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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 10:10 GMT
Australia's outback train derails
The Ghan at Adelaide station
The Ghan's route was extended to Darwin in 2004
Australia's famous outback train the Ghan has derailed, causing "bumps and bruises" to its 82 passengers and crew.

The Ghan collided with a vehicle as it neared the end of its two-day journey between Adelaide and Darwin.

Train operator Great Southern Railways said it was investigating what caused the crash.

The Ghan, named after Afghan camel drivers who traditionally ran the route after European colonisation, does the 3,000km (1,850-mile) trip twice a week.

The collision happened at a level crossing at Ban Ban Springs, 130km south of Darwin, on Tuesday afternoon, derailing 11 carriages.

Two people were airlifted to hospital but neither was reported to have suffered serious injuries.

A Northern Territory police spokeswoman said all of the 65 passengers and 17 crew escaped with minor injuries.

New track cost A$1.3bn ($1bn)
Construction took 30 months
Railway now runs for 3,000 kilometres (1,860 miles)
First freight train 1.8 km long

"There are no major injuries, just bumps and bruises," she said.

Great Southern Railways spokesman Alan Stuart said it was too early to say what happened.

"We don't know why it came off the tracks. It's too early to tell," he said.

"We are still in the process of obtaining that information as we speak and at this stage we are investigating."

The operator says Wednesday's service between Darwin and Alice Springs has been cancelled, but does not expect any other service to be affected at this stage.

The Ghan has been travelling between Adelaide and Alice Springs since 1929, but an extension to Darwin was unveiled with great fanfare in 2004.

It realised Australia's long-held dream to link the north and south of the continent, passing through the outback's most forbidding terrain.

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