Toowoomba to Gladstone Inland Rail Extension Business Case

The Australian and Queensland governments are working together to deliver the Toowoomba to Gladstone Inland Rail Extension Business Case.

The Australian and Queensland governments are exploring ways to supplement the planned Inland Rail project through:

  • assessing links to alternative export hubs
  • enhancing wider regional economic growth and development.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Australian Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts are working together on a business case for a possible extension of Inland Rail from Toowoomba to the Port of Gladstone. This extension will complement the primary Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail route.

The business case will look at:

  • the need, viability and timing of the extension
  • how an additional rail connection to the Port of Gladstone could benefit businesses and communities in regional Queensland along the new route.

It will be developed in 3 stages:

  • strategic assessment of service requirements
  • preliminary evaluation
  • detailed business case—if supported by the Australian and Queensland governments considering the initial findings.

The initial stages will:

  • evaluate current and anticipated future demand for a direct freight rail connection between Toowoomba and the Port of Gladstone
  • investigate options for introducing new freight rail services using existing and protected rail corridors
  • identify preferred options for future freight services between Toowoomba and Port of Gladstone
  • identify staging and delivery solutions to suit the short, medium and long-term demand and capacity of the planned rail transport network
  • consider costs and benefits of the project
  • make a preliminary assessment of the economic viability, before proceeding to a detailed business case.

We will be working with key project partners during the initial stages. More engagement opportunities will be provided during the next stages of the project.

Key features

  • A better-connected, more resilient and accessible rail freight network.
  • Support growth in the thermal coal, hydrogen, alumina and other emerging resources.
  • Potentially defer the need to invest in a dedicated freight rail corridor to the Port of Brisbane and achieve greater return on investment for existing freight corridors.
  • Enhanced regional/network connectivity and sustainability.
  • Enhanced regional economic development and employment opportunities.
  • Increased connectivity export opportunities for the resource sector and agriculture producers.
  • Freight efficiency improvements which would benefit the broader Australian economy.

Inland Rail

On 29 November 2019, the Australian and Queensland governments signed a Bilateral Agreement enabling the delivery of Inland Rail in Queensland and the development of 5 rail studies to enhance the benefits it offers the state.

Current status

The technical work for the preliminary evaluation phase was completed in 2023. The Australian and Queensland governments are currently considering the preliminary evaluation findings which will inform next steps for the project.


The Australian Government committed $10 million towards the project, with the Queensland Government providing an in-kind contribution, through the Department of Transport and Main Roads. Investment ID 2251605

Toowoomba to Gladstone Inland Rail Extension Business Case project location map

Map showing area for Inland Rail extension project: Toowoomba to Gladstone

The project location map shows the Toowoomba to Gladstone Inland rail extension project including:

  • Indicative study corridor: Port of Gladstone to Banana to Miles to Toowoomba
  • Proposed Surat Basin project rail route: Between Moura and Banana to Wandoan
  • Proposed Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail: via regional Victoria and NSW to Toowoomba to Kagaru, Brisbane.


  • Improves safety
  • Increases capacity
  • Improves network efficiency
  • Contributes to economy
  • Contributes to regional growth