Faster rail

Investigating faster rail linkages between our cities and surrounding regional areas

The 2017 Budget included a commitment by the Australian Government to investigate improvements to the rail connections between our cities and surrounding regional areas through $20 million in funding to support the development of up to three faster rail business cases.

This measure supports the continued economic success of cities and their surrounding regions by investigating options for faster travel times through rail upgrades and/or new rail infrastructure.

The Faster Rail Prospectus (the Prospectus) PDF: 2771 KB ReadSpeaker was released on 20 September 2017.

The Prospectus outlined a three stage process for proponents to submit proposals for consideration and for these proposals to be refined down to three that will be subject to further analysis as part of a business case.

  • Stage 1 project proposal outlines closed 13 October 2017.
  • Stage 2 detailed project proposals closed 8 December 2017.
  • Stage 3 business cases are expected to be developed and submitted by mid-2019.

Business cases

Following a competitive assessment process, conducted in accordance with the assessment criteria published in the Prospectus, the Australian Government announced on 9 March 2018 that it will provide matching funding for the development of the three following business cases.

Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA)

Proposal Corridor

Melbourne to Greater Shepparton 

Proposal Summary

Build 2 SMART cities and connect these cities with a High Speed Rail system along an identified corridor.


NSW Government (Transport for NSW)

Proposal Corridor

Sydney to Newcastle

Proposal Summary

Provide time savings of approximately one hour through both minor and major service improvements on the existing rail corridor.


North Coast Connect Consortium

Proposal Corridor

Brisbane and the regions of Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast

Proposal Summary

A three stage project to enhance the existing QR North Coast Line through a combination of upgrades to existing lines and a new rail line.


Next steps

Following the announcement of successful projects that will receive funding towards the development of business cases, project scope and governance arrangements are being finalised by the department in consultation with each project proponent.

It should be noted that financial support for the development of a business case does not indicate Australian Government support for delivery of a project.

The final completed business cases for each of the three projects will be considered in the context of the government’s wider infrastructure priorities and future Budgets. Any future funding commitments will take into account state and private sector financial support.

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