THE Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has appointed Regionerate Rail, a consortium comprising Plenary Gorup, Clough, GS Engineering and Construction, Webuild and Service Stream, as the preferred bidder to construct the $A 5bn ($US 3.79bn) 128km Gowrie - Kagaru section the of Inland Rail project.

Webuild says the contract covers the most geographically challenging section of the 1700km Brisbane - Melbourne line. It includes the construction of a 6.2km tunnel through the Great Dividing Range, which will be the largest single-bore freight tunnel in the southern hemisphere.

The contract also includes constructing a 28km new line through the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley region in Queensland.

The contract is being delivered as a public-private partnership (PPP) and includes a 25-year maintenance phase after completion.

The $A 14.8bn Inland Rail project includes 1200km of significant track upgrades, enhancements and 500km of new track. ARTC has divided the route into 13 sections for design and construction purposes.

ARTC aims to start full operation in 2028, with journeys taking 24 hours along the full length of the line.

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