Queensland Rail was established as a Government Owned Corporation on 1 July 1995, with shares held equally between the Treasurer and the Minister for Transport and Main Roads. Prior to this date, Queensland Rail had been the trading name of Queensland Railways.
Until July 2010, Queensland Rail was responsible for the provision of infrastructure and the operation of train services over the entire government owned rail network in Queensland. As a State Government Owned Corporation administering Australia's largest rail network, Queensland Rail's clients included commuters, tourists, freight businesses, mining companies and agricultural enterprises.
From 1 July 2010 two companies, Queensland Rail and QR Limited, were established by gazette notice as per the Infrastructure Investment (Asset Restructuring and Disposal) Act 2009. The former retained operation of passenger networks and services while the latter assumed responsibility for freight networks and services. By transfer of shares authorised by gazette notice in September 2010, QR Limited ceased existence as a Government Owned Corporation and became a private entity called QR National. QR National went on to adopt the name Aurizon in December 2012.
On 3 May 2013, Queensland Rail also ceased operation as a Government Owned Corporation. The Queensland Rail Transit Authority Act 2013 established the Queensland Rail Transit Authority as a Statutory Authority, while defining a change of name from the Queensland Rail Transit Authority back to Queensland Rail 30 days after the date of assent of the Act.
Until July 2010, Queensland Rail's functions included:
-Providing transport services to the mining, minerals processing & electricity generation industries
-Transporting container traffic and bulk fuels between major industrial, regional and mining centres
-Carrying livestock, sugar, grain and other primary produce between centres
-Providing a door-to door network for small freight
-Accommodating the needs of tourists and long distance rail travellers
-Supplying safe, fast and comfortable passenger rail travel in South-East Queensland
-Developing and maintaining a railway network covering most population centres of the State
-Providing transport & logistics business solutions throughout Queensland, Australian and Overseas
-Exporting railway technology and expertise to countries including Hong Kong, Iran, India, Vietnam and Uzbekistan
From July 2010 QR National (later Aurizon) assumed responsibility for the former national coal and freight operations of Queensland Rail, including the supporting workshops, track construction and maintenance functions for the freight business. Queensland Rail retained responsibility for Queensland’s passenger networks and operations, and supporting infrastructure and maintenance services for the passenger business.
At the time of Queensland Rail's change in status from Government Owned Corporation to Statutory Authority in 2013, it provided three main passenger services (the City Network, Regional Access and Long Distance Commuter and Tourist Services) under four core business functions (Network, Rail Operations, Access and Business Strategy and Customer Service).
At the time of establishment as a Government Owned Corporation in 1995, the administrative structure of Queensland Rail incorporated a Board of Directors and support executives including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who was appointed by the board. At this time, Queensland Rail was comprised of four business groups (Coal and Minerals, Freight, Citytrain and Traveltrain) each with their own Group General Manager.
While the overarching structure of a Board of Directors supported by a CEO and various executives remained constant throughout Queensland Rail's tenure as a Government Owned Corporation, there were periodic changes in administrative structure, usually resulting in a change of number, title and functions of the various business or working groups and their associated executives. For example, in 1998, the four original business groups were increased to six (Coal and Mainline freight, Metropolitan and Regional services, Infrastructure Services, Network Access, Workshops and Technical Services), but were still administered by Group General Managers operating under the direction of the CEO and his Deputy Chief Executive.
By 2009, just prior the sale of QR National, Queensland Rail operated under a Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, supported by a Chief Financial Officer, Chief Corporate Services Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and the Executive General Managers of the QR National Coal, QR Freight, QR Passenger, QR Services and QR Network working groups. The changes in administrative structure following separation of Queensland Rail and QR National in 2010 reflected the new passenger-focused direction of the business, resulting in the appointment of a Chief Safety and Environmental Officer, Chief Strategy and Corporate Services Officer, Chief Communications Officer, Chief Customer Officer and a Chief Operations Officer in lieu of working group Executive General Managers.
This structure remained largely unchanged following Queensland Rail's transition from Government Owned Corporation to Statutory Authority in 2013.