Vision unveiled for Alice Springs railway redevelopment
'Idiotic' Katherine rail crash could cost $300,000
NT: Old Ghan takes to tracks
'Young idiot' writes off 4WD after becoming stuck on Adelaide to Darwin rail track
A 300M section of the Katherine-Darwin rail line has been washed away because of rain
Rail overpass naming honours Alice pioneer
Train derailment clean-up work nears completion
NT: Railway boost with mine deal
Northern Territory Government to spend $1m exploring feasibility of Tennant Creek to Mt Isa rail project
Rail owner rejects Alice safety concerns
The company that operates the Adelaide-Darwin railway says governments have never been exposed to risk.
Despite growth in freight volumes, FreightLink has not made a profit since a line extension agreement from Alice Springs to Darwin was signed in 2001.
The company's board voted this week to put the rail venture up for sale.
The Federal, Northern Territory and South Australian Governments contributed about one third of the construction costs for the rail corridor.
The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) says the Governments showed poor judgment, making a bad investment.
But FreightLink chief executive John Fullerton says the private sector has shouldered all the risk of the operation.
"All the risk in terms of the business resided with the private sector. There's never been any need for any government subsidy from day one of operation," he said.
"All our costs are covered by the revenue that we generate from the business and, as I said, our operational earnings before interest, tax and depreciation have been growing each year at about 65 per cent."
Mr Fullerton has also rejected the IPA's suggestion that freight services will be reduced when the line is sold.
"We plan to add and additional service between Adelaide and Darwin because the five services that we currently operate are full. And putting more services on improves our profitability at an operating level and improves our cash flow, so to suggest there needs to be a reduction in services ... I just don't quite understand the commercial rationale."
Wed May 21, 2008
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