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This statistical report is a further development of the previous rail freight performance publications series Trainlines 1–4.These publications are collaborations between BITRE and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). Trainline 5 provides an overview of freight, urban and non-urban passenger rail.The report analyses traffic levels, the provision of infrastructure and rolling stock, and railway performance. Trainline 5 also has a case study on regional rail activity in the Albury-Wodonga region of New SouthWales and Victoria, examining the Ettamogah Rail Hub and SCT Logistics Intermodal Terminal.The case studies are for informative purposes only.

  • Based on aggregated ‘above rail’ provided data, intermodal and bulk tonnages and net tonne kilometres grew in 2015–16, building upon growth in the previous financial year. Australian railways carried more than 1.3 billion tonnes and 413 billion net tonne kilometres (NTKs) of freight. Bulk movements continued to dominate, accounting for approximately 98 per cent of tonnages.
  • • Iron-ore movements in the Pilbara region of Western Australia accounted for approximately 64 per cent of total national rail freight NTKs. Queensland and New South Wales coal transport comprised approximately 20 per cent of total national NTKs.
  • • According to ‘below rail’ provided data, intermodal designated tonnages grew on sectors of the north-south interstate network, particularly between Sydney and Brisbane, while tonnages on the east-west corridor mostly declined. • Scheduled intermodal freight train transit times on the ARTC and Arc Infrastructure interstate corridors are largely unchanged.The number of scheduled trains is also largely unchanged, except for the Melbourne–Brisbane corridor, where there has been an increase since SCT Logistics started running its own Melbourne-Brisbane trains in January 2017.
  • • Patronage on all urban heavy rail networks grew in 2015–16 (compared to the previous financial year), except Perth, which experienced a minor decline. Sydney had the largest growth, at approximately 10 per cent.
  • • In 2015–16, light rail patronage grew in all cities with light rail services. Sydney’s strong and ongoing light rail patronage growth continued – at almost 60 per cent, while Gold Coast patronage grew by approximately 22 per cent.
  • • Non-urban rail patronage grew in all states that provide these services, except Western Australia, which had a modest decline. Victoria had the highest increase, at 20 per cent.
  • Sydney still has Australia’s busiest urban heavy rail passenger network, with approximately 323 million passenger journeys in 2015–16. Nationwide heavy rail urban patronage for 2015–16 was approximately 682 million passenger journeys.
  • In 2016, urban heavy rail’s mode share had increased in all cities except Brisbane and Perth compared to 2011. Sydney had the highest heavy rail mode share.
  • Most cities exceeded their urban heavy and light rail punctuality targets, while non-urban (heavy) rail punctuality results were poorer.
  • Track and receival site upgrades in New South Wales have improved rail transport of grain product’s efficiency and cost effectiveness. Some grain, which previously travelled to port by road, is now travelling by rail. In Victoria, however, road became the dominant grain transport mode in the latest harvest season.
  • The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator now has nationwide management of rail safety.This will facilitate future consistent nationwide reporting on rail related safety
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