Abbreviations and Glossary of Terms - GComrails Logo

Abbreviations and Glossary of Terms


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Ghan, The
Ghan at Alice Springs, circa 1930The Ghan train commenced operation for the Commonwealth Railwayswhen they took over the narrow gauge Central Australia Railway from the South Australian Railways in 1926. It ran between Port Augusta and Oodnadatta initially, being extended to Alice Springs in 1929.

The Ghan outside Heavitree Gap, circa 1930

When the new standard gauge Marree line opened in 1957 the journey was broken into two. A standard gauge run from Port Pirie to Marree, with the rest of the journey remaining on narrow gauge.

Following completion of the standard gauge Tarcoola to Alice Springs line in 1980, the train was rerouted becoming an all standard gauge journey from Port Pirie using only modern rollingstock in the regular consists. This modern train was initially called the New Ghan on all marketing material, but eventually the New was dropped. In the late 1980s as part of a major refurbishment of the rollingstock the train was re-marketted as The Legendary Ghan. The narrow gauge Ghan at Alice Springs, circa 1960s

The last narrow gauge north bound Ghan left Marree on 24th November 1980, returning south on 26th November 1980.

Ghan Preservation Society, MacDonnell Siding, Alice Springs
28.8.1976 - Alice Springs - general view of brake vans and wagons in yard The Ghan Preservation Society of based at MacDonnell Siding, just outside Alice Springs. They are in possession of the line from MacDonnell Siding to Ewaninga Siding, 23km south of Alice Springs. They operate some original 1960s Ghan rollingstock and have several NSU class diesels.
See Great Southern Railway.
Great Southern Railway (G.S.R.)
21.03.2004,Keswick - Ghan Logo boardThe passenger business of Australian National was sold to the Great Southern consortium on 28th August 1997. They took over operation from 1st November 1997. A large number of the remaining passenger vehicles were sold as part of the passenger business. They later shortened their name to great Southern Rail.

On their website in 2006 Great Southern Railway described their history as follows:

In late 1997, Great Southern Railway was the successful bidder for the Passenger Rail business of Australian National. This made Great Southern Railway the first government owned transcontinental passenger business to be privatised in Australia. Great Southern Railway originally consisted of a consortium of Australian and International financiers, operators and service providers. These partners all contributed solid financial backing. In October 1999, Serco Asia Pacific bought out the other partners, placing the company in a strong position for future growth.

In March 2015 Serco sold GSR to private equity firm Allegro Funds.

In June 2019 the "Great Southern Rail" brand was replaced with individual journey brands of "The Ghan", "Indian Pacific", "The Overland" and "Great Southern", with the business name being changed to "Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions"

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