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Saturday, September 2, 2000
Rail system, ticket budget concerns organizers

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Olympic organizers said they are $60 million short on ticket sales and that Sydney's rail system remains their biggest concern less than two weeks before the start of the games.

 Michael Knight, Olympics minister and organizing committee head, said a surge in ticket sales in recent days had convinced him the target would be met.

 "I'm pretty confident," Knight told the Seven television network's Sunday Sunrise program. "Ticket sales have really ignited since the torch got into New South Wales."

 Knight said there were many alternative forms of transport, including buses and ferries, but the rail system would carry the majority of the 500,000 people expected to visit Olympic Park each day during the Sept. 15 to Oct. 1 games.

 "There's obviously a worry about the rail system," Knight said.

 But he said the government was confident newly appointed rail head Ron Christie would be able to keep the trains moving.

 "But I should tell you, no matter how well the transport system works -- even if there's no derailments, no holdups, every train runs on time -- it will still be a very difficult experience. There will be big queues, there will be crowded trains."
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