Great Southern Rail

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Our Company

In late 1997, Great Southern Rail was the successful bidder for the Passenger Rail business of Government owned Australian National, becoming the first transcontinental passenger rail business to be privatised in Australia. Great Southern Rail originally comprised a consortium of Australian and International financiers, transport operators and service providers who contributed solid financial backing. In October 1999, Serco Asia Pacific bought out the other partners with a view to developing its core brands into a strong position for future growth.

These brands are: The Ghan, the Indian Pacific and The Overland.

Serco has a successful history of integrated transport provision worldwide - for example, in the UK Serco has managed to run the London Docklands Light Railway for the last ten years.

Australia's Great Train Journeys are steeped in the history of Australia. The nostalgia and romance of our trains stem from the grand days of rail travel in the early 1920's when steam locomotives hauled the Indian Pacific and The Ghan. These great trains navigated deep into the outback of South Australia and crossed the continent, becoming the primary form of reliable transport and the lifeline to many rural communities. Since their inception, the great trains of Australia have inspired a spirit of romance and adventure that still captures the hearts of Australian and International travellers today.

The culture of long distance rail travel in Australia was built on the idea of travelling from point to point. Great Southern Rail's vision is to build the whole touring experience over and above being simply a rail transport operator. Major initiatives such as the creation of the Great Southern Rail holiday program, the extension of The Ghan journey to Darwin in 2004, the relaunch of the newly refurbished The Overland and the introduction of Platinum Service are evidence of a continuous product improvement strategy and commitment to tourism growth by Great Southern Rail.

Great Southern Rail’s national headquarters and operations are based in Adelaide, South Australia.

Great Southern Rail strives to set new standards with the introduction of our new premier Platinum Service and our hallmark Gold Service in keeping with the nation's rediscovery of the golden days of train travel in Australia. Our aim is to offer unique and memorable outback adventure experiences with all the comfort and service synonymous with two of the world's great train journeys.

The commitment that Great Southern Rail has to the tourism industry and to the provision of a unique Australian experience has seen the business prosper. 

Company Facts


Great Southern Rail operates three trains: the Indian Pacific (Sydney-Adelaide-Perth), The Ghan (Adelaide-Alice Springs-Darwin) and The Overland (Melbourne-Adelaide).

Mission Statement

Great experiences, exceptional service and shared adventures on journeys through a rich diversity of Australian landscapes inspiring a passion for travel by train. 


Great Southern Rail took over the operation of the three trains from Australian National Passenger Rail in November 1997.

The Company

Great Southern Rail is now owned by Serco Asia Pacific, a multi industry sector facilities manager. Within the rail industry, Serco also operates the Docklands light rail in London.

Chief Executive Officer

Chris Tallent