The section will involve significant engineering works, including tunnelling, and was identified by the Australian government as requiring private sector support in its May 2017 $A 8.4bn ($US 7.2bn) financial commitment to the overall Inland Rail project.

Inland Rail CEO, Mr Richard Wankmuller, said ARTC is continuing to gauge market appetite for the opportunity to deliver the Inland Rail PPP section from Gowrie to Kagaru.

“Private sector involvement in the design, build, finance and maintenance of the PPP section of the Inland Rail programme is critical,” Wankmuller says. “The PPP enables ARTC to access major Australian and multi-national builders and engineers to harness innovative design solutions and more efficient construction methodologies. This is a program of national significance and ARTC is seeking a partner to deliver the most technically-challenging section which includes dual gauge track, major earthworks and complicated tunnels and bridges through the Toowoomba, Little Liverpool and Teviot ranges.”

“The ROI allows us to confirm the likely bidding field for the PPP while also signalling to the market that we are making progress on the procurement process ahead of the formal Expressions of Interest process in early 2019,” he says.

Construction on the Gowrie to Kagaru segment is expected to run from 2021 to 2025.