Melbourne to Adelaide freight rail improvements

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Melbourne to Adelaide freight rail improvements

Rail freight capacity constraint on the interstate rail network
Early-stage proposal (Stage 1)
Melbourne to Adelaide
Small towns, rural communities and remote areas
National Connectivity
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
Date added to the IPL
26 February 2021
Melbourne to Adelaide freight rail improvements


The Melbourne to Adelaide freight rail corridor cannot carry double-stacked containers. This increases costs for operators and impacts on freight rail between Melbourne and Adelaide, and also to Perth.

Double-stacking containers on the Melbourne to Adelaide corridor could reduce above-rail operating costs by around 6%. It could also increase capacity by about 48%.

Double-stacking containers between Melbourne and Adelaide is not currently possible due to 1,020 structures that impact on clearance.

These include 229 significant obstructions, 218 signals and 573 minor obstructions that are preventing double‑stacking of containers on the corridor.

The significant obstructions include 35 road overbridges, one tram overbridge, seven tunnels in the Adelaide Hills and the bridge at Murray Bridge.


Potential options to address the proposal include removing or adjusting structures that impact on clearance to enabling double‑stacking of containers.

Next steps

Proponent to develop potential investment options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).