Toot Toot! High Speed Rail to include Canberra. (If it happens)

By 4 August, 2011 44

rail route

The much leaked High Speed Rail Study has been released to the public and fortunately Canberra has been included on the Brisbane-Melbourne mega route.

But before anyone gets excited this “Phase One” report doesn’t touch on financial viability, that will have to wait for “Phase Two”, which is expected in mid 2012 (all before a single sleeper is laid).

But if it does get built they’re talking about stops at both Civic and Canberra Airport.

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44 Responses to Toot Toot! High Speed Rail to include Canberra. (If it happens)
#1
churl3:15 pm, 04 Aug 11

If I recall correctly, the last time this idea surfaced, the plan was to go souteast from Canberra, via Gippsland, to Melbourne?
This inland route would presumably be cheaper and perhaps faster?
The coast route might make it easier to deliver Sydneysiders to the snow (branch line)?

#2
caf3:27 pm, 04 Aug 11

The Hume Highway appears to be missing from that map.

#3
qbngeek3:46 pm, 04 Aug 11

caf said :

The Hume Highway appears to be missing from that map.

I was looking at it thinking ‘Isn’t there a major road missing somewhere’

#4
qbngeek3:49 pm, 04 Aug 11

churl said :

If I recall correctly, the last time this idea surfaced, the plan was to go souteast from Canberra, via Gippsland, to Melbourne?
This inland route would presumably be cheaper and perhaps faster?
The coast route might make it easier to deliver Sydneysiders to the snow (branch line)?

If it is viable for a snow route to run then you could run a branch line from Canberra or Tumut (with the addition of an appropriate stop of course).

I think a Tumut – Perisher – Jindy route could work. Snowtube from Perisher to Thredbo.

#5
colourful sydney rac3:51 pm, 04 Aug 11

I really hope this happens – it would be all kinds of awesome.

#6
johnboy3:54 pm, 04 Aug 11

Mountains and high speed rail do not make good bedfellows.

Not that it’s stopped the Japanese.

#7
Tetranitrate4:15 pm, 04 Aug 11

I’ll believe it when I see it. I remember hearing about plans for a Sydney-Canberra high speed rail link to be completed ‘in time for the Sydney Olympics’.

#8
johnboy4:17 pm, 04 Aug 11

Tetranitrate said :

I’ll believe it when I see it. I remember hearing about plans for a Sydney-Canberra high speed rail link to be completed ‘in time for the Sydney Olympics’.

Well, we all said that about the Alice-Darwin route, and then John Howard actually did it.

#9
peterepete4:20 pm, 04 Aug 11

At that price we should get two. Maybe we can choose between fibre or rail connectivity?

#10
Classified4:50 pm, 04 Aug 11

I don’t think the current government has it in them to run with something like this. It would be good if they did, though, I’d definitely use it. Imagine the convenience of doing Canberra to Sydney city centres in 90 minutes or so without stuffing around at the airports.

#11
grunge_hippy4:59 pm, 04 Aug 11

they’ve been talking about this since I was a kid… and I haven’t been a kid in a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time. well, at least chronologically.

i somehow don’t think it will be in my lifetime.

#12
ozmaniac5:11 pm, 04 Aug 11

It will never happen. Not enough usage to justify the cost. And cost is the only thing that will be considered.

Besides, can you see al the states agreeing? They would probably squabble over what gauge to use, like they did after Federation years ago. That petulance must have put this country 70 years behind.

#13
Henry825:26 pm, 04 Aug 11

From my experience taking countrylink, the cityrail network would be the major bottleneck. It really needs to be financially and time competitive against greyhound/murrays

#14
Postalgeek5:49 pm, 04 Aug 11

I’d be happy with medium speed rail, or even all-the-way rail.

#15
Ryoma6:04 pm, 04 Aug 11

I’d like (not that I expect to see it) both an inland and a coastal route approved, especially if our population heads towards 36 million by 2050.

We have a cultural desire to live by the coast, and I see no sign that that desire will fade over time. The NSW South Coast would love to grow, but at present is relatively isolated, as is East Gippsland in Victoria. Yes, I appreciate that there are environmental issues in running a track down there, but generating wealth also provides the manpower and resources to be able to really maintain the wilderness qualities of nationa parks etc, rather than having them become giant swathes of weeds and feral animals.

On the other hand, the Riverina is a food bowl – and quite important to Canberra for that reason. Without a viable population base west of the mountains, we’d be buying food from a lot further away.
I think a tunneling option to Tumut – and a station there – would be real nation building. Just like the South Coast, at present it is not on the way to anywhere, but the investment unleashed by having such a link could do wonders for the whole of the Eastern Riverina, and take the pressure off Wagga and Albury. Having a third regional city by 2050 would also allow other small towns in the area to flourish.

But the bean-counters already seem to have ruled it out in the report (sigh). I’d like to see us build something in recognition of what is possible, and creates benefits on a broad front, not just taking the cheapest, nastiest option and then wondering why our rural areas are dying and our cities choked with congestion.

Having the two routes would also allow for greater use of the trains to run in a circular pattern if need be, which strikes me as being more efficient.

#16
Watson6:06 pm, 04 Aug 11

ozmaniac said :

It will never happen. Not enough usage to justify the cost. And cost is the only thing that will be considered.

Besides, can you see al the states agreeing?

They would probably squabble over what gauge to use, like they did after Federation years ago. That petulance must have put this country 70 years behind.

In this case I think “build it and they will come” definitely applies. There’s never been anything like it in Australia and it will be well placed to compete with air traffic. Provided they keep the prices competitive of course. But even if it costs the same as the plane, lots of people would find the train more convenient and more pleasant.

#17
peterepete6:08 pm, 04 Aug 11

Anyone know what the loss to productivity of the recent ash cloud was?

#18
Mysteryman6:35 pm, 04 Aug 11

johnboy said :

Mountains and high speed rail do not make good bedfellows.

Not that it’s stopped the Japanese.

They just tunnel straight through them. The ocean hasn’t stopped them, either. Straight underneath!

#19
The Frots6:55 pm, 04 Aug 11

Anyone know when the first legislation was passed to develop a rail line between Canberra and Melbourne? It was in 1907…………………..and it still hasn’t progressed.

But, if it can (and there are all sorts of reasons why it would be a great development), then it should be done. High speed rail (HSR) is outstanding but it will nearly have to be a direct route. I can’t see the HSR being alongside the existing Melbourne to Sydney route unless they rip out the old rail and sleepers and rebuild.

It will also be a big economic boost to small towns like Seymour/Benalla which are near ghost towns now after the highway diversion. And of course great for us here!

#20
gazket8:06 pm, 04 Aug 11

another 10 years and another high speed train study. they are just procrastinating to get heat of current political situation. Labour couldn’t run a bath. High speed rail will never happen in our life time.

#21
mirage38:22 pm, 04 Aug 11

Its probably more of a Shelbyville idea.

#22
grunge_hippy8:43 pm, 04 Aug 11

mirage3 said :

Its probably more of a Shelbyville idea.

LOLS

+1

#23
JC9:32 pm, 04 Aug 11

Even if it is gonna cost $100B to build and won’t recover the constructions costs we should still be building it. Putting money into infrastructure rather than bribing voters with lower taxes, so they can waste that money on over inflated McMansions is what this country needs.

The only provisio is it has the demand to cover running costs, so the operation isn’t a long term viability and considering the fact that most people in Aus live in that corridor I think with out doubt the demand is there.

#24
yellowsnow9:59 pm, 04 Aug 11

They’ll probably give the contract to the folks who brought us the GDE, who’ll take 70 years to build a single track, before realising it’s a good idea to have two – one in each direction.

I very much doubt I’ll be able to travel by train between Canberra & Sydney in less than 4h 15mins in my lifetime

This is what’s known in the trade as a distraction. Pie in the sky announcable, with no commitment attached, released by govt when things are going badly. In this case they want people’s minds off the carbon tax and Gillard, neither of which are exactly selling like hotcakes. And then of course there’s Wayne … nuff said

#25
caf10:46 pm, 04 Aug 11

johnboy said :

Well, we all said that about the Alice-Darwin route, and then John Howard actually did it.

I’m given to understand that it was primarily the potential to transport the new M1A1s that drove that one, though. It’s worth remembering that this report was commissioned as part of the deal with the Greens – the Government aren’t pushing this.

On the other hand, those that worry about patronage should remember that Sydney-Melbourne is the fifth busiest air corridor in the world (and this is intended to compete with air).

#26
260410:50 pm, 04 Aug 11

Classified said :

I don’t think the current government has it in them to run with something like this.

I reckon they definitely do. It would make them popular with inner-city green elites as well as rural constituents. And, as you’ve probably noticed, their MO is to spend up big on these sorts of projects and then pay for them by taxing upper income earners (>$80k per year) more. As those upper income earners aren’t in marginal electorates, the political risk to Labor of these extra taxes isn’t all that great. That’s why they could throw money away on the NBN with no regard to what sort of return it might make – if it made money that was great, and if it didn’t, the “rich” would pick up the tab.

BTW, any high-speed train will never, ever stop at a place like Tumut.

#27
Pity11:11 pm, 04 Aug 11

Much prefer a high speed access to Sydney or Melbourne than high speed access to ebay or Facebook…

Boo to the NBN.

#28
Hosinator11:18 pm, 04 Aug 11

If you combined the cost of all the feasibility studies commissioned for this, you’d be half way towards funding the construction of the project.

#29
Mozzie11:52 pm, 04 Aug 11

JC said :

Even if it is gonna cost $100B to build and won’t recover the constructions costs we should still be building it. Putting money into infrastructure rather than bribing voters with lower taxes, so they can waste that money on over inflated McMansions is what this country needs.

The only provisio is it has the demand to cover running costs, so the operation isn’t a long term viability and considering the fact that most people in Aus live in that corridor I think with out doubt the demand is there.

The study says the railway could carry 54 million people per year in 2036. If people pay $100 per ticket, that is $5.4 billion per year. At a 6% return on investment, that would cover almost $100 billion in construction costs. By 2056, they are expecting passenger numbers to be almost 100 million per year.

But, the $100 billion cost includes options such as routing through the Gong which would be very expensive for little benefit so the cost should be smaller.

In any case, we quite happily spend billions on roads with absolutely no expectation of collecting revenue.

#30
whitelaughter12:00 am, 05 Aug 11

even the staunchest Laborites must know that they’re going to get clobbered at the next election – maybe they’re planning to ‘start’ this directly before the election so that the incoming govt gets saddled with the construction costs?

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