The Queensland standard gauge rail line from the Queensland border to Acacia Ridge will be transferred to Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) under a 60 year lease from midnight tonight.
ARTC CEO David Marchant explained that the lease will unify the interstate freight rail network through a common set of standards from Queensland to Western Australia.
“This lease is a major step forward in the development of the national standard gauge mainline rail network into a ‘one stop shop’ from Brisbane to Perth,” he said.
“This enables single access contracts for train operators from Acacia Ridge Terminal in Queensland to Kalgoorlie (WA) and Melbourne, excluding the Sydney Metro area.”
“It will facilitate common network rules, operating standards and access regulation in place of 6 individual state arrangements which has dominated the history of rail in this Country,” Mr Marchant said.
The length of the lease will enable ARTC to plan and implement practical, long term, infrastructure improvements for the Queensland border to Acacia Ridge standard gauge rail, in line with improvements on the whole national standard gauge network.
“The activation of this lease is perhaps one of the most significant agreements regarding the standard gauge rail network since the Premiers’ agreement in the 1920s,” Mr Marchant said.
The lease agreement was marked by the completion of a $55.8 million concrete resleepering project between the Queensland border and Acacia Ridge. ARTC completed laying 105,000 concrete sleepers as well as new line and signal infrastructure.
Mr Marchant said ARTC was well placed to manage the vital rail link between the Queensland border and Acacia Ridge.
“ARTC has a proven track record of delivering important rail projects and managing rail infrastructure across Australia.”
“For ARTC it marks a significant milestone in developing the national standard gauge rail network into a value adding asset in Australia’s national transport market.”