Climate group wants to see one third of road freight moved to rail

Shifting one third of road freight to rail is one of the moves being suggested by the Climate Council in order to halve transport pollution by 2030.

The Inland Rail project – a 1600km freight railway set to connect Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland – is being touted as a solution to take thousands of trucks off roads each year.

But the project, which was due for completion in 2027, has come under the spotlight due to its progress, budget blow-outs and concerns over port access and flood risk in particular areas.

The idea is that double-stacked trains up to 1.8km long, with a 21-tonne axle load and maximum speed of 115km/h, will be able to carry the equivalent of 110 B-double trucks.

When the Inland Rail was announced in 2017, the estimated cost was $9.3 billion. By 2020 that increased to $16.4 billion.

A review into the Inland Rail completed in April last year found that the project cost had blown out to a whopping $31.4 billion, with the completion date looking more like 2030-31.

The project is now taking a staged approach to deliver the line between Beveridge, Victoria and Parkes, NSW, which has been prioritised for completion by 2027.

With that being said, is shifting a third of road freight to rail even a viable option?

Along with moving a significant portion of road freight to rail, in order to halve transport pollution in Australia by 2030, the Climate Council also suggests:

  • Increasing shared and active transport. For example, walking, riding, electrified public transport and rideshare; and
  • Electrifying shared fleets, so one-third of all passenger kilometres are travelled by electric vehicles by 2030, by prioritising vehicles like taxis, rideshare and fleet vehicles.

1 Comment

  1. we went away from rail for general freight becuase of cost. everytime a item gets handled that costs money. with rail freight items had to be loaded on a truck and brought to the rail yards to be then reloaded into goods wagons, then be shunted into a train then the whole process repeats at the other end. the only exception was businesses that had a rail spur into there sites as they could load wagons directly. it was also never helped by the fact we have 4 different rail gauges on the east coast.

    a issue for goods freight in Qld is the coal trains there simply isn’t enough slots on the line to get them past Gladstone.

    inland rail can only work if it is containerised freight otherwise the handling cost is too high. and the only trucks it will take off the road will be those that travel between the major centres of Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane.

    and how do you cart the containers to/from the rail head? with trucks!
    yes going short distances its easier to have battery electric or fuel cell vehicles as you dont need big range as you can go back to a depot and charge/refill easily.

    but we will still have conventional trucks for some time yet to do the longer distances between the outlying towns and cites to bring freight to and from those rail heads.

    its much more practical to electrify our public and personal transport than the road freight industry beyond last mile pick up and deliveries.

    we can have a bigger impact to the emissions levels by getting away from coal and gas for our power generation as that is our biggest source and the easiest to abate we already have the technology we just need to spend the money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend