Australian Rail Track Corporation

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Australian Rail Track Corporation
TypeStatutory corporation
Founded1 July 1998; 25 years ago (1 July 1998)
HeadquartersMile End, South Australia
Area served
All Mainland Australian states
Key people
Peter Duncan AM (Chairman)
Wayne Johnson (CEO)
Revenue$902.1 million (2021/22)
($717.7 million) (2021/22)
($655.1 million) (2021/22)
OwnerAustralian Government
Number of employees
2,187 (2022/23)

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is an Australian Government-owned statutory corporation.

It operates one of the largest rail networks in the nation spanning 8,500km across five states, 39 worksites.

ARTC continues to expand the network through major infrastructure projects including Inland Rail, which is a new 1,700km freight line between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland that will complete Australia’s national freight network and better connect producers to markets.


In November 1996, the Australian 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 ARTC to manage the sections of the interstate rail network which had been controlled by the two former organisations.[1]

ARTC was incorporated in February 1998, with operations starting in July 1998 when the lines managed by Australian National's Track Australia were transferred to it.[2][3][4] These were the lines from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, Tarcoola to Alice Springs, Port Augusta to Whyalla, Adelaide to Broken Hill, Adelaide to Serviceton, and the Outer Harbor line in Adelaide.[2][5] Its inaugural CEO was David Marchant.

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 North East line from Albury to Melbourne and the Western standard gauge line from Melbourne to Serviceton.[2][7] This was later extended for another 10 years, and in May 2008 for another 45 years.[8][9]

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

In March 2009, the Portland line from Maroona to Portland would be leased to ARTC for 50 years, with $15 million to be invested in the line.[12][13][14]

ARTC also manages the Oaklands railway line between Benalla, Victoria and Oaklands, New South Wales.

Western Australia[edit]

In 2001, ARTC was granted rights for fifteen years to sell access between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana, Perth, to interstate rail operators under a wholesale access agreement with the Western Australian track-lessee Arc Infrastructure.[6]

New South Wales[edit]

In September 2004, the New South Wales Government-owned RailCorp leased its interstate and Hunter Valley lines to the ARTC for 60 years.[15][16][17] The lines covered by the lease are:

As part of this agreement, ARTC agreed to the following investment programmes:[17]

The Rail Infrastructure Corporation also contracted operational responsibility of the remainder of its country branch lines to ARTC from September 2004.[20] From January 2012, this was transferred to the John Holland Group operating as the Country regional Network.[16][21][22]

In July 2011, responsibility for the 370 kilometres (230 miles) Mungindi line from The Gap to Boggabilla line was transferred from the Country Rail Infrastructure Authority to the ARTC.[23][24]

In August 2012, RailCorp leased its Metropolitan Goods line from Port Botany to Sefton to the ARTC for 50 years.[25][26]


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.[27]

In February 2014, the Federal and Queensland governments agreed to investigate further incorporating Queensland into the national rail network.[28] This ultimately did not proceed.


ARTC does not operate any trains, but provides and maintains the infrastructure for train operators to run on. ARTC controls tracks in all mainland states. These were previously run by five separate state railways in an uncoordinated fashion that gave an advantage to road transport.[29] By combining the infrastructure under one corporation it was expected that a more integrated and coordinated one-stop-shop would be created. It provides its own reporting numbers to trains that operate on its network. It also allows Commonwealth officers undercover privileges presenting as staff of ARTC.[citation needed]

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. It was transferred from VicTrack in May 2009.[30]

Owned corridors[edit]

Leased corridors[edit]


ARTC is the client for the Advanced Train Management System (ATMS) being developed by Lockheed Martin. This will replace older signalling and safe-working systems particularly in remote areas, such as deserts, where communications and power infrastructure is poor.


  1. ^ Track Australia goes ahead Railway Gazette International January 1996 page 5
  2. ^ a b c Annual Report 30 June 1999 Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation
  3. ^ Background – Organisation of Australia's Railways Archived 4 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Department of Infrastructure and Transport
  4. ^ "ARTC History". Australian Rail Track Corporation. Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  5. ^ Here & There Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin issue 730 August 1998 page 312
  6. ^ a b Annual Report 30 June 2001 Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation
  7. ^ Intelligence Railway Gazette International December 2000 page 794
  8. ^ Historic Deal Heralds New Rail Infrastructure Investment in Victoria Archived 5 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation 30 May 2008
  9. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2008 Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation
  10. ^ "Full steam ahead" Archived 6 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine ABC News 30 May 2008
  11. ^ "V/Line returns after North East Rail Revitalisation", Railway Gazette International, 29 June 2011, archived from the original on 29 December 2013
  12. ^ Future of Portland to Maroona rail line secured Archived 21 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Port of Portland 16 July 2008
  13. ^ "Rail track upgrade announced for Portland" Archived 8 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine ABC News 16 July 2008
  14. ^ V/Line Weekly Operational Notice No 11/2009
  15. ^ Memorandum between The Commonwealth of Australia & The State of New South Wales & Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation
  16. ^ a b The Agreement in Summary (PDF), Australian Rail Track Corporation, archived (PDF) from the original on 11 April 2013, retrieved 14 November 2012
  17. ^ a b Annual Report 2003–04 (PDF), Australian Rail Track Corporation, 30 June 2004, archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2013
  18. ^ Southern Sydney Freight Line Project Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation
  19. ^ New Line to Reduce Congestion on Sydney Rail Network Opens Archived 18 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation 21 January 2013
  20. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2005 Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation
  21. ^ John Holland to manage NSW regional rail Archived 28 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Rail Express 8 December 2010
  22. ^ Country Rail Network Archived 16 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine John Holland
  23. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2011 Archived 11 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation
  24. ^ ARTC Takes Up West Coal Link Motive Power September 2011 page 6
  25. ^ ATRC & Transport for New South Wales sign historic agreement to boost rail freight in NSW Archived 20 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine Australian Track Access Corporation 5 August 2012
  26. ^ the ARTC gains control of Sydney Metropolitan Freight Network Archived 4 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine Rail Express 15 August 2012
  27. ^ Queensland standard gauge rail line – leased to ARTC Archived 2 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Australian Rail Track Corporation 15 January 2010
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "Robel signs transport system deal with ARTC". Global Railway Review.
  30. ^ "Albion - Jacana Transferred to ARTC". Newsrail. Vol. 37, no. 7. Vic: ARHS Victoria Division. July 2009. p. 215. ISSN 0310-7477. OCLC 19676396.