Argentina: A consortium of Unión Ferroviaria and Cooperativa Industrial de Laguna Paiva finally took control of freight operations on the Belgrano Railway on November 16. Under a 30-year concession, the government assumed 15m pesos of debt and undertook to provide 45m pesos a year until 2004, when the new operators are to start a 140m pesos investment programme.

Australia: BHP has awarded Australia Southern Railroad a five-year contract to operate its iron ore lines from Iron Duke and Iron Knob to Whyalla steelworks, and to undertake shunting at Whyalla. Locomotive maintenance will be subcontracted to Clyde Engineering, with Transfield responsible for infrastructure maintenance.

National Rail’s internet-based Freight Control System was commissioned on November 20, enabling customers to order wagons or containers and locate their consignments using FreightWeb