In the last decade, Australia's railways have undergone an ownership, operational and technological revolution. The establishment of national public and private train operators has finally brought seamless rail freight services across the country. There has been a complementary development in track management, with one manager (Australian Rail Track Corporation) rather than five, now controlling most of the interstate track.
The standardisation of the Melbourne-Adelaide railway in 1995 removed the break-of-gauge on the East-West Corridor. This has facilitated the subsequent more than doubling of rail freight task between those cities.
Infrastructure investments and complementary funding of new generation locomotives have enabled train operators to harness train economics of heavier, longer trains, for instance, with Melbourne-Adelaide trains now 50 per cent longer than a decade ago.
These changes are transforming the industry. However, the perception is that the legacy of the separate State-based networks may still draw a long shadow over the performance of the network. This report investigates the extent to which physical, operational and regulatory breaks-of-gauge impede the industry. The report provides guidance to policy makers and industry on those issues.
- Optimising Harmonisation in the Australian Railway Industry