Projects

Melbourne to Geelong Fast Rail

The project will upgrade the rail corridor to enable faster passenger services from Melbourne to Geelong. The project will be undertaken in a number of stages. Stage 1 will construct dedicated track from Werribee to Laverton and upgrade stations and signalling from Werribee to Newport. Stage 1 will allow passenger services to travel to Geelong via Werribee rather than Sunshine. This route is shorter and faster and will allow express services to operate from Melbourne to Geelong.

Stage 1 is expected to reduce travel times by around 15 minutes from 65 minute to 50 minutes. Stage 1 will also free up capacity to Sunshine, allowing additional passenger services to operate from the new Melbourne Airport Rail Link and regional centres such as Ballarat and Bendigo.

The estimated cost of Stage 1 is $4 billion. The Australian Government has committed $2 billion which has been matched by the Victorian Government. Planning for Stage 1 is underway with construction expected to commence in 2023. Further stages of the project are being developed by the Victorian Government.

Brisbane to the Gold Coast – Kuraby to Beenleigh Preconstruction

The project will undertake preconstruction activities to upgrade the 19 kilometre section of existing rail track from Kuraby to Beenleigh. The rail line from Brisbane to the Gold Coast is one of the busiest in South East Queensland. Currently, the rail line south of Kuraby has two tracks (one in each direction) which limits capacity and the number of passenger trains that can travel to Beenleigh and onto the Gold Coast. Upgrading this section of the corridor is a critical first step in providing faster, more efficient passenger rail services from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.

The project will finalise the scope, cost, timing and procurement for the upgrade and undertake community consultation. The estimated cost of the project is $356.2 million. The Australian Government has committed $178.1 million (capped) with the remaining costs to be met by the Queensland Government. The project is expected to commence in mid-2021 and be completed in mid-2023.

Business Cases

The Australian Government is investigating opportunities to invest in faster rail due to its ability to shift demand from road to rail, stimulate regional economic growth and improve access to jobs, services and affordable housing.

The Australian Government has committed $79 million to develop faster rail business cases for connections between major capital cities and key regional centres across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

Corridor investigations include:

The National Faster Rail Agency is developing business cases in partnership with state and territory governments, industry and the private sector. Business cases are being developed to determine the suitability of faster rail options along each corridor, identify existing constraints and determine future operational requirements. Business cases will also develop investment pipelines for each corridor, identify next steps and help guide future investment decisions. Issues such as population growth, travel patterns, land use planning and access to jobs, services and affordable housing are also being considered.

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

Sydney to Newcastle

The Australian Government has committed $20.25 million to investigate faster rail options from Sydney to Newcastle in partnership with the New South Wales Government. The Australian Government provided funding under the $20 million Faster Rail Prospectus to develop a strategic business case. The strategic business case investigated a range of options from incremental upgrades through to transformational investments. The strategic business case commenced in September 2018 and was completed in December 2019.

In the 2020-21 Budget, the Australian Government committed a further $15 million to accelerate planning and finalise the scope, cost, timing and delivery of priority faster rail options from Sydney to Newcastle. This work is expected to commence in mid-2021 and be completed in mid-2023.

Sydney to Bomaderry

The Australian Government committed $8 million to investigate faster rail options from Sydney to Bomaderry (via Wollongong) in partnership with the New South Wales Government. The strategic business case identified existing constraints and determined future demand and operational requirements. The strategic business case investigated a range of options and identified a preferred solution. The strategic business case also included a planning and investment program that identifies potential projects, cost and staging options. The strategic business case commenced in March 2020 and was completed in March 2021.

Sydney to Parkes

The Australian Government committed $8 million to investigate faster rail options from Sydney to Parkes (via Bathurst and Orange) in partnership with the New South Wales Government. The strategic business case identified existing constraints and determined future demand and operational requirements. The strategic business case investigated a range of options and identified a preferred solution. The strategic business case also included a planning and investment program that identifies potential projects, cost and staging options. The strategic business case commenced in April 2020 and was completed in April 2021.

Melbourne to Greater Shepparton

The Australian Government provided funding to the private sector consortium, Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA), under the $20 million Faster Rail Prospectus to develop a strategic business case from Melbourne to Greater Shepparton. The strategic business case investigated options to construct two new cities each housing a population of up to 400,000 near Shepparton and Nagambie connected by high-speed rail to Melbourne. The strategic business case stated that high-speed rail could operate at speeds up to 450 km/h and provide a 32 minute travel time to Melbourne. The strategic business case commenced in August 2018 and was completed in August 2019.

Melbourne to Warnambool, Ballarat, Bendigo, Albury-Wodonga and Traralgon

The Australian Government has committed $16 million to investigate faster rail options from Melbourne to Warnambool, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Albury-Wodonga and Traralgon in partnership with the Victorian Government. The project will develop faster rail strategies for each corridor that will identify existing constraints and determine future demand and operational requirements. Each strategy will include a planning and investment program that will identify potential projects, costs and staging options to help inform future investment decisions. The project commenced in late 2020 and is expected to be completed in late 2021.

Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast

The Australian Government provided funding to the private sector consortium, North Coast Connect (NCC), under the $20 million Faster Rail Prospectus to develop a detailed business case from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast. The detailed business case investigated options for a spur line from Beerwah to Maroochydore, upgrades along the existing corridor from Brisbane to Beerwah and a range of faster rail speeds. The detailed business case commenced in September 2018 and was completed in December 2019.

Brisbane to the Gold Coast

The Australian Government has committed $8 million to investigate faster rail options from Brisbane to the Gold Coast in partnership with the Queensland Government. The project is being undertaken in two parts. The first part will develop a detailed business case for capacity upgrades between Kuraby and Beenleigh. The second part will develop a corridor strategy that will identify existing constraints and determine future demand and operational requirements. The corridor strategy will include a planning and investment program that will identify potential projects, cost and staging options, including an extension from Varsity Lakes to the Gold Coast Airport.

The detailed business case for Kuraby to Beenleigh commenced in February 2020 and is expected to be completed in mid-2021. The corridor strategy is expected to commence in mid-2021 and be completed in late 2021.

Perth to Bunbury

In the 2020-21 Budget, the Australian Government committed $4 million to investigate faster rail options from Perth to Bunbury in partnership with the Western Australian Government. The project will determine the suitability of faster rail along the corridor, identify existing constraints and determine future demand and operational requirements. The project will consider upgrades to the existing rail corridor as well as the option for a new, dedicated corridor.

The project will develop a range of options to address identified issues and prioritise them based on demonstrated need and desired transport outcomes. The project will also consider population growth, travel patterns, land use planning and access to jobs, services and affordable housing. The project is expected to commence in mid-2021 and be completed in mid-2023.