via Alice Springs. This 1.2 kilometre long train will take two days to traverse the continent, and in the process will inaugurate "the longest north-south railway journey that can be taken anywhere on the planet", to quote one of the train's first drivers, Barry Walding.
I've been enjoying some of the commentary surrounding the launch of the new rail link:
Only in Australia!
I'll leave you with Barry Walding, talking about his job, "It's every boy's dream."
Image and quotes from the ABC news and AM websites.