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.
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 1,700km 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 13 projects 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.
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.
Decisions about the corridor for the entire Inland Rail program were driven by the Service Offering developed with industry to meet the long-term needs of the freight supply chain.
ARTC also completed a rigorous and extensive 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
ARTC is a Government Business Enterprise (GBE) that maintains and operates the national rail network. Once operational Inland Rail will form part of that national network and be operated by ARTC.
As a GBE and rail operator, ARTC is in the best position to deliver a large-scale rail project such as Inland Rail.
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
- Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton, 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
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
The Australian Government will use an innovative Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to deliver the most technically complex section of Inland Rail – tunnelling through the Toowoomba Range, connecting Gowrie to Kagaru.
Through the PPP the government is able to:
- leverage private sector expertise in the design, finance, build and maintenance of the section
- manage risk and drive value for taxpayers in delivering this nationally significant project.
In March 2022 ARTC announced that Regionerate Rail, a consortium comprising Clough, GS Engineering and Construction, Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo), Service Stream and Plenary Group, as the preferred proponent for the PPP.
Regionerate Rail will work with ARTC to develop plans for construction and ongoing maintenance of 128 km of dual gauge rail line, comprising 3 tunnels, including a 6 km long tunnel through the Toowoomba Range as well as numerous viaducts, river bridges and crossing loops.