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Department of Transport and Main Roads

Rail Transport Contracts and Agreements

The Queensland Government delivers rail services and invests in rail infrastructure through transport service contracts with rail operators. 

These contracts ensure a minimum level and standard of rail service is delivered across Queensland, particularly in regional communities. 

TMR’s rail contract, include:

  • Rail Transport Service Contract
  • Savannahlander Transport Service Contract
  • Regional Freight Transport Services Contract
  • North Transport Service Contract
  • Central and South Transport Services Contract
  • XPT Transport Service Contribution Agreement.

In addition to these rail service contracts, TMR is a signatory to the Brisbane Airport Rail Link Deed. This deed facilitated the construction of the Brisbane Airport Rail Link, an 8.5km, elevated railway between Eagle Junction and Domestic and International Airport stations.

Rail Transport Service Contract

Queensland Rail delivers passenger rail services and invests in rail infratructure across the State through the Rail Transport Service Contract. TMR manages this contract with Queensland Rail, on behalf of the State of Queensland.

This contract governs the funding arrangements for South East Queensland and regional long-distance passenger rail services, new rail infrastructure, and maintenance of the existing rail network. 


The Savannahlander tourist train service operates in Far North Queensland between Cairns and Forsayth from March until December each year. The service is operated by Cairns Kuranda Steam Partnership.

TMR subsides the service through the Savannahlander Transport Service Contract. 

Regional freight

TMR subsidises rail and road freight services in regional Queensland through its Regional Freight Transport Services Contract with operator Linfox.

This contract helps reduce ‘cost of living’ pressures in regional Queensland by providing access to freight at a subsidised rate to meet demand.

Linfox delivers road freight services across Queensland and rail freight services on the Central West Line.


The Queensland Government supports the provision of cattle rail services through transport services contracts. Cattle rail services transport herds of cattle from regional hubs across the State to processing facilities on Queensland’s east coast. 

Cattle rail services are subsidised to:

  • actively support Queensland’s beef industry
  • support regional economic development and trade
  • indirectly support employment opportunities in regional communities
  • assist in managing cattle transport demands on the road network.

Watco East West delivers cattle rail services in the north-west region under the North Transport Services Contract, and in central-west and south-west regions under the Central and South Transport Services Contract.


The Brisbane Airport Rail Link is an 8.5km, elevated railway between Eagle Junction and Domestic and International Airport stations. The rail link opened in May 2001.

It was designed, built and operates under the Brisbane Airport Rail Link Deed between the Queensland Government and Airtrain Citylink Limited (Airtrain).

Airtrain provides tourists and locals accessible, efficient and economic rail transport to and from the Airport, Brisbane City and Gold Coast within 2 hours.

XPT (Express Passenger Train)

The XPT Transport Services Contribution Agreement is a contact between TMR and New South Wales (NSW) Trains. The XPT service is a daily return service between Brisbane and Sydney, operated by NSW Trains. 

The XPT service connects Sydney and Brisbane to regional NSW towns, including Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Taree, Broadmeadow, and Strathfield. The trip takes approximately 14 hours and offers dining and sleeping options. 

Last updated 6 April 2022