Brookfield’s Australian rail arm looks for diversification

The operator of a 5,550km network has been rechristened amid plans to expand into other areas of transport infrastructure.

Australia’s Brookfield Rail has changed its name to Arc Infrastructure as part of ongoing efforts to diversify its business. 

The company, formerly known as WestNet Rail, runs a 5,500km freight rail network in the state of Western Australia. It is the only rail network in the region providing access to the minerals and grain markets through six ports. It was acquired by New York-listed Brookfield Infrastructure Partners as part of its investment and subsequent merger with Prime Infrastructure in late 2009. 

Paul Larsen, chief executive of Arc Infrastructure, said the firm’s new name better reflects what the company wants to be in the long term. The rail arm will remain a Brookfield company.

Since 2000, the company has invested more than A$2 billion ($1.56 billion; €1.36 billion) in the freight rail network and increased the volume of product being transferred in the network by 126 percent. 

Last year, the rail operator also signed a memorandum of understanding with Sirona Capital, a real asset-focused fund manager, to study the viability of an intermodal freight terminal project in the city of Bullsbrook, according to City of Fremantle minutes. 

Sirona Capital has a 200-hectare land holding adjacent to a site earmarked by the state government for a future intermodal terminal and close to the A$1.12 billion NorthLink WA roads, which will be completed by 2019, the document stated. The site is also located next to the Perth-Geraldton rail freight line, part of Arc’s network.