Australian Rail Track Corporation

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Australian Rail Track Corporation
Industry Rail infrastructure management
Predecessor Various state rail operators
Founded 1 July 1998
Headquarters Adelaide
Area served
All mainland Australian states
Key people
John Fullerton (CEO)
Revenue $773 million (2013/14)
Total assets $3.57 billion (June 2014)
Parent Government of Australia

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is a Federal Government owned corporation, established in July 1998, that manages most of Australia's interstate rail network.[1][2]


ARTC Asset Management South and West offices in Wagga Wagga

In November 1996, the Federal Government announced a major rail reform package that included the sale of government-owned train operators Australian National and National Rail, and the establishment of the Australian Rail Track Corporation to manage the sections of the interstate rail network which had been controlled by the two former organisations.

The ARTC was incorporated in February 1998, with operations commencing in July 1998 when the lines managed by Australian National's Track Australia were transferred to it.[3][4][5] These were the lines from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, Tarcoola to Alice Springs, Port Augusta to Whyalla, Adelaide to Broken Hill and Adelaide to Serviceton, and the Outer Harbor line in Adelaide.[3]

In 2000, the Tarcoola to Alice Springs line was leased to the Asia Pacific Transport Consortium as part of the project to extend the line to Darwin.[6]


In 1999, ARTC signed a five-year deal with VicTrack, the rail manager for the Victorian Government, to lease the standard gauge track which runs from Albury to Serviceton via Melbourne.[3] This was later extended for another 10 years, and in May 2008 for another 45 years.[7][8]

As part of the lease extension, the run-down and underutilised broad gauge line from Seymour to Albury, that parallels the Melbourne to Sydney line, was leased to ARTC and converted to standard gauge.[9] Included was construction of the five-kilometre Wodonga Rail Bypass which eliminated 11 level crossings in that city.[10]

In July 2008 it was announced the standard gauge track from Maroona to Portland would be leased to ARTC for 50 years, with $15 million to be invested in the line.[11][12] The line was handed over in March 2009.[13]

Western Australia[edit]

In 2001, ARTC was granted rights for 15 years to sell access between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana, Perth, to interstate rail operators under a wholesale access agreement with the West Australian track owner Brookfield Rail.[6]

New South Wales[edit]

In September 2004, the Government of New South Wales owned Rail Infrastructure Corporation leased its interstate and Hunter Valley lines to ARTC for 60 years.[14][15][16] The lines covered by the lease are:

As part of this agreement ARTC agreed to the following investment programmes:[16]

  • $192 million to build the Southern Sydney Freight Line, a new dedicated southern access route for freight trains through the south-western Sydney metropolitan area from Sefton to Macarthur. Opened in January 2013.[17][18]
  • $152 million to upgrade the Hunter Valley network, including track strengthening and $67 million to eliminate bottlenecks, increasing the capacity of the network from 85 million to over 100 million tonnes per year.
  • $186 million to upgrade the Main South line from Macarthur to Albury. The investment will improve signalling, extend the length of crossing loops and replace the Murrumbidgee Bridge at Wagga Wagga. It will assist in reducing the transit times for freight trains between Sydney and Melbourne by three hours.
  • $119 million for the North Coast line from Maitland to Border Loop including replacement of the 1920s signalling system between Casino and Border Loop. The investment will assist in reducing the travel time for freight trains between Sydney and Brisbane by up to 3.5 hours.
  • $21 million for the Broken Hill line between Parkes and Broken Hill, including funds to raise height clearances allowing the passage of double-stacked container trains.

The then NSW Rail Infrastructure Corporation also contracted operational responsibility of the remainder of its country branch lines to ARTC from September 2004.[19] From January 2012 this was transferred to the John Holland Group.[15][20][21]

In July 2011, responsibility for the Werris Creek to North Star line was transferred from the Country Rail Infrastructure Authority.[22]

In August 2012, the Government of New South Wales owned RailCorp leased its Sydney Metropolitan Freight Network line from Port Botany to Sefton to ARTC for 50 years.[23][24]


In January 2010, the Government of Queensland leased its standard gauge line from Border Loop on the New South Wales border to Acacia Ridge, Brisbane to ARTC for 60 years.[25]

In February 2014, the Australian Government and Queensland Government agreed to investigate further incorporating Queensland into the national rail network.[26]


ARTC does not operate any trains, but provides and maintains the infrastructure for train operators to run on. The tracks controlled by ARTC are located in five states, and were previously run by six separate state railways in an uncoordinated fashion that gave an advantage to road transport. By combining the infrastructure under one corporation it was expected that a more integrated and coordinated one-stop-shop would be created.

ARTC does not control any of the narrow gauge track in Queensland or South Australia, nor broad gauge track in Victoria. However it does control the Albion to Jacana freight line which has been partially converted to dual gauge for use as a passing lane, but is considered a main line on the broad gauge network.

Owned corridors[edit]

Leased corridors[edit]


  1. ^ "About ARTC". Australian Rail Track Corporation. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "About Defined Interstate Rail Network". Australian Rail Track Corporation. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Annual Report 30 June 1999 Australian Rail Track Corporation
  4. ^ Background - Organisation of Australia's Railways Department of Infrastructure and Transport
  5. ^ "ARTC History". Australian Rail Track Corporation. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Annual Report 30 June 2001 Australian Rail Track Corporation
  7. ^ Historic Deal Heralds New Rail Infrastructure Investment in Victoria Australian Rail Track Corporation 30 May 2008
  8. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2008 Australian Rail Track Corporation
  9. ^ "Full steam ahead" ABC News 30 May 2008
  10. ^ "V/Line returns after North East Rail Revitalisation", Railway Gazette, 29 June 2011, archived from the original on 29 December 2013 
  11. ^ Future of Portland to Maroona rail line secured Port of Portland 16 July 2008
  12. ^ "Rail track upgrade announced for Portland" ABC News 16 July 2008
  13. ^ V/Line Weekly Operational Notice No 11/2009
  14. ^ Memorandum between The Commonwealth of Australia & The State of New South Wales & Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited Australian Rail Track Corporation
  15. ^ a b The Agreement in Summary (PDF), Australian Rail Track Corporation 
  16. ^ a b Annual Report 2003–04 (PDF), Australian Rail Track Corporation, 30 June 2004, archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2013 
  17. ^ Southern Sydney Freight Line Project Australian Rail Track Corporation
  18. ^ New Line to Reduce Congestion on Sydney Rail Network Opens Australian Rail Track Corporation 21 January 2013
  19. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2005 Australian Rail Track Corporation
  20. ^ John Holland to manage NSW regional rail Rail
  21. ^ Country Rail Network John Holland
  22. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2011 Australian Rail Track Corporation
  23. ^ ATRC & Transport for New South Wales sign historic agreement to boost rail freight in NSW Australian Track Access Corporation 5 August 2012
  24. ^ ARTC gains control of Sydney Metropolitan Freight Network Rail
  25. ^ Queensland standard gauge rail line - leased to ARTC Australian Rail Track Corporation 15 January 2010
  26. ^ Truss, Warren; Emerson, Scott (25 February 2014). "ARTC to Investigate Incorporating Queensland into National Rail Network" (Press release). Archived from the original on 25 February 2014.