Railway operator Queensland Rail owns more than 6500 km of track in Queensland, which services the passenger, tourism, resources and freight customer markets. Its regional network covers the Mount Isa, North Coast, Western, West Moreton, South Western and Central Western lines.
Queensland Rail is a statutory authority, operating through the wholly owned subsidiary Queensland Rail Limited. While Queensland Rail is vertically integrated, this is only in respect to its passenger services. It does not operate freight services. Access by third parties to Queensland Rail’s below-rail infrastructure (that is, rail tracks and associated infrastructure, such as signalling) is based on terms and conditions set out in an access undertaking. The current undertaking (the 2016 access undertaking), approved by the QCA, is due to expire on 30 June 2020.
Regional freight systems
Queensland Rail’s network business provides services to rail operators on the regional freight systems, including negotiating access to the network.
The regional freight network extends south to Brisbane, Wallagarra and Cunnamulla, north to Cairns and Normanton, east along the coast and west to Mount Isa, Winton and Quilpie.
South east Queensland (city) network
Queensland Rail also operates the south east Queensland network, which is an integrated passenger and rail access service. It extends from the centre of Brisbane, south to Beenleigh and Varsity Lakes on the Gold Coast, north to Ferny Grove, Caboolture and Gympie, east to Cleveland and west to Richlands, Ipswich and Rosewood.
Third party access
The QCA on 14 September 2017 issued Queensland Rail with an initial undertaking notice under section 133 of the QCA Act, requiring it to submit a draft access undertaking (DAU) by 30 April 2018.
The QCA on 15 February 2018 approved a three month extension to the period for Queensland Rail to submit. The DAU is now due by 31 July 2018.
The QCA considers that this should provide sufficient time to have an appropriate replacement undertaking approved when the 2016 access undertaking terminates in June 2020.
Queensland Rail’s 2016 access undertaking came into effect in October 2016 and terminates on 30 June 2020. The undertaking sets out the terms and conditions under which Queensland Rail provides access to its rail infrastructure. These include, for example, Queensland Rail’s obligations, the process for an access seeker to negotiate access and the way disputes in relation to access are to be resolved. The undertaking also provides rules for setting prices.
Information on how the 2016 access undertaking was developed and approved can be found on the 2015 draft access undertaking page.
The QCA published its decision on Queensland Rail’s 2015 draft access undertaking in June 2016. The decision was not to approve the draft. Queensland Rail submitted an amended 2015 DAU on 15 September 2016.
The QCA approved the amended 2015 DAU on 11 October 2016, and it then became the 2016 Access Undertaking. The amended 2015 DAU and the QCA’s letter to Queensland Rail about its decision can be downloaded from the ‘Final approval’ folder.