Pacific National

Pacific National (PN) is an Australian rail freight company which transports bulk commodities and containerised freight across the length and breadth of Australia, including coal, steel, agricultural products, construction materials, fuel, waste, chemicals and refrigerated produce.

Pacific National Pty Ltd
IndustryRail freight
Sydney, Australia
Area served
Mainland Australia
Key people
Dean Dalla Valle (CEO)
ServicesRail haulage services
Total assets570 active locomotives
OwnerGlobal Infrastructure Partners, CPP Investment Board, China Investment Corporation, GIC Private Limited and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation
Number of employees
approx. 3,000
DivisionsGeneral cargo, import and export, refrigerated goods, waste, steel, soft and hard commodities including grain, coal and minerals

It is also Australia’s leading intermodal freight and steel freight operator, eastern Australia’s top carrier of regional exports, bulk goods, grain, and agricultural products, the largest transporter of coal in NSW, and the second-largest transporter of coal in Queensland.

Pacific National employs over 3,000 people in 90 locations across Australia, mainly in regional and rural areas.

In May 2017, Dean Dalla Valle was appointed CEO of Pacific National, following a distinguished 40-year career with the world’s largest resources company, BHP.

Pacific National is a member of the Freight on Rail Group (FORG) of Australia, which is represented by seven of Australia’s major rail freight operating companies and network rail organisations to engage with Government and key stakeholders on major public policy issues.


Pacific National’s heritage dates to the origins of rail in Australia when the NSW Government Railways (NSWGR) commenced operations in 1855.

In 1912, Commonwealth Railways formed to build out the national rail network of Australia and in 1975 Australian National Railways (ANR) formed to take over the assets and operations of Commonwealth Railways.

In February 2002 National Rail's freight operations and rollingstock (owned by the Federal, New South Wales and Victorian Governments) were combined with FreightCorp (owned by the New South Wales Government)[1] and sold to a joint venture between Patrick Corporation and Toll Holdings as Pacific National.[2]

In February 2004 Pacific National purchased Australian Transport Network, operator of ATN Access and AN Tasrail.[3][4] In August 2004 Pacific National purchased Freight Australia, giving Pacific National control of the Victorian non-urban rail track, excluding the interstate network which is controlled by the Australian Rail Track Corporation.[5] As part of the sale conditions the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission attached special conditions to the sale to ensure competition in the rail freight industry.[6] The company was required to provide a 'starter pack' of locomotives, wagons, train paths, and freight terminals for a third party rail operator on the east-west route across the Nullarbor Plain. To fulfill this Pacific National sold nine refurbished G class locomotives to competitor SCT Logistics to allow it to operate its own services[7]

In March 2005 Pacific National Queensland became the first non-Queensland Rail narrow gauge commercial rail operation in Queensland, with the commencement of container services between Brisbane and Cairns.[8][9]

In November 2006 Pacific National entered into an agreement to sell the remainder of its Victorian rail lease of the network back to the Victorian Government.[10] The sale was completed in May 2007, with the government owned V/Line taking over management of the track.[11]

In 2005 Toll Holdings launched a hostile takeover bid for its joint venture partner Patrick Corporation which was successful giving Toll Holdings 100% ownership of Pacific National.[12] In 2007 Toll Holdings was restructured into two separately ASX listed companies: Toll Holdings and Asciano Limited. As part of this restructure, Pacific National became a wholly owned subsidiary of Asciano Limited.[13]

In 2009 Pacific National Queensland further expanded their narrow gauge operations, entering the export coal market dominated by incumbent Queensland Rail.[14]

In 2016, Asciano agreed to sell Pacific National to Australian Logistics Acquisition Investments Pty Limited, a consortium of Global Infrastructure Partners, CPP Investment Board, China Investment Corporation, GIC Private Limited and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation.[15] The transfer was completed on 19 August 2016.[16]

In 2017, Pacific National announced an initial $35 million investment to develop the company’s Parkes Logistics Terminal, located within the National Logistics Hub.

Once fully operational, Pacific National’s Parkes Logistics Terminal will have the capacity to process approximately 450,000 cargo containers each year, including the ability to haul double-stacked containers from Parkes to Perth.

Parkes is located at the intersection of the main western railway line running from Sydney to Perth, the future Inland Rail corridor from Melbourne to Brisbane, and the Newell Highway.

Construction of Pacific National’s terminal commenced in October 2018. Freight trains 1,800-metres in length are expected to be hauling from the terminal to Perth in late 2019.


Pacific National services all mainland state and territories, and offer Australian industry and businesses a cost-effective, seamless and secure method of moving goods from point A to point B, maximizing efficiency, meeting environmental targets, and minimising delays and damage.

It offers Australia’s largest network of interstate rail freight capabilities, 180 services a week, and a variety of service options including Superfreighter, Express, IMEX and Sprinter. In 2018, on a weekly basis Pacific National hauled over 17,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit containers (TEU) and 2.97 million tonnes of coal. Its fleet of 570 active locomotives services the needs of over 340 customers.

Current locomotive fleet

Class Image Type Gauge Top speed
Built Number Notes
Rural and Bulk Division
48 Diesel-electric Standard 115 1959-1970 48 Ex FreightCorp. 15 stored.
80 Diesel-electric Standard 115 1979-1983 20 Ex FreightCorp. 12 stored.
81 Diesel-electric Standard 115 1982-1991 83 Ex FreightCorp
830 Diesel-electric 115 1960-1963 3 Ex Australian Transport Network. All stored.
A Diesel-electric Broad 115 1984 7 Ex Freight Australia. 6 Scrapped (71, 73, 77, 79, 81 and 85) and 1 (78) Stored as of 28/1/2019.
G Diesel-electric Broad, Standard 115 1985-1989 20 Ex National Rail Corporation and Freight Australia. 9 sold to SCT Logistics in 2007.
H Diesel-electric Broad 100 1968 2 Ex Freight Australia. 1 stored. 3 sold to Ettamogah Rail Hub in 2015.
L Diesel-electric Standard 115 1967-1969 3 Ex Australian Transport Network. All stored.
P Diesel-electric Broad 100 1985 5 Ex Freight Australia. All stored.
LDP Diesel-electric Standard 115 2009 7 Present.
S Diesel-electric Broad, Standard 115 1957 3 Ex Freight Australia. All stored.
T Diesel-electric Broad, Standard 100 1964-1968 5
X Diesel-electric Broad, Standard 115 1966-1976 21 Ex Freight Australia. 4 stored.
XR Diesel-electric Broad, Standard 115 2002-2006 9 6 ex Freight Australia, 3 built in-house.
Y Diesel-electric Broad, Standard 65 1963-1968 11 Ex Freight Australia. 1 stored.
RT Diesel mechanical Broad, Standard 15 1957-1969 22 Ex Freight Australia. 4 stored.
Intermodal Division
93 Diesel-electric Standard 115 2012-2013 2019-2020 28 These were replaced on 1 Dec 2019
AN Diesel-electric Standard 115 1992-1993 10 Ex National Rail Corporation.
BL Diesel-electric Standard, Broad 115 1983-1984 10 Ex National Rail Corporation.
DL Diesel-electric Standard 115 1988-1990 14 Ex National Rail Corporation. 3 stored.
NR Diesel-electric Standard 115 1996-1999 119 Ex National Rail Corporation.
XRB Diesel-electric Standard 115 2005-2006 3 Built in-house.
Coal Division
82 Diesel-electric Standard 115 1994-1995 55 Ex FreightCorp.
90 Diesel-electric Standard 80 1994-2005 35 Ex FreightCorp.
92 Diesel-electric Standard 115 2008-2009 15 Ex FreightCorp.
D16 Diesel-electric Standard 35 1959-1964 5 Ex BlueScope. 3 stored.
D35 Diesel-electric Standard 50 1975 1 Ex BlueScope.
PB hybrid]] Standard 80 2014- 1 In service
TT Diesel-electric Standard 115 2009-2012 37
V Diesel-electric Standard 115 2002 1 Ex Freight Australia.
Pacific National Queensland
71 Electric Narrow 80 2009-2011 32
83 Diesel-electric Narrow 100 2008-2013 46
88 Diesel-electric Narrow 100 2014 5
PN Diesel-electric Narrow 100 2005 13
PH37ACmai Diesel-electric Narrow 100 3 on order[17]

In addition, Pacific National leases locomotives from CFCL Australia and operates three WH class locomotives on behalf of Whitehaven Coal.

Former fleet

Class Image Type Gauge Top speed
Built Number Notes
45 Diesel-electric Standard 115 1962 2 Ex Patrick Corporation. Both scrapped.
MKA Diesel-electric Narrow 80 1967-1972 3 Purchased from Malaysia. Used in Queensland 2004-2006. Transferred to Pacific National Tasmania. Sold to TasRail.

All Pacific National Tasmania locomotives were sold to TasRail in 2009.


  1. "FreightCorp for sale with National Rail" Railway Digest October 2000 page 17
  2. Freightcorp and National Rail Corporation sold to National Rail Consortium for one billion dollars ABC News 31 January 2002
  3. Acquirer: Pacific National Pty Ltd; Target: Australian Transport Network Ltd Archived 31 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Australian Competition & Consumer Competition 30 March 2004
  4. Re: Pacific National - Australian Transport Network Ltd Toll Group 26 February 2004
  5. Victorian Government grants consent to Pacific National acquisition of Freight Australia Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Toll Group 16 August 2004
  6. Sydney Morning Herald: 'ACCC won't oppose Freight Australia takeover' - 2 July 2004
  7. "Toll boss bows to ACCC pressure" Courier Mail 13 December 2005
  8. "Pacific National Queensland". Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  9. Jenny Woodward (11 March 2005). "Making Tracks". Stateline Queensland. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  10. Pacific National sells Victorian rail network to Government Toll Group 1 November 2006
  11. Minister for Public Transport: "Rail Buy Back Deal Complete" 7 May 2007 Archived 7 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Game over: Toll takes Patrick Sydney Morning Herald 14 April 2006
  13. "Toll Holdings Restructure". Toll Holdings. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2007.
  14. Jennifer Perry (20 May 2009). "PN commences QLD coal haulage operations". Rail Express. Archived from the original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  15. "Pacific National sold to international pension funds". International Railway Journal. 15 March 2016.
  16. "Asciano completes Pacific National ownership deal". International Railway Journal. 23 August 2016.
  17. "UGL secures first Australian PowerHaul order". International Rail Journal. 4 July 2016.


  • Avery, Rod (2006). Freight Across the Nation: The Australian Superfreighter Experience. Brisbane: Copyright Publishing Co. ISBN 1876344474.
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