Coal train

If the Galilee Basin coal projects are developed, railway lines to transport coal to the port would also need to be built.

The Galilee Basin is located about 400km from the Queensland coast and has no existing rail line with sufficient capacity to connect the undeveloped coal deposits of the Galilee Basin to coastal coal export ports.   In order to open up the Galilee Basin to coal mining for export, the Queensland Government has expressed preference for two rail corridors: one to service the central Galilee Basin and a second to service the southern Galilee Basin1.

The development of these railway corridors will be facilitated through the state government’s Galilee Basin State Development Area (GBSDA) plan. The GBSDA includes a number of measures to assist proponents in developing the rail corridors, including the right to compulsory acquisition of land.

There are a number of proposed railway lines that are currently being considered, including:

North Galilee Basin Rail Project (NGBRP)

A greenfield rail line in Central Queensland, connecting the Carmichael Coal Mine in the northern Galilee Basin to the port of Abbot Point. It is proposed by Adani, who have signed an agreement with South Korean construction company POSCO to construct the railway2.

The North Galilee Basin Rail Project would be a 310km standard-gauge railway line, scalable to 100 million tonnes per year capacity3.  The Revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the rail line shows it would use trains 4km long, carrying around 25,000 tonnes of coal4.

Local landholders have concerns about this rail project’s potential to damage land and impact on the hydrology of floodplains5.  The route of the North Galilee Rail Project proposal crosses highly flood prone country that regularly experiences flooding. The construction of the rail line on major floodplains would substantially change surface water flows and lead to altered flood patterns, with major flooding risking a significant loss of food-producing land6.

For more information visit the proponent’s project page, or the Queensland Government Project Overview.

Central Queensland Integrated Rail Project (CQIRP) 

This line, proposed by Aurizon, would run from the central and southern Galilee Basin before linking with existing lines taking coal to the port of Abbot Point near Bowen, or the Hay Point or Dalrymple Bay ports near Mackay.

For more information visit the Queensland Government project overview.

Alpha Coal Rail Project 

GVK Hancock are seeking to develop a greenfield rail project connecting the southern end of the Galilee Basin to the Port of Abbot Point.  The rail project forms part of the Alpha Coal Project proposal.

GVK Hancock Coal is in negotiations with Aurizon regarding a joint venture.  The signing of the final agreement was expected in the second half of 2014, but has been delayed until early 20157.

Under the joint venture proposal, an initial 300km of the 500km of rail corridor proposed by GVK Hancock will be constructed, connecting to existing Aurizon infrastructure.


Railroaded: Carving up food lands for coal transport in Central Queensland: A report from the Lock the Gate Alliance

  1. Galilee Basin Rail and Ports, Queensland Government 

  2. Adani and POSCO sign pact to develop rail line in Australia, Business Standard 

  3. North Galilee Basin Rail Project, Queensland Government 

  4. NBGBR Additional Information to the EIS-Appendix B Revised project description, GHD 

  5. Queensland Government approves North Galilee Basin Rail Line, ABC 

  6. Railroaded, Lock the Gate 

  7. Aurizon profit falls 43 percent, Sydney Morning Herald