The Regionerate Rail consortium has secured a A$5bn ($3.7bn) design and build contract from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for the Inland Rail project.

The consortium consists of Clough, GS Engineering and Construction, Webuild, Service Stream and Plenary Group.

Under the contract, the consortium will develop a 128km rail line between Gowrie and Kagaru.

This rail line with a new and upgraded rail track is said to be the most geographically challenging section of the project.

The scope of the work includes the construction of a 6.2km tunnel through the Great Dividing Range, which is claimed to be the largest diameter freight tunnel in the southern hemisphere.

Inland Rail project is a 1,700km rail line designed to connect Melbourne and Brisbane.

ARTC Inland Rail interim chief executive Rebecca Pickering noted that the Regionerate Rail consortium was selected following a two-year process.

Pickering further said: “This landmark agreement is huge for Inland Rail and puts billions of dollars in stimulus, jobs, and long-term economic growth on the table for Queensland, through construction, Inland Rail is expected to support more than 11,800 jobs and deliver a $7.8bn boost to the state’s economy during construction and the over the forward operations.”

Following the completion of the section between Gowrie and Kagaru, the public-private partnership contract will also comprise a 25-year maintenance phase.

The Forrestfield-Airport Link, a rail service connecting the eastern suburbs with the city centre, is also being completed by the group.

In July last year, Webuild and its joint venture partners won a contract to excavate a portion of the base tunnel for the Turin-Lyon high-speed railway.