The Inland Rail project is a new freight rail network between Melbourne and Brisbane, via regional New South Wales and Queensland. This connection will ultimately become the ‘backbone’ of the national freight network, improving efficiency, safety and reliability by delivering road competitive freight services to meet the nations increasing freight challenges.
The Inland Rail network aims to meet national transport needs, by providing a 20.5 hour transit time between Melbourne and Brisbane with 24/7 operation. The proposed network will meet this challenge by increasing efficiency through double stacking, allowing a 7.2 metre clearance along the entire length of the rail corridor, accommodating for heavier axle loads, and the introduction of advanced train management systems making for a safer, more reliable and more efficient service.
The proposed route bypasses the Sydney rail network, reducing delays and transit time. The network will be much straighter than the existing route via Sydney, allowing trains to maintain higher average speeds of 115km/h, whilst also using less fuel. The proposal ensures 98% reliability in the delivery of freight, and boasts availability in line with market needs.
An Inland Rail freight network has long been considered a critical piece of infrastructure Australia needs in order to meet the increasing freight challenges, particularly along the north-south corridor. The proposal of this freight network is fundamentally based upon improved efficiency, availability and reliability of the movement of freight around our nation and will provide important development opportunities for regional Australia. The movement of freight along this network will be competitively priced with road freight.
The Inland Rail network boasts the ability to meet the growing desire for flexible services, having the capacity to accommodate faster, lighter services and slower, heavier services, whilst still preserving the 24 hour transit time. The flexibility of services offered by the Inland Rail will be complemented by the connectivity of this network, providing connections to all existing rail networks in Victoria, New South Wales and QLD, with dual gauging in QLD. The network will deliver a single standard gauge connection across five states to Australia’s busiest ports.
The new rail corridor will span from Melbourne to Brisbane, circumventing the congested Sydney rail network and passing through regional New South Wales and Queensland. It will link capitals along the east coast, regional NSW and South East Queensland to key regional and metropolitan ports. The creation of new networks will ultimately open up businesses to new and existing domestic and export markets.
A key element of this project is the importance of connecting the Port of Melbourne and Port of Brisbane, as well as linking with the mines of South East Queensland, in order to enhance the quality, efficiency and reliability of freight movement between these key terminals.
The proposed network will utilise much of the existing interstate rail networks throughout Victoria and Southern NSW, upgrading approximately 400km of tracks, as well as creating approximately 600km of new networks throughout Northern NSW and South-East Queensland.
The Federal Government have committed $300 million to the development of the Inland Rail project and have appointed the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to develop the delivery program and start early works.
The Government and ARTC have consulted customers, rail users and key stakeholders regarding the development and implementation of this project and will continue to do so throughout the planning and construction stages as it develops its strategy. The Inland Rail Alignment Study in 2010 and Stakeholder Reference Group Forums in May and October 2014 were established in order to consult those with a vested interest in this project. These results of these forums further accentuated the need for flexibility, interoperability and clearly stated the target for reliability.
The proposed commencement of construction of this new rail network is late 2015, with construction time estimated around 10 years.
- Letter from the Inland Rail Implementation Group Chair, the Hon John Anderson AO – 11 September 2015
- Inland Rail Implementation Group report – August 2015
- 98% reliability
- Less than 24 hour transit time
- Efficiency – double stacks, heavier axle loads
- 24/7 operation service
- Freight available when the market wants
- Competitive pricing
- Increased flexibility for customers