Mount Isa–Townsville rail corridor upgrade

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Mount Isa–Townsville rail corridor upgrade

Mt Isa–Townsville rail capacity
Potential investment options (Stage 2)
Far North Queensland
Smaller cities and regional centres
National Connectivity
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Medium term (5-10 years)
Proposed By
Queensland Government
Date added to the IPL
17 February 2016


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.

Potential options

The proposal proposes the following works:

  • enhancements to western sections of the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Corridor
  • construction of a new 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 proposal 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.

The Queensland Government is currently undertaking activities to preserve the corridor.