Chapter 7 provides information on rail lengths, rail interstate non-bulk freight, public transit patronage on rail and rail related expenditure. The data is sourced mainly from BITRE and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- People in Melbourne use light rail more than any other city with 205 million passengers in 2018-19 (before COVID impacts).
- People in Sydney use heavy rail more than any other city with 379 million passengers in 2018-19 (before COVID impacts).
- 18.2 billion dollars was spent by all government on rail related projects in 2021-22.
Figure 1 Australia’s railways, by gauge
The lines shown in Figure 1 are the railways that were open for traffic at October 2022. The only change since 2021 was the opening of the Forrestfield-Airport Link (Metronet) line in Perth.
Figure 2 Public transit patronage on heavy rail, Australian capital cities
Figure 2 shows rail public transport patronage by million passenger movements. Passenger movements were trending upwards in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide before starting to fall sharply in 2019-20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Melbourne’s passenger numbers began to recover in 2021-22, Sydney’s continued to decline rapidly, recording a larger proportional fall than in each of the two preceding years. This refers to all trips on suburban rail networks and is based on reporting from train operators.