The billion dollar railway project will ultimately link the Surat Basin with Gladstone Port to provide export facilities for dozens of coal projects being established in the area.
Queensland premier Anna Bligh said the proposed route will be closely examined by government authorities and detailed environmental, social, economic and engineering investigations completed.
The proposed rail corridor largely follows existing road reserves including the Leichhardt Highway, Nathan Road and Cracow-Theodore Road. It will join existing Queensland Rail lines between Wandoan and Toowoomba and Moura and Gladstone.
The corridor passes around Wandoan with options to the east or west of the town, and continues along Nathan Road towards Cracow before passing to the east of Theodore.
The rail project is being coordinated by Surat Basin Rail, a consortium including the Australian Transport and Energy Corridor, Industry Funds Management, Queensland Rail, Xstrata Coal and Anglo Coal.
"The Southern Missing Link is designed to join up with the proposed Wiggins Island Coal terminal so that coal exports can be maximised," Bligh said.
"The State Government is determined to see the Surat Basin railway built so that the region can fulfill its export potential for coal and, potentially, other future mineral and agricultural products."
A final decision on whether the project will go ahead is not expected to be made before 2009.
Construction of the route, if chosen, will require 600 workers over a 30 month period.
Once built the railway will be open-access, accommodate trains up to 2.5 kilometres long and be under ownership of the state government.