Inland Rail

The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail is an Australian Government project to upgrade and construct a 1,700km freight railway which will see express trains making the journey between Tottenham in Melbourne and Acacia Ridge in Brisbane in less than 24 hours once completed.

On 29 November 2019, the Australian and Queensland governments signed a Bi-Lateral Agreement for Inland Rail which will enable the delivery of the project in Queensland.

The Bi-Lateral Agreement outlines the provisions and conditions for the construction of Inland Rail within Queensland and includes requirements for:

  • the utilisation of the state governments protected/preserved Gowrie to Grandchester and Southern Freight Rail Corridors.
  • the joint development of business cases by 31 December 2022, for: 
    • Brisbane to Toowoomba Passenger Services
    • South East Queensland Inland Rail Intermodal
    • Port of Brisbane Rail Access Study
    • Salisbury to Beaudesert Rail Line. 
  • the restriction of construction to passing loops only on the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton section until the business cases are completed and the traffic requirements including double stacking on the line are better understood
  • the restriction of coal traffic on the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge section until the commencement of construction of the Salisbury to Beaudesert line or an alternate date agreed between federal and the state government
  • a panel of independent international experts to advise the extent, interpretation, assumptions and application of flood modelling, and best practice for structural design in a floodplain environment across all sections of Inland Rail in Queensland.

Project information

Freight movement across Queensland is expected to double in the coming years, with the most rapid growth anticipated to be in South East Queensland. As part of the effort to plan for this growth, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is delivering Inland Rail on behalf of the Australian Government.  

Inland Rail will provide the potential for greater connectivity and increased rail freight volumes from southern and south-west Queensland, leveraging the benefits of the new Inland Rail infrastructure. 

Inland Rail is a large and complex project. To deliver the new and upgraded 1,700km rail line, the program has been divided into 13 sub-projects by ARTC to better facilitate delivery. In Queensland there are 5 sub-projects: 

  1. New South Wales / Queensland Border to Gowrie 
  2. Gowrie to Helidon 
  3. Helidon to Calvert
  4. Calvert to Kagaru 
  5. Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton. 

To find out more about the proposed route and progress of each project visit the ARTC Inland Rail website.

The Department of Transport and Main Road's role

The Queensland Government through the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is working collaboratively with the ARTC on environmental planning, the state's requirements including, the flood panel and future proofing the corridor for future upgrades, statutory approvals, maximising the benefits of Inland rail to Queensland businesses and communities, and land acquisition for the sections of Inland Rail in Queensland.

TMR is the acquiring authority for Queensland's section of Inland Rail and will manage the compulsory land acquisition process under the Queensland legislation set out in the Acquisition of Land Act 1967

TMR will support ARTC conversations with landowners directly affected by the proposed alignment, and with those who have a direct interest in affected properties. This includes lessees and occupiers. 

More information on property acquisition.

Inland Rail – Associated Projects

Independent International Panel of Experts appointed for Flood Studies in Queensland

The Australian and Queensland Governments, through the Department of Transport and Main Roads, have established an Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies

The Panel will provide advice to the Australian and Queensland governments on the flood models and structural designs developed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation for Inland Rail in Queensland.

More information on the Panel's role, works program and how to contact the Panel.

Related studies and projects

Gowrie to Grandchester and Southern Freight Rail Corridor Studies 

The department completed the Gowrie to Grandchester Rail Corridor Study in 2003 and the Southern Freight Rail Corridor Study in 2010 with a view for future use by passenger and or freight services. During these studies, consultation was undertaken with community members and key stakeholders to address technical, environmental and cultural heritage issues. A requirement of the Bi-Lateral Agreement was that wherever possible these corridors are used for Inland Rail.

For more information visit Gowrie to Grandchester Rail Corridor Study and Southern Freight Rail Corridor Study project pages.