Australia's transcontinental railway celebrates 100 years

Media Release


17 October 2017

  • Australia marks the centenary of the Trans Australian Railway
  • The line connected the east and west coasts of Australia, and played an historic role in the Federation of the nation
  • The north south Inland Rail line to also play a significant role in Australia's future

The centenary of one of Australia's most important infrastructure projects is being celebrated today with the Trans Australian Railway line marking 100 years since it connected the east to the west.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the line, which was completed on 17 October 1917, played a major role in the development of Australia.

“In the early years, this line supported three trains per week hauling 21 tonnes of freight in each direction; now this line supports the movement of 56 scheduled freight trains a week carrying about 220,000 tonnes of freight in both directions.

“Much of the construction on the Trans Australian Railway Line occurred during World War 1, when materials and manpower were sparse, and when the engineering techniques of today were many years from conception.

“100 years later we are again building key infrastructure for the nation by joining the south to the north through the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail.

“This 1,700km project is the largest rail development since the Trans Australian Railway, capable of moving goods between these two major cities, via regional towns, in under 24 hours.

“I am delighted to mark the centenary of such an important part of Australia's infrastructure history,” Mr Chester said.

The Australian Government this year committed $8.4 billion to the Inland Rail project.

The centenary of the linking of the Trans Australian Railway line will be marked at an event near Ooldea, South Australia, later today.

For more information on the Australian Government's rail package, please visit: