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January 15, 2004
South Australia would enter a new era in trade and tourism today with the departure of the first freight train from Adelaide to Darwin, federal Finance and Administration Minister Nick Minchin said.
"The creation of the new trade route to Asia, which was conceived more than a century ago, will provide a fast, efficient and cheap transport system linking Australia with Asia," Senator Minchin said in a statement.
"South Australia will be a major beneficiary of this nation building project.
"The completion of this project will continue to boost regional development in the state and provide additional support for our growing agribusiness developments in food and wine exports, as well as promoting mineral exploration along the rail corridor."
Tourism in SA would also benefit from the railway when the first passenger train left Adelaide for Darwin on February 1, Senator Minchin said.
Already, more than $10 million in tickets had been booked on The Ghan, he said.
Today's freight train will haul 4000 tonnes of freight, with the line expected to carry 350,000 tonnes of freight a year, increasing to 800,000 tonnes annually by 2010.
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