The $10 billion Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Programme moves a step closer with some red tape now cut as the Coordinator-General helps progress a 73-km stretch from Toowoomba to Grandchester.
In effect this clears the way for the environmental assessment process for the 26km, $1.35 billion Gowrie to Helidon and the 47km, $1 billion Helidon to Calvert sections which are particularly tricky bits of the project.
Both sections will require rigorous planning and engineering to address the potential impacts of flooding in the region.
Environment Minister Lynham says the Coordinator-General would release draft terms of reference for environmental impact statements in May.
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is delivering the 10-year freight programme, which will carry 50 intermodal round trips between Melbourne and Brisbane each week by 2050.
It has identified a broad corridor but is yet to finalize alignments.
The project is in 13 sections over a route that runs through regional Victoria and central-west New South Wales.
It crosses the border into Queensland near Yelarbon and will be delivered in five sections to Acacia Ridge.