Understanding Inland Rail

Inland Rail is a 1,700km freight rail line directly connecting Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. It will provide cost-competitive and reliable freight transport with a transit time of under 24 hours.

Inland Rail is a key initiative of the Australian Government’s $110 billion infrastructure pipeline that includes major road and rail upgrades that will better connect regional communities to domestic and international markets.

There are many reasons to build Inland Rail including the benefits it provides through; economic stimulus, jobs support, reduced emissions and road safety outcomes. Read more on the timeline about how the alignment was identified and why Inland Rail is a critical investment in Australia’s freight future.

Funded by the Australian Government, the project is being delivered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), in partnership with the private sector.

It will build on existing regional and rural rail connections that provide access to the ports of Melbourne, Port Kembla, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth via Parkes.

Strong regional and national benefits

When completed, Inland Rail will provide a strategic infrastructure corridor for eastern Australia, creating the opportunity to optimise development of local and regional road and rail links by state and local governments.

The project will deliver a competitive freight service, increase national productivity, and, importantly, boost the regional economies along the Inland Rail corridor.

Regional businesses and farmers will be able to take advantage of new opportunities for export growth and get their produce to market when and where it is required at a better price. Supply chain costs are a significant component of the price consumers pay for goods with up to 10% of the final cost coming from transportation costs. Inland Rail has the potential to deliver both short term and long term economic opportunities to regional Australian communities both on and off the alignment.

To maximise outcomes we provide a range of resources to help people to connect with the benefits from Inland Rail and prepare for operation.

A service offering backed by industry

As Australia’s population grows so do the demands on our freight network – urban freight alone is set to increase by nearly 80% by 2040. Inland Rail needs to meet the future demands of Australia’s freight challenge and be competitive with road, cost efficient and reliable.

The Inland Rail Service Offering was developed by the ARTC in consultation with Australia’s major freight stakeholders to ensure it will deliver the necessary requirements to conduct their business operations.

Inland Rail will have 98% reliability, flexibility for faster and slower services, and make sure freight is available when the market needs it most.

Data from a CSIRO supply chain mapping pilot study identified a potential transport cost saving of between $64 and $94 per tonne, from moving horticulture and post-processed foods onto Inland Rail.

Planning and building

The Inland Rail alignment and design is informed by extensive planning and multiple studies and analysis undertaken over many years.

Agreement to construct Inland Rail in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland is facilitated through Intergovernmental Agreements between the Australian Government and the respective state governments and can often stipulate specific requirements for the use of existing corridors or new greenfield construction.

Robust state approval processes are applied to Inland Rail’s design and delivery to manage and mitigate social and environmental impacts.