Great Southern Rail (Australia)

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IndustryRailway operator
Founded1 November 1997
Key people
Chris Tallent, CEO (January 2012 - )
ParentExperience Australia Group (Quadrant Private Equity)

Great Southern Rail (GSR) is an Australian interstate passenger train operator. Formed on 1 November 1997, it is a subsidiary of Experience Australia Group, owned by Quadrant Private Equity.


As part of the privatisation of Australian National, on 1 November 1997, The Ghan, Indian Pacific and The Overland were sold to Great Southern Rail, a consortium of GB Railways, Legal & General, Macquarie Bank, RailAmerica, G13 Pty Ltd[1] and Serco.[2] Included were 186 items of rolling stock, primarily stainless steel carriages and the Adelaide and Alice Springs stations.[3] In October 1999, Serco bought all the shares from its consortium partners.[4][5]

While the former two services are profitable, the operation of The Overland is subsidised by the Victorian and South Australian governments.[6]

GSR reduced costs by renegotiating staff pay and conditions, and increased revenues by extending the Ghan, which originally ran from Adelaide to Alice Springs, so that it ran once each week from Sydney and once each week from Melbourne. With completion of the railway from Alice Springs to Darwin, the Ghan now runs from Adelaide to Darwin. While GSR owns the passenger car fleet, Pacific National provides motive power for the services.

The Southern Spirit was a luxury cruising train service, launched by Great Southern Rail on 17 June 2008, with the inaugural service running on 25 November 2008.[7] It last ran in February 2012.

In November 2014, Serco announced its intention to sell the business.[8] In March 2015, it was sold to Allegro Funds[9][10] and a year later sold to Quadrant Private Equity.[11]


  1. ^ G13 Pty Ltd
  2. ^ Great Southern Railway Consortium completes acquisition of Australian National Railways Passenger Business Archived 10 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine Serco 31 October 1997
  3. ^ "Goodbye AN Passenger, Hello Great Southern Railway" Railway Digest December 1997 page 7
  4. ^ About Us Great Southern Rail
  5. ^ "Serco Takes Full Control of GSR" Railway Digest January 2000 page 7
  6. ^ "Letter from John McMillan, Director of Public Transport, Victoria, to Margaret Arblaster, ACCC" (PDF). 2001. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Great Southern Rail launches new luxury rail cruise The Southern Spirit". 17 June 2008. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  8. ^ Update on Serco's Strategy Review Serco 10 November 2014
  9. ^ "Allegro Funds buys Great Southern Rail from Serco". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 March 2015.
  10. ^ Great Southern Rail to be bought by Allegro in high-end tourism push ABC News 30 March 2015
  11. ^ "Control of the Indian Pacific, Ghan changes one more time in private equity reshuffle". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2018.