New publication highlights Australia's growing rail task

Media Release


11 November 2014

Trainline 2, the latest statistical report on Australian rail, shows the role of rail in Australia's economic activity has been fast-tracked in recent years—now accounting for almost half of all freight activity in Australia.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss launched the report today at AusRAIL 2014 in Perth to a gathering of industry leaders, rail manufacturers and operators from Australasia and beyond.

“Trainline 2 is a collaborative report co-authored by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics and the Australasian Railway Association,” Mr Truss said.

“The report reminds us of the vital freight and passenger traffic task the railway industry performs in Australia and provides important information on trends in traffic levels and railway performance.

“With the Australian Government focussing on our record investments in road and freight rail, it has freed the states to invest in urban rail and, since the federal election, the states have announced $27 billion in urban public transport projects.”

Mr Truss said the report showed that Australia's rail freight tonnage has grown by more than half since 2007–08.

“Railways are a particularly good fit to markets where large volumes need to be shifted, such as for hauling iron ore, coal, grains and other commodities to ports,” Mr Truss said.

“The rail industry moved over 1 billion tonnes of freight in 2012–13 alone. It would be easy to assume that such growth is just a result of the mining boom. But the Bureau's data indicates intermodal freight is recovering from the global financial crisis and in 2012–13 intermodal trains moved 28 million tonnes of freight—an increase of 67 per cent since 2009–10.

“The movement of iron ore and coal account for over 80 per cent of rail freight tonne-kilometres in Australia, with the majority being exported. Our railways enable Port Hedland to be the world's largest bulk export port, and Newcastle to be the world's largest coal export port.

“These are impressive statistics for industry and for the growth and prosperity of the Australian economy.”

The Trainline 2 publication is available to access online at: