Inland Rail gets Queensland on right track for future

Inland Rail is the largest linear transport project ever undertaken in Australia. The 1700-kilometre rail line from Brisbane to Melbourne is an enormous feat of engineering due to its size, scale and pure ambition.

May 31, 2021

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Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller

Nowhere is that scale more on show than in Queensland where the challenge of crossing the Great Dividing Range by rail will result in “engineering marvels” not seen in this state before. 

During construction Queensland will require a large amount of capital expenditure, and more importantly, a lot of labour to deliver the project in Queensland – nearly 12,000 jobs and a boost of about $7.7 billion.

Inland Rail is fundamentally about moving goods to South East Queensland and Victoria. The railway will bring everyday goods to high population areas so they can access food, drinks, whitegoods and their internet shopping. 

Today each year our infrastructure operators, transport companies and logistics experts deliver about four billion tonnes of goods across Australia – that is 163 tonnes of freight for every person.

The future needs are even greater, in fact Brisbane’s population grew by 1.9 per cent during 2019-20, recording the highest growth rate of all Australian capital cities. 

Couple this with South East Queensland’s population growth and the answer is simple … we need a better way to transport freight into Brisbane. 

A single 1,800-metre train, double-stacked, operating between Melbourne and Brisbane is equivalent to more than 100 B-double trucks on the road. This means Inland Rail will allow us to get these goods to Brisbane faster, safer  more reliably and at a cheaper cost.

However, it’s not just the growth needs that are important, COVID-19 and recent flooding events have taught us that we need efficient, effective, reliable supply chains in our country. Inland Rail is the solution for this, and it will deliver a supply chain that is competitive and in line with what other more efficient large countries have.

In these countries, like the USA and Canada, the share of rail versus road is 70 percent rail and 30 per cent road. In Australia, it is the other way around and we are quickly running out of lanes on the M1!

Inland Rail will align us with these other large countries rail share while upgrading the nation’s rail infrastructure to meet Australia’s growing freight task over the next 50 years and beyond.  However, five years into the process the onset of a world-wide pandemic has elevated the need for Inland Rail to a whole new level. 

That is why I am regularly urging Queenslanders to get behind Inland Rail – after all we will need 12,000 of you to build it – as this is a once-in-a-lifetime project that has been talked about for roughly 100 years and is now finally moving towards reality.

Please, help us get it done and create a new and exciting future, not just for us but also for generations to come. 

Richard Wankmuller, CEO Inland Rail, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) 

May 31, 2021

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