High Speed Rail in Australia

The Australian Government is planning for a future High Speed Rail Network to connect Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and regional communities across the east coast of Australia. The first stage is the Sydney to Newcastle connection.

The Authority is progressing with planning and exploring opportunities to leverage international expertise. This will assist with planning and delivering a High Speed Rail network for Australia.  


A future High Speed Rail network will:

  • Provide fast and reliable services on a dedicated alignment, improving productivity and access to services such as health and education
  • Provide comfort, convenience and safety for customers, integrated with other transport networks
  • Support better housing availability and affordability
  • Catalyse local precincts with housing, commercial and community facilities
  • Contribute to achieving net zero emissions for Australia
  • Provide opportunities for local skills, employment and manufacturing.

Current progress

The Australian Government committed $500 million to progress planning for a future High Speed Rail network, and allocated  $78.8 million to deliver the Sydney to Newcastle High Speed Rail Business Case.

The Authority will provide the Business Case to the Australian Government by the end of 2024.

Project scope for investigation

Investigation for the Sydney to Newcastle High Speed Rail Business Case includes:

  • A new dedicated High Speed Rail alignment between Newcastle and Sydney
  • New High Speed Rail stations within Newcastle, the Central Coast and Sydney
  • Improved integrated transport networks connecting with the High Speed Rail network
  • New High Speed Rail trains capable of travelling at speeds exceeding 250 km/hr
  • Stabling, maintenance, rail systems and power upgrades
  • Future proofing for the broader High Speed Rail network connections to Brisbane and Melbourne.

Work packages

Eight work packages were released to market on 15 March 2024 to support the Authority deliver the Sydney to Newcastle High Speed Rail Business Case. All eight work packages have been awarded.

An industry briefing was held on Wednesday 27 March 2024 with 350 participants. Additional industry events are being planned for later in the year.

The packages include:

First Nations People Cultural and Heritage Advisory Services

First Nations People Participation and Engagement Services

Commercial, Delivery Strategy and Industry Engagement Services

Transport, Land Use and Property Advisory Services

HSR Network Rail Operations Planning Services

Project Controls Services (costs, schedule and risk)

Economics, Funding & Financing and Demand Modelling Services

Technical Advisory, Design and Environment Assessment Services

Business Case work packages awarded

Following a competitive and open tender process, the Authority engaged industry expert advisers with extensive experience in planning and delivering major infrastructure projects like high speed rail.

Work is now progressing on developing the Sydney to Newcastle High Speed Rail Business Case by the end of 2024.

Our next major milestone is progressing onsite studies like geotechnical investigations to test ground condition. This important work will help inform high speed rail corridor alignment and stations locations.

Frequently asked questions

Previous Australian Government studies

Previous Australian Government High Speed Rail Studies can be found through the links below: