The current rail line between Townsville and Mount Isa is capacity constrained, with inefficient rail and terminal operations. These constraints include access to the Port of Townsville, short passing loop lengths and limited passing opportunities.
In its current form, the rail line does not have capacity to cater for the projected increase in demand for rail haulage from mines in the Mount Isa region to the Port of Townsville. Future demand on the line is, under a moderate scenario, estimated to be 20 million tonnes per year. In 2011, the line carried 6 million tonnes and had a theoretical capacity of 7.5 million tonnes.