Rail freight movements have grown in Australia by 11 per cent over 2014-15, highlighting the increasing significance of Australia’s rail network.

Data released in Trainline 4, a report that documents growth in passenger journeys and freight movements across Australia in 2014-15, shows 1.23 billion net tonnes transported throughout the year, up from 1.11 billion tonnes in 2013-14.

Similarly, passenger patronage grew five per cent in 12 months, providing 849.48 million passenger journeys during 2014-15 or 2.3 million passenger journeys every day of the year.

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) CEO, Danny Broad, said Trainline 4 provided proof that rail continues to be a vital component of Australia’s transport system and the broader economy.

“Rail provides the backbone of our nation, moving freight and passengers 365 days a year in increasing quantities,” Mr Broad said.

“Rail freight now moves almost half of Australia’s national freight task, a huge jump from approximately 36 per cent in 2000. Clearly this confirms rail role in moving goods around Australia and highlights the importance of continuing to invest in our freight networks.

“Constructing the Inland Rail freight line from Melbourne to Brisbane is the highest priority for rail freight operators. It will provide a dedicated North – South rail freight route and allow rail to compete with road.”

Sydney’s passenger rail network continues to provide the highest journey-to-work for city-centre commutes, where 46 per cent of workers travel by train.

“As our populations continue to grow, so too does the importance of mass transport and the role of rail in keeping our cities moving,” said Mr Broad.

“If our cities come to a standstill, our productivity and GDP will be impacted. The rail investment being undertaken in our cities will transform rail’s service offering but it is vital that this investment is sustained into the future to keep our growing cities moving.”

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