Commonwealth Railways

The Commonwealth Railways was a railway company, which was owned by the Commonwealth of Australia.


In 1901, the six hitherto autonomous Australian colonies joined together to form the state of Australia. Condition for accession to the relatively isolated lying state of Western Australia was the promise that the government would build a railway, the associations, the municipal center of the colony to its capital Perth situated in the south and east of the continent other population centers of the new state.

In 1911 the Law on the construction of the Trans Australian Railway and was adopted - to implement it can - founded in 1912 for the construction and subsequent operation of the Commonwealth Railways.


The Transaustralische Railway between Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie went into operation in 1917. It was built to standard gauge and was thus between the railway from Western Australia and the Great Northern Railway, both at that time in Cape gauge, a stand-alone operation. Therefore, the line was extended in 1937 to Port Pirie where direct connection was to the 1600 mm network of the South Australian Railways and thus accounted for a transit station or recharging process.

The initial stocks of the Commonwealth Railways included the previously mentioned Great Northern Railway Cape gauge railway between Port Augusta and (then) Oodnadatta, the railway infrastructure was taken over by the railways of South Australia. It was in central Australian Railways ( Central Australia Railway - CAR) renamed but still operated until 1926 by train from South Australia. The Commonwealth Railways, it extended from 1929 to Alice Springs.

Opened in 1914, the Commonwealth Railways, the Australian Capital Territory Railway, a 8 km long railway line, in the same track width joined the Australian federal capital of Canberra, is a federal territory on the standard gauge network of the neighboring railway in New South Wales. Only the railway infrastructure owned by the Commonwealth Railways, the driving operation was always performed by the Railroad of New South Wales.

1918 took over the Commonwealth Railways Nordaustralische the railroad from the administration of the Northern Territory, which is also subordinate to the federal government. The railway was extended to 1929 by Birdum.

In 1957, the section of the Great Northern Railway between Port Augusta and Marree was replaced by a new building standard gauge track. This was due to the significant coal shipments from Leight Creek and the topographically unfavorable for leadership of the historic range.

In 1968 the track of the Trans- Australian Railway between Kalgoorlie and Perth was provided with a third rail for standard gauge.

In 1970 the standard gauge track between Port Pirie and Broken Hill was put into operation. In order for the transcontinental connection was Perth - Sydney first continuous section, the Indian Pacific took a " showpiece " " the Commonwealth Railways on its operation.

In 1975, the Commonwealth Railways was transferred to the newly established Australian National.


The Commonwealth Railways were an integrated railway infrastructure and railway transport companies. Belonged to her most famous Offered

  • Tea and Sugar, since 1913 ( supply train for the staff and residents along the Trans- Australian Railway )
  • Trans - Australian, since 1917 ( set 1991)
  • The Ghan, taken over in 1926 by the South Australian Railways
  • Indian Pacific, since 1970

In addition, other compounds and especially freight were operated.