Australian Transport Network

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Australian Transport Network
Industry Rail operator
Fate sold
Successor(s) Pacific National
Founded August 1997
Defunct February 2004
Number of locations New South Wales
Parent Tranz Rail (67%)
Wisconsin Central (33%)
Divisions ATN Access

Australian Transport Network (ATN) was a former freight railway operator in Australia. The company operated narrow gauge trains in Tasmania and standard gauge trains on the Australian mainland. It was formed as a joint venture with American railroad operator Wisconsin Central owning one-third of the shares and New Zealand rail operator Tranz Rail the remaining two-thirds. In February 2004 ATN was purchased by Pacific National.[1][2][3]

AN Tasrail[edit]

In August 1997 ATN was announced as the successful bidder for Australian National's Tasrail operation in Tasmania.[4][5] In April 1998 Tasrail purchased the Emu Bay Railway from Pasminco.[6]

The President of Wisconsin Central, Ed Burkhardt dispatched Mark Rosner to Australia to take control in Tasmania. Amongst Rosner’s achievements was the implementing of a new condensed Operating Rule Book, which eliminated some more complex practices in favour of vastly simplified procedures. Single car roadside freight was resumed where customers required it (discontinued under Australian National) in line with US short Line practice. On sections of the main trunk line north of Hobart “moving block” train spacing (5,000 metres minimum) managed over train radio replaced “fixed block” train order working introduced under Australian National.

ATN inherited a fleet of Alco and English Electric locomotives from Australian National and Walkers diesel-hydraulics from Emu Bay Railway. In line with Wisconsin Central's preference for Electro-Motive Diesel products, 15 DQ class locomotives that had been rebuilt at Hutt Workshops from 1960s built Queensland Rail 1460 and 1502 class locomotives were transferred from Tranz Rail in 1998/99[7][8][9][10] along with DC4588.[11] Two rebuilt Westrail D class locomotives were also forwarded from Tranz Rail in August 2001.[12]

In conjunction with a new train radio system, in June 1998 the entire locomotive fleet was renumbered. At this stage 31 locomotives were operated.[13]

ATN Access[edit]

On the mainland ATN Access was formed to bid for freight work. In 1999 a contract was awarded by the Australian Wheat Board to haul 300,000 tonnes of grain per annum from the New South Wales Riverina and Dimboola, Victoria to Port Kembla and Appleton Dock with operations commencing in June 2000.[14][15]

ATN Access purchased seven L class locomotives from Westrail in July 1999 (251, 253, 254, 265, 270, 271 and 276) with four being overhauled by NREC Alco, Whyalla.[16] In June 2000 three 830 class (833, 838 and 845) locomotives were purchased from Australian Southern Railroad.[17] These were often supplemented by locomotives hired from Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia and Great Northern Rail Services. ATN Access also imported 44 new grain wagons from China. These were constructed at the Qiqihar Railway Workshops in Northern China.[14]


  1. ^ Tasmania Pacific National
  2. ^ Acquirer: Pacific National Pty Ltd Target: Australian Transport Network Ltd Australian Competition & Consumer Commission 30 March 2004
  3. ^ Pacific National buts Tasrail "Rail "26 February 2004
  4. ^ "AN Sale: Private Owners Go From Zero to Three" Railway Digest October 1997 Page 8
  5. ^ "Three groups take on AN remains" Railway Gazette International 1 October 1997
  6. ^ "Tasrail to Take Over Emu Bay Railway" Railway Digest May 1998 Page 16
  7. ^ DQ Class Rail Tasmania
  8. ^ QR Class Rail Tasmania
  9. ^ "Tasrail's new locomotives and wagons arrive" Railway Digest November 1998 Page 18
  10. ^ Oberg, Leon (2007). Locomotives of Australia 1854-2007. Rosenberg Publishing. p. 334. ISBN 1-877058-54-8. 
  11. ^ DC Class Rail Tasmania
  12. ^ Oberg, Leon (2007). Locomotives of Australia 1854-2007. Rosenberg Publishing. p. 366. ISBN 1-877058-54-8. 
  13. ^ "Tasrail Loco Renumbering" Railway Digest October 1998 page 36
  14. ^ a b "ATN Access Start-Up and Chinese Built XGAY Wagons Arrive" Railway Digest July 2000 Page 16
  15. ^ "Intelligence" Railway Gazette International 1 July 2000
  16. ^ Oberg, Leon (2007). Locomotives of Australia 1854-2007. Rosenberg Publishing. p. 347. ISBN 1-877058-54-8. 
  17. ^ Oberg, Leon (2007). Locomotives of Australia 1854-2007. Rosenberg Publishing. p. 310. ISBN 1-877058-54-8.