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INLAND RAIL PROJECT - QUEENSLAND SECTIONS


Inland Rail Project (IRP)


Slowly but unstoppably progressing.


The Inland Rail Project (IRP) continues to move forward slowly but with the inexorable might of a fully laden Pilbara iron ore train.


Current State of Progress


The current position in relation to the 4 principal Queensland Sections of the Inland Rail are set out below. In this article we will update you on the current position and provide a summary of other relevant matters in relation to each of these 4 Queensland Sections.



Border to Gowrie


Current position


The Queensland Coordinator General (CG) has requested additional information as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is responding.


Significant Construction Works


This section of the IRP involves the construction of approximately 138km of new dual grade track and an upgrade of 69km of track from the border to Gowrie Junction near Toowoomba.


Construction Parties


BHQ Joint Venture consisting of Brisbane based companies Bielby Holdings Pty Ltd, J F Hull holdings Pty Ltd and QH & M Birt Pty Ltd has been appointed as the design partner and the party to construct the 162km of works from Whetstone to Gowrie.


Freight Connect has been appointed as preferred contractor for the central civic works program from the border to Whetstone.


ARTC has appointed Martinus as preferred contractor to lay ballast, sleepers and track for this section of the IRP.



Gowrie to Helidon


Current position


The draft EIS and submissions for this section are being assessed by the CG.


Significant Construction Works


This section of the project involves:-

  • a 6.2km tunnel through the Toowoomba range which will be the largest diameter dual freight tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere;

  • 13 bridges and viaducts;

  • three crossing loops.



Helidon to Calvert


Current position


Additional information has been requested by the CG and is being prepared by ARTC.


Significant Construction Works


This section of the project involves:-

  • 850 metre tunnel through the Little Liverpool range near Laidley;

  • 30 bridges (26 rail, 3 road and 1 pedestrian bridge at Gatton);

  • crossing loops at Helidon, Gatton, Laidley and Calvert.



Calvert to Kagaru


Current position


Additional information has been requested by the CG and is being prepared by ARTC.


Significant Construction Works


This section of the project involves:-

  • 35km of new dual carriage freight track to accommodate freight trains (double stacked) up to 1.8kms in length;

  • 1km (approx.) tunnel through the Teviot range;

  • 27 bridges and 4 crossing loops;

  • connection to existing West Moreton and interstate rail lines.

Delivery Method


The Gowrie to Helidon section together with the Helidon to Calvert and Calvert to Kagaru sections are to be combined and completed under a Public Private Arrangement (PPP Arrangement).


Preferred Delivery Provider


Regionerate Rail Consortium, comprising Clough, GS Engineering and Construction, Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo), Service Stream and Plenary Group has been selected by ARTC to deliver these combined sections.




Important Outstanding Issue - Connection to Port of Brisbane


On the basis of the Inland Rail Business Case finding that 66% (approx.) of goods on the Inland Rail would be for domestic use and not destined for the Port of Brisbane, it is not currently proposed upgrade the track from Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane to take double stacked freight trains. It is currently intended that the majority of double stacked freight trains arriving at Acacia Ridge or Bromelton will be downloaded to road transport.


Trains that are single stack will be able to travel via Acacia Ridge to the Port of Brisbane using the existing dual gauge rail connection.

In the case of double stacked freight trains arriving at Acacia Ridge, these will need to be downloaded and re-loaded onto single stack trains. This position appears to be lacking in logic and inefficient.


The Port of Brisbane Authority (POBA), the Infrastructure Association of Queensland and AgForce together with other parties have been pressing for this position to be resolved so that double stacked freight trains can travel directly from Inland Rail through to the Port of Brisbane.


POBA has commissioned a Deloitte Access Economics report which shows that a dedicated rail line from Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane could take 2.4 million trucks per annum off the road. Based on the Deloitte Report. POBA has suggested that if no action is taken to improve rail transport the Port of Brisbane there will be a massive increase in freight trucks resulting in significantly increased traffic congestion and pollution.


It appears that both the Australian and Queensland Governments are aware that this is a real problem demanding a solution. The Australian and Queensland Governments agreed in 2019 to fund a $1.5 million dollar study in relation to the options for improved rail connections to the Port of Brisbane including a dedicated rail freight line (with double stacking capacity) connecting with the Inland Rail. The Australian Government has also committed $20 million to refine corridor options for a dedicated freight line to Port of Brisbane.


It is to be hoped that these studies will come to the conclusion that there is a need for an efficient double track capable of carrying dual stack freight to connect from the Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane.


What’s next from here?


The Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR), as the Acquiring Authority on behalf of the State of Queensland will be issuing notices to resume in relation to sections once the CG is satisfied with the EIS in relation to that stage. The Australian Government and the Queensland Government make the final decision as to whether approval for any particular section is made and any conditions. Following that decision, the approval and conditions are issued to the ARTC and the resumption process will follow.


If part of your land is within the Inland Rail Route it is possible that you may have already been approached in relation to acquisition of that area of your land falling within the proposed path of the Inland Rail. If you have not yet been approached by ARTC or DTMR it is highly likely that you will be approached shortly after the final approval and conditions are granted for the relevant section.


What you should do


In order to obtain the best outcome from any resumption you need to be aware of the process involved. You also need to take preparatory actions to maximise your compensation claim.


In our newsletter of 1 May 2020 titled “Inland Rail -Queensland Resumptions”, we summarised the resumption process and some of the preparatory action you should take to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation.


The newsletter is accessible on our website or alternatively you may wish to contact our office and we can send you a copy of that newsletter for your assistance.


If you would like to speak about a specific resumption issue then please contact Dan Creevey on 07 4617 8777 or by email to dcreevey@crlawyers.com.au