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No Place Like Alice

By Pacific National

Hidden away in the heart of Alice Springs railyard, the small Pacific National site seems pretty unassuming. But this little site, and its team of committed staff members, are doing truly remarkable things.

While staring at the MacDonnell Ranges surrounding the town, Mick Pascoe, the Operations Manager, seems more in awe of the team than he does the priceless view.

There’s nothing like it…they’re a great group of guys, very strong and self-reliant.

Alice Springs Panorama

With just 11 members, and the nearest manager 1,500km away, the site has become a very close and independent group. The isolation of the team has meant the supervisor’s role needed to be divided between themselves, with each team member taking control of a particular job as well as their day-to-day duties.

Responsible for looking after the Ghan as it goes through Alice Springs, they are heavily relied upon by PN and our customers.

Ghan at Alice Springs

Safety is, of course, a priority for the team. Their self-reliance has meant that everyone monitors and is very protective of their team mates – and it shows, they’ve had no major incidents in years.

This extraordinary teamwork has been rewarded recently with 4 Thank You Initiative awards. After detecting smoke 22 carriages behind him, Mick Kavanagh and his crew, Nathaniel Cole, Malcom Bond and Klinten Petty, prevented a serious accident. They did so with such high regard for the safety of the crew and passengers and so quickly, that no incident occurred and delay for the train was minimal. Great Southern Rail, the owners of the Ghan, were thrilled with the end result and contacted PN to thank the team personally.

The Ghan - platform view

But it’s not all work and no play – after shifts and on shared days off, they get together for family days and social events for a well-deserved break.

The stunning views do not compare to the work this team is doing; there really is no place like Alice!

Photo of Paul Manuel, Mick Kavanagh, Nathaniel Cole, Klinten Petty and David Holman

Left to right: Paul Manuel, Mick Kavanagh, Nathaniel Cole, Klinten Petty and David Holman


Featured image “NR45 + NR10 + Ghan Alice Springs, 2015 (02)” By Bahnfrend (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.