Why Inland Rail

Inland Rail is a strategic investment in Australia’s freight future that will serve the market for the next century and beyond.

As Australia’s population increases, so do the demands on our transport network. Our growing population necessitates change in the freight and supply sector to deliver more efficient, reliable and cost-competitive transport of goods, which meet consumer demand. We must act now to deliver the freight transport needs of our nation.

We all rely on the freight network to deliver essential supplies such as food, medicine, medical equipment and produce. Each year Australia’s freight and supply chain networks transports approximately 4 billion tonnes of goods across Australia.

Australia’s freight volumes are expected to grow by more than 35% within 20 years. Currently 74% of all inter-capital freight between Brisbane and Melbourne is carried by road.

Increasing the size and number of trucks on our highways to meet growing freight volumes will have significant safety, environmental and community consequences.

Growing volumes mean the task to efficiently move freight between two of Australia’s largest metropolitan areas and one of the nation’s busiest transport routes – Melbourne to Brisbane – is critical to the continued productivity and international competitiveness of Australia’s producers and manufacturers.

Trucks use almost three times as much fuel as trains to do the same job, road accidents causing death or serious injury are nearly three times more likely in comparison to rail, and trucks emit 750,000 more tonnes of carbon emissions each year than trains doing the same job.

A typical 1,800-metre Inland Rail train will have the capacity to carry the same volume of freight as
110 B-double trucks, making Inland Rail an ideal option to move heavy and bulk goods over long distances.

Once complete, Inland Rail will enhance the capacity for our farmers to access international markets quicker and more efficiently – connecting farmers and regional producers to international ports, and unlocking the potential of Australia’s current and future import and export markets.

Inland Rail key benefits

Boost the Australian economy

  • Inland Rail is expected to boost Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by more than $18 billion during construction and the first 50 years of operation.
  • The complementary business investment and expansion forecast with Inland Rail’s operation could add up to $13.3 billion in today’s terms to the value of goods and services produced across its regions over the first 50 years of operation.

Support jobs

  • Inland Rail will support more than 21,500 jobs at the peak of construction.
  • Complementary business investment and expansion such as Special Activation Precincts (SAPs) in New South Wales, and Intermodal terminals in Queensland will create even more long-term jobs.
  • 1,862 people worked on the Parkes to Narromine (P2N) project, including 762 from the local community.

Improve connections within the national freight network

  • Inland Rail will provide the essential backbone of the freight rail network, connecting to every mainland capital city and major port through existing lines.

Reduce transport costs

  • Inland Rail has the potential to reduce transport costs for some agricultural and post processed food products by an average of $76 per tonne.

Improve reliability and certainty of transit time

  • Less than 24-hour rail transit time between terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane and reliability matching current road levels.

Reduce distances travelled

  • 200km reduction in rail distance between Melbourne and Brisbane, and 500km reduction between both Brisbane and Perth and Adelaide and Brisbane.

Improve road safety & congestion

  • 15 fewer serious crashes each year, avoiding fatalities and serious injuries.
  • The modal shift from road to Inland Rail will reduce carbon emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year and support reduced road congestion on some of Australia’s busiest highways, including the Ipswich Motorway, and the Hume, Newell and Warrego Highways.

Inland Rail Business Case

The 2015 Inland Rail Business Case was developed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), providing a rigorous assessment of why Inland Rail is needed, including its significant economic, social and environmental benefits.

Learn more about the Inland Rail Service Offering.