Building and planning
There are multiple opportunities to participate in the delivery of Inland Rail. Many of these are communicated through an open approach to market.
For construction-related procurement visit the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) supplier portal.
Inland Rail is national infrastructure funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), in partnership with the private sector. The Government is investing up to $14.5 billion in equity to deliver this project in recognition of the nation building and game changing effects it will have on the nation.
Following the recommendations from the Independent Review to Inland Rail, the Government has staged the delivery of the project, prioritising the sections between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes in New South Wales to complete the connection through to Narromine. Detailed assurance work will determine the schedule and full cost the Inland Rail Program.
ARTC is responsible for the overall delivery of Inland Rail. ARTC’s delivery responsibilities include, but are not limited to, design, obtaining of relevant approvals for construction of the project and community engagement with affected landowners along the alignment.
Construction started on the Parkes to Narromine project (P2N) in New South Wales on 13 December 2018 and was completed on 15 September 2020.
Construction of the second section of Inland Rail between Narrabri and North Star (N2NS) commenced in November 2020.
Planning for Inland Rail
Traversing 1,600km between Melbourne and Brisbane through regional Australia, Inland Rail is the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia. The project is being planned and delivered across 12 project sections of various lengths, each with unique geographic and community requirements and technical complexities.
The Inland Rail study corridor was informed by years of research and analysis including into the environmental, safety and community effects of the route. The process for selecting the Inland Rail route was reaffirmed in 2023 by Dr Kerry Schott AO in her Independent Review of the Inland Rail program. The decision about the corridor was driven by the service offering developed with industry to meet the long term needs of the freight and supply chain. This 24-hour transit time between Beveridge and Ebenezer was further confirmed in the Independent Review.
Research and planning for Inland Rail began in 2006 with the North–South Rail Corridor Study. This study considered 4 potential corridors for Inland Rail to determine which would have the lowest capital cost, fastest transit time and deliver the best economic and financial outcome.
Additionally, the following studies have been undertaken in relation to the full alignment:
- 2010 – Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail Alignment Study that examined the optimum alignment, economic benefits and commerciality of a Melbourne to Brisbane railway.
- 2015 – Inland Rail Implementation Group Report and associated program Business Case which outlined a 10-year delivery schedule for Inland Rail and endorsed a ‘base case’ corridor (refined from the 2010 Alignment Study).
In addition to the alignment studies, a number of sections underwent multi-criteria analysis to compare corridor options, examining environmental impacts, community and property impacts, technical viability, safety assessment, operational approach, constructability and schedule, approvals and stakeholder engagement.
The results of these multi-criteria analyses, along with financial information, informed these corridors.
ARTC also completed Business Case for Inland Rail in 2015. This document is the detailed assessment of why Inland Rail is needed and how it can be delivered.
Australian Rail Track Corporation
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ACRTC) is a Government Business Enterprise (GBE) that maintains and operates the national rail network. As each section is completed and becomes operational, Inland Rail forms part of the national network and is operated and maintained by ARTC, enabling the early return of investment.
For information on Inland Rail in your state, visit our Benefits in your Community page.
For more information on ARTC and the construction of Inland Rail, visit inlandrail.artc.com.au.
Community input is important to the success of Inland Rail and ARTC works closely with landholders and local communities to ensure community views are heard and addressed as the project progresses through the formal planning process.
ARTC has established the following Community Consultative Committees to facilitate broader community involvement in the project:
- Southern Darling Downs, Queensland
- Inner Darling Downs, Queensland
- Lockyer Valley, Queensland
- Scenic Rim, Queensland
- Narromine to Narrabri, New South Wales
- North Star to New South Wales/Queensland border
- Illabo to Stockinbingal, New South Wales
- Albury to Illabo, New South Wales
In light of the Independent Review and confirmation of Inland Rail end points, ARTC discontinued the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton (Qld) section in May 2023 and the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton CCC was dissolved.
Additionally, ARTC works with Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland State Governments to complete all applicable environmental and planning assessments in order to obtain the necessary approvals for construction to commence.
Inland Rail is planned and constructed in accordance with the environment and planning laws of each state. The Department has regular engagement with state governments through established committees and informal collaboration to advance and coordinate Inland Rail and on complementary investment opportunities.
The Australian Government signed Bilateral Agreements in relation to Inland Rail with the Victorian Government on 16 March 2018, the New South Wales Government on 4 May 2018 and the Queensland Government on 29 November 2019.
Public Private Partnership
In March 2022 ARTC announced that Regionerate Rail, a consortium comprising GS Engineering and Construction, Service Stream and Plenary Group, had been selected as the preferred proponent for the Public Private Partnership (PPP). The PPP arrangement was planned to deliver the most technically complex section of Inland Rail – tunnelling through the Toowoomba Range, connecting Gowrie to Kagaru.
The Independent Review of Inland Rail identified a number of concerns with the proposed PPP and recommended negotiations with Regionerate Rail to revise the PPP scope to exclude double-stacking on the final section of Ebenezer to Kagaru. The Australian Government is working with ARTC to determine next steps in light of this recommendation.