Mount Isa–Townsville rail corridor upgrade

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Mt Isa–Townsville rail capacity
Priority Initiative
Infrastructure Category
Proposed By
Queensland Government
Medium term (5-10 years)
Far North Queensland
Mount Isa–Townsville rail corridor upgrade


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.

Proposed initiative

The initiative proposes the following works:

  • enhancements to western sections of the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Corridor
  • construction of a new 6.5 km Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor (TEARC) to provide direct access to export facilities at the Port of Townsville for longer trains.

Next steps

Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).

The Queensland Government completed a business case for the TEARC component of this initiative in 2018. The business case recommended that the TEARC corridor should be preserved so that it can be delivered in the future when sufficient demand is generated through the Port of Townsville.