AN AMBITIOUS plan to build a new 500km rail line from Queensland's outback to the coastline of the Whitsundays has crashed into reality, with Indian powerhouse miner GVK now conceding it will take advantage of lines already circling much of Central Queensland.
The early plans from GVK Hancock Coal's major Galilee Basin mines - which feature billionaire Gina Rinehart as a partner - had it and Aurizon ignoring the hundreds of kilometres of line linking Queensland's current suite of mines.
It would build a standard gauge line, in opposition to the widespread narrow gauge, which can handle more coal.
But in its Monday announcement, both GVK and Aurizon have celebrated the realisation that it can work with existing infrastructure.
It is a compromise expected to save more than $1 billion in construction costs without sacrificing too much in coal volumes.
The line will still cost $6 billion and require 1300 workers to build and another 300 once finished.
For landholders, the changes will not be enough, because GVK and Aurizon are still proposing to build their initial plan some time in the future.
This new alignment also puts GVK one footstep closer to building its trio of enormous coal mines in the Galilee - Alpha, Kevin's Corner and Alpha West.
These three are designed to eventually pump out a combined 90 million tonnes of coal per year for export from Abbot Point.
The line, however, will be open to use by other mines being built nearby, including those from GVK's home-town rival Adani and newly-elected MP Clive Palmer.
The rail line will follow a path from the Alpha mine, north of the Alpha township, reaching Aurizon's rail network halfway between Moranbah and Collinsville.
If it can be justified, GVK and Aurizon will look to create a fork at Collinsville that would swing out west before returning into Abbot Point.
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