Australian National Railways Commission

Australian National was the - also officially used - shorthand for the Australian National Railways Commission ( ANRC ), which operated initially as Australian National Railways (ANR ).


Australian National was a national railway, which belonged to the Australian Federation. It was set up by the government under Gough Whitlam at 1 July 1975. The aim was that the Australian state should take over the tracks of the individual Australian states and unify the railway system. The background was that - for historical reasons - previously separately managed colonies ( and later states ) in Australia each built its own rail system, without regard to technical compatibility with the neighbors. Thus, there are today in Australia three different main gauges.

The Australian National first took over the Commonwealth Railways, the former Federal Railway. The proposed bid for their own paths voted the states of South Australia and Tasmania immediately. The governments of both countries belonged to the same political party as the federal government and both the South Australian Railways and the Railway in Tasmania were highly indebted. The Tasmanian Government Railways went completely over to the AN, in South Australia the suburban Adelaide remained excluded. The handover occurred on 1 March 1978.

The government was expected to reach within 10 years, that at least created any new deficits. Until then, all paths were - operated grants the states - sometimes considerable. To achieve this, the following business principles were applied:

  • Concentration on mass and freight traffic between the main freight centers
  • Set of traffic when demand was low
  • Streamline transport, which had no sufficient demand
  • Rationalization in all areas, especially in the maintenance of the superstructure
  • Obtaining of larger locomotives and cars, trains order to achieve maximum
  • Staff reductions and more effective use of the remaining staff


The set goal to reach within 10 years, that at least created any new deficits, could not be achieved, so that there were signs of disintegration after about 15 years:

  • First, the freight and the freight wagon 1992, the National Rail Corporation (NR) were transferred. This was in 2001 with the freight of the State Rail Authority of New South Wales, the State Railway of New South Wales, merged and sold to a consortium of Toll Holdings and Patrick Corporation and then drove as Pacific National.
  • The railway infrastructure of AN in 1998 to the Australian Rail Track Corporation, which was owned by the federal government was also transferred.
  • The existing southern branch of the Central Australian railway between Tarcoola and Alice Springs in 2000 was transferred to the ADRail consortium in anticipation of the continuing construction of the route to Darwin.
  • The railway in Tasmania has sold a total of Australian Transport Network Limited, which in turn were taken over by Pacific National in 2004.
  • The Railway in South Australia were sold to the Australian Southern Railroad, acquired the local passenger traffic of the Great Southern Railway.