Service offering

Our Service Offering is central to Inland Rail and reflects the priorities of freight customers for a road competitive service that offers competitive pricing, 98% reliability, a transit time of less than 24 hours and freight that is available when the market wants.

The Service Offering was developed in consultation with customers, rail users, including rail operators, freight forwarders and end customers, and other key stakeholders.

In defining the performance requirements of industry, the Service Offering also sets out the technical specifications that will deliver on those performance requirements now and into the future.

Four key performance outcomes

The four key elements of the Service Offering are 98% reliability, road competitive pricing, less than 24 hours transit time and freight availability in line with market needs.

The Inland Rail Service Offering was developed in consultation with all of Australia’s major rail freight customers and freight owners including Asciano, Genessee and Wyoming, SCT, Aurizon, Woolworths, Coles, Graincorp, Namoi Cotton, Bluescope and VISY. Also included in the consultation were key agricultural stakeholders including: NSW Farmers, National Farmers Federation and peak bodies such as NRMA.

This consultation with organisations who will use Inland Rail has clearly defined the performance outcomes that industry requires and is prepared to pay for. These performance outcomes are outlined below:


Some important points to note about the rationale behind the key performance outcomes:

  • Reliability: freight customers want road-competitive reliability of 98%. This is driving considerations around flood immunity and design. Inland Rail will not only provide a high level of reliability in its own right, it will benefit from the back-up of the existing coastal network, making both lines more resilient to extreme weather events.
  • Price: freight customers want pricing that is equal to or cheaper than road (including an allowance for pick-up and delivery). This cost competitiveness will have flow-on effects in terms of reducing supply chain costs for agricultural and mining exports.
  • Transit time: it currently takes approximately 32 hours to move freight from Melbourne to Brisbane via the existing coastal route. We tested the appetite of customers for faster services. Inland Rail will see freight moved from Melbourne to Brisbane in less than 24 hours, 10 hours faster. Customers consistently responded that once 24 hour transit time was possible, reliability was of more importance than attempting to give further time savings.
  • Freight availability: this is largely a timetabling issue once Inland Rail is operational – it means working with operators and freight owners to achieve a schedule that sees freight arrive at major terminals at times that suit customers.

The Business Case found that the combination of these four factors would create a significant increase in customer demand from less than 30% now, to more than 60% with Inland Rail.

These performance outcomes are driving the Inland Rail Service Offering technical specifications. Below is a brief explanation of what each of these features deliver:

Longer double-stacked trains: to provide an efficient, cost competitive service, the Inland Rail Service Offering includes designing for a train length of 1800m and ultimately 3600m and allowing trains to be double stacked. This significantly increases the payload of each train (with an initial capacity of 110 B-double loads of freight, rising to 216 when trains reach 3600m in length).

Heavier axle loads: based on the information provided by all major freight operators and a detailed demand study completed by ACIL Allen, we know that the combination of axle load and train speed will allow Inland Rail to meet the needs of freight customers to carry heavier loads at higher speeds. The axle loads specified are more than sufficient for the type of freight that will be carried on Inland Rail.

Interoperability: There are several key points on this:

  • Customers have been very clear that they want to be able to run the same rollingstock on Inland Rail and the rest of the national freight rail network. Inland Rail provides a consistent standard which enables freight operators to use the same rollingstock anywhere on the national rail freight network.
  • The Service Offering provides a standard gauge connection to all major ports including the Port of Brisbane – as requested by customers.
  • The Service Offering maintains all existing regional freight network connections and provides a dual gauge connection throughout Queensland to allow seamless connectivity with the regional narrow gauge network – as requested by customers.
For more information on Inland Rail’s technical and performance specifications please download the Inland Rail Service Offering.



Our Service Offering is central to Inland Rail and reflects the priorities of freight customers for a road competitive service that offers competitive pricing, 98% reliability, a transit time of less than 24 hours and freight that is available when the market wants.

The Service Offering was developed in consultation with customers, rail users, including rail operators, freight forwarders and end customers, and other key stakeholders.

In defining the performance requirements of industry, the Service Offering also sets out the technical specifications that will deliver on those performance requirements now and into the future.

Four key performance outcomes

The four key elements of the Service Offering are 98% reliability, road competitive pricing, less than 24 hours transit time and freight availability in line with market needs.

The Inland Rail Service Offering was developed in consultation with all of Australia’s major rail freight customers and freight owners including Asciano, Genessee and Wyoming, SCT, Aurizon, Woolworths, Coles, Graincorp, Namoi Cotton, Bluescope and VISY. Also included in the consultation were key agricultural stakeholders including: NSW Farmers, National Farmers Federation and peak bodies such as NRMA.

This consultation with organisations who will use Inland Rail has clearly defined the performance outcomes that industry requires and is prepared to pay for. These performance outcomes are outlined below:


Some important points to note about the rationale behind the key performance outcomes:

  • Reliability: freight customers want road-competitive reliability of 98%. This is driving considerations around flood immunity and design. Inland Rail will not only provide a high level of reliability in its own right, it will benefit from the back-up of the existing coastal network, making both lines more resilient to extreme weather events.
  • Price: freight customers want pricing that is equal to or cheaper than road (including an allowance for pick-up and delivery). This cost competitiveness will have flow-on effects in terms of reducing supply chain costs for agricultural and mining exports.
  • Transit time: it currently takes approximately 32 hours to move freight from Melbourne to Brisbane via the existing coastal route. We tested the appetite of customers for faster services. Inland Rail will see freight moved from Melbourne to Brisbane in less than 24 hours, 10 hours faster. Customers consistently responded that once 24 hour transit time was possible, reliability was of more importance than attempting to give further time savings.
  • Freight availability: this is largely a timetabling issue once Inland Rail is operational – it means working with operators and freight owners to achieve a schedule that sees freight arrive at major terminals at times that suit customers.

The Business Case found that the combination of these four factors would create a significant increase in customer demand from less than 30% now, to more than 60% with Inland Rail.

These performance outcomes are driving the Inland Rail Service Offering technical specifications. Below is a brief explanation of what each of these features deliver:

Longer double-stacked trains: to provide an efficient, cost competitive service, the Inland Rail Service Offering includes designing for a train length of 1800m and ultimately 3600m and allowing trains to be double stacked. This significantly increases the payload of each train (with an initial capacity of 110 B-double loads of freight, rising to 216 when trains reach 3600m in length).

Heavier axle loads: based on the information provided by all major freight operators and a detailed demand study completed by ACIL Allen, we know that the combination of axle load and train speed will allow Inland Rail to meet the needs of freight customers to carry heavier loads at higher speeds. The axle loads specified are more than sufficient for the type of freight that will be carried on Inland Rail.

Interoperability: There are several key points on this:

  • Customers have been very clear that they want to be able to run the same rollingstock on Inland Rail and the rest of the national freight rail network. Inland Rail provides a consistent standard which enables freight operators to use the same rollingstock anywhere on the national rail freight network.
  • The Service Offering provides a standard gauge connection to all major ports including the Port of Brisbane – as requested by customers.
  • The Service Offering maintains all existing regional freight network connections and provides a dual gauge connection throughout Queensland to allow seamless connectivity with the regional narrow gauge network – as requested by customers.
For more information on Inland Rail’s technical and performance specifications please download the Inland Rail Service Offering.