Inland Rail

Inland Rail—a new rail connection between Melbourne and Brisbane

Infrastructure has a critical role in lifting our nation's wealth and prosperity.

“The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail is the right infrastructure for the right time.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, 19 April 2016

Australia's freight task is set to experience significant growth over the next several decades. The current national infrastructure network cannot support this projected growth, with increasing pressure on already congested roads through Sydney and increasing use of heavy trucks such as B-doubles and, potentially, B-triples along the Hume-Pacific and Newell Corridors.

Inland Rail provides a high performance and direct interstate freight rail corridor between two of Australia's largest cities—Melbourne and Brisbane. By also connecting south east Queensland more directly with Adelaide and Perth (via Parkes), Inland Rail will deliver immediate interoperability with the high performance east-west trans-continental line.

Inland Rail will address the growing freight task by helping to move freight transport off the congested road network. It is a step-change in the productivity of freight services—a shift that will benefit the whole nation for the next century by creating new jobs and helping increase our standard of living. It provides a reliable road-competitive solution to the freight task and enables the commercial and social benefits of rail to be leveraged to meet Australia's long-term freight challenge.

Inland Rail is an investment in strategic infrastructure for the future, providing capacity to serve the east coast freight market for the next century. Inland Rail will be an important contributor to national productivity by reducing train operating costs and improving service standards.

Messages from Key Stakeholders

“An inland rail corridor linking Victoria and Regional New South Wales with Queensland has the potential to be Australia's most important piece of logistics infrastructure.”

“Unencumbered by constraints of the existing coastal route inland rail will promote economic benefits through the efficient movement of both manufactured and fresh products between some of Australia's largest domestic markets.”

“The safety and environmental upside of an inland rail link will also be significant.”

Spokesperson for Woolworths Ltd, 2014

Key Facts and Figures for Inland Rail

  • Inland Rail will deliver a transit time for freight of less than 24 hours between Melbourne and Brisbane with a 98% service reliability that is competitive with road.
  • The route will be approximately 1,700 km and will provide a competitive freight price with road.
  • Inland Rail will use the existing interstate rail line through Victoria and southern NSW but will require approximately 400 km of track upgrades predominately in NSW and approximately 600 km of new track through northern NSW and south-east Queensland.
  • Inland Rail will provide an enhanced link between Queensland and southern Australia, including Adelaide and Perth, ensuring resilience and greater flexibility for the existing rail network and allowing freight travelling from Brisbane to Melbourne to bypass the busy Sydney network.

Click thumbails to view larger maps of road freight routes, freight road and rail routes, proposed inland rail route

Click thumbnail to view Benefits of Inland Rail infographic

The Australian Government previously committed $300 million to Inland Rail for pre-construction activities such as detailed corridor planning, environmental assessments and community consultation. In order to prepare a 10-year delivery plan, the Government created a high-level Implementation Group chaired by the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon John Anderson AO.

The Implementation Group worked extensively with state governments, councils, industry, peak bodies, communities and individuals to understand the breadth of issues associated with Inland Rail. All of this work informed the Inland Rail Implementation Group Report to the Australian Government, Inland Rail: Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail PDF: 6687 KB ReadSpeaker.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation also completed a rigorous and extensive Programme Business Case for Inland Rail.

In May 2016, the Australian Government committed to the Australian Rail Track Corporation, as delivery agent for the construction elements of the Inland Rail programme. The Australian Government further committed an additional $593.7 million in equity to the Australian Rail Track Corporation to continue with pre-construction activities and commence land acquisition in the Inland Rail corridor. The Australian Rail Track Corporation updates information regarding the work they are undertaking on the Inland Rail programme on the ARTC Inland Rail webpage.

The Australian Government will also conduct a market testing process to determine opportunities for the private sector to partner with Government to deliver and finance Inland Rail.

The Department remains responsible for the coordination of the programme to ensure it delivers on the Government's commitment and is aligned with other Government priorities.

Enquiries about the Inland rail programme can be directed to

For Landholders: Melbourne–Brisbane Inland Rail Alignment

The 2015 Inland Rail Implementation Group Report to Government recommended some variations to the corridor from that previously recommended in the 2010 Inland Rail Alignment Study. Further refinement of the alignment is still required, particularly in Queensland. Consequently, the Government is not able to give any advice at this time on individual parcels of land that will be impacted or need to be acquired for Inland Rail.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation is currently undertaking field studies to determine the alignment in more detail. Updates will be released as the programme progresses and the alignment is settled. Affected landholders will be contacted directly via normal land planning and development processes.

For questions relating to the alignment and construction of Inland Rail please contact ARTC by email at or in writing to:

ARTC Inland Rail
GPO Box 14

Inland Rail Submissions

The Inland Rail Implementation Group invited public submissions around the delivery of Inland Rail until 30 June 2014. While the submission process has formally closed, you are welcome to provide ongoing input into this important programme by email at or in writing to:

Inland Rail Secretariat
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594

Procurement Opportunities

Inland Rail will provide numerous opportunities for those interested in participating in the delivery of Inland Rail.

Opportunities will be communicated through an open approach to market.

For construction-related procurement activities please contact ARTC by email at or in writing to:

ARTC Inland Rail
GPO Box 14

Privacy Notice (APP5):

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is collecting personal information for the purposes of the Inland Rail programme which is funded under the National Land Transport Act 2014.

The Department will use this information for consultation purposes and may disclose information to a member of the Inland Rail Implementation Group for the purposes of the Inland Rail Submission Process.

Submissions (in part or full), including the name of the author may be published on the Department's website (private addresses and contact details will be removed) or in any Government's response, unless the submission is confidential. Confidential submissions (including author's name) will not be published.

Submissions will only be treated as confidential if they are expressly stated to be confidential. Automatically generated confidentiality statements or disclaimers appended to an email do not suffice for this purpose. If you wish you make a confidential submission, you should indicate this by ensuring your submission is marked confidential.

Confidential submissions will be kept securely and will only be disclosed in the following circumstances:

  • in response to a request by a Commonwealth Minister;
  • where required by a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia; or
  • where required by law.

The Department may also disclose confidential submissions within the Commonwealth of Australia, including with other Commonwealth agencies, where necessary in the public interest.

The Department's on-line privacy policy contains information regarding complaint handling processes and how to access and/or seek correction of personal information held by the Department. The Privacy Officer can be contacted on (02) 6274 6495.

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