Accessing rail networks

We regulate third party access to support competition by enabling competitors (i.e. ‘third parties’) to access essential infrastructure which cannot be economically duplicated, such as electricity and gas distribution systems, water storage and distribution system, rail tracks and port channels. 

As an example, we ensure that the track owned by Aurizon Holdings may also be used by other transport operators. This provides customers such as coal miners with options about the haulage of their product. 

By opening up access, competition is enhanced in related markets such as electricity and gas retailing and rail transport. 

A rail access undertaking, such as those approved by the QCA for Aurizon Network and Queensland Rail, sets out the general terms and conditions under which an operator will provide access to the relevant parts of its below-rail (track) infrastructure.

In broad terms, it identifies the railway managers’ obligations, including:

  • framework for access negotiations
  • ringfencing arrangements
  • utilisation of network capacity
  • Pricing principles (reference tariffs) and the mechanism for varying those tariffs
  • reporting requirements.