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Alan Joyce says no to high speed rail link

By Jazz - 10 October 2012 26

In a story covered on ABC online Qantas head honcho Alan Joyce has not only dismissed Canberra as a viable second airport for sydeny in the short term, but also put the sword to any notion of a fast rail link between Sydney an Canberra on.

Tim Bohm, Party President of the Bullet Train for Canberra Party and candidate for Molonglo said:

“Alan Joyce is only worried concerned about Alan Joyce, we take pride and are extremely happy to be dismissed by Alan Joyce. While Alan is stuck in the horse and buggy era countries like Sweden have recently showed that even with a smaller population they can make it happen – they are building a Bullet Train from Stockholm (pop 864000) to Linkoping (pop 104000) over a distance of 200km, and are spending around $13 billion. We can make it happen here by spending less to go further and transport more people.”

“This backward thinking is why the Bullet Train for Canberra Party exists.”

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26 Responses to
Alan Joyce says no to high speed rail link
Postalgeek 2:51 pm 10 Oct 12

harvyk1 said :

Using the example of the Stockholm to Linkoping high speed rail, each man, woman and child, both tax payers and non tax payers in both cities will need to front up $13,429 to cover the cost of building it.

“I’m sorry little Timmy, your allowance money for the next 13 years will be diverted to paying for the high speed rail, I’m sure you understand”

As opposed to more than that amount spent every year on roads and associated costs?

An Australian Conservation Report found we spend 4.3 times more on roads than rail:

While $11.3 billion was spent on road construction around the country in 2008-9, $5.1 billion was given away as subsidies by the Federal Government through the Fuel Tax Credits program (2007-08)2 and more than $1 billion was spent through the Fringe Benefits Tax to encourage the private use of company cars (2008-09). These high figures starkly contrast with the $3.3 billion spent in 2008-9 on rail construction.

Certainly argue the economics of rail, but don’t forget to factor in the vast sums of money are already pouring into the road system.

Besides, people get fixated on a train that can beat an airplane.

I’d be happy with a train that could get me to the city centre inside two hours. And it would still beat most of the flights I’ve had, factoring in traveling to airport, check-in, security, waiting in the departure gate, flight time, disembarking, baggage claim, and travel from the airport. And don’t even get me started about delays.
And I could use mobile broadband at the very least.

As long as the train can beat the car and offer more comfort at a price that competes with the cost of fuel to drive, it’ll be a desirable option.

c_c 2:42 pm 10 Oct 12

I haven’t looked into this much, but just speaking generally, haven’t train lines traditionally brought development to where they are laid out? And where train lines have gone defunct, the development dies off.

So yes, Canberra may not have the population density to warrant it now, but if you build a rail corridor with a one hour or better commute to Sydney, surely commuters in Sydney who already spend that kind of time commuting will come. Seems very short sighted.

Postalgeek 2:27 pm 10 Oct 12

MrPC said :

Everybody knows the most viable route for a high speed rail service to escape Canberra would be Canberra to Batemans Bay, not Canberra to Sydney. Maybe swing past Queanbeyan, Captains Flat and Braidwood along the way and throw in some commuter traffic.

Sydney is a dump and I don’t know why people would actually want to go there.

Absolutely correct and ridiculous to suggest otherwise, though the rail will need to branch at Bateman’s Bay as most people will want to continue their journey beyond that point.

HenryBG 2:23 pm 10 Oct 12

MERC600 said :

Aren’t we a bit to far to be a second airport for Sydney. Gatwick is 45k from London, Stansted is 64, Luton is 56. Canberra is , well I dunno , but it’s certainly more that say Luton is from central London.

So you haven’t used BR or the M1 much, then?

HenryBG 2:21 pm 10 Oct 12

harvyk1 said :

Using the example of the Stockholm to Linkoping high speed rail, each man, woman and child, both tax payers and non tax payers in both cities will need to front up $13,429 to cover the cost of building it.

“I’m sorry little Timmy, your allowance money for the next 13 years will be diverted to paying for the high speed rail, I’m sure you understand”

Or, to put it another way, each man, woman and child will be up for $700 per annum to fund the train, offset by any paying passengers that might end up using it.

I wonder how much each man woman and child is currently paying, per annum, for transport costs including freight, road maintenance including snow and ice clearing and emergency response?

$700pa – the price of registering a motor vehicle – could be a good deal.

In other news, “putting optic fibre in the ground also costs lots of money : luddites vow to stick with copper”.

ex-vectis 1:55 pm 10 Oct 12

While I have absolutely no time for Alan Joyce (Qantas used to be such a great airline :-()) I have to agree with him.

I asked the Bullet Train for Canberra party for some figures as, being a bit of a couch tree-hugger, I really considered voting for them. By my own very rough calculations the Bullet train would need to be able to make enough profit (after running costs) to pay about $1.1 Million per day back to the startup investment ($10 Billion).

I was really looking for details of their estimates for running costs and revenue – and where the revenue would come from. But unfortunately, nothing has come from that request.

Pirate_Biggles 1:44 pm 10 Oct 12

Here is an interesting bit of data:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World's_busiest_passenger_air_routes
Sydney to Melbourne is #5. Of course any move to change this would impact Qantas’ bottom line.

A high speed train system Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne would put this air traffic on a much more efficient system.
A bullet train for passengers, a freight line for heavy goods, and bus/regional links to service the main hubs.
This has multiple benefits – Less air traffic, fewer trucks/buses/cars on the roads, quicker and more efficient travel, as well as freeing up a large portion of Sydney’s airports for international flights.

Even a decent high speed train system would be enough.
The wiki article on Australian High Speed Trains is surprisingly informative.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_Australia

The lack of infrastructure upgrades to keep up with changing rail technology is causing us more harm than good, and has relegated interstate rail travel to the position of last choice for Canberrans.
I wager Alan Joyce’s opinion would rapidly change if the rail links were actually decent in this country.

Stuart Biggs
Pirate Party ACT for Molonglo

MERC600 1:32 pm 10 Oct 12

Aren’t we a bit to far to be a second airport for Sydney. Gatwick is 45k from London, Stansted is 64, Luton is 56. Canberra is , well I dunno , but it’s certainly more that say Luton is from central London.

harvyk1 1:25 pm 10 Oct 12

Using the example of the Stockholm to Linkoping high speed rail, each man, woman and child, both tax payers and non tax payers in both cities will need to front up $13,429 to cover the cost of building it.

“I’m sorry little Timmy, your allowance money for the next 13 years will be diverted to paying for the high speed rail, I’m sure you understand”

Chop71 1:22 pm 10 Oct 12

poor Qantas

Jerry Atric 1:10 pm 10 Oct 12

It’s the freight,stupid! An upgraded track to take freight and with a tilt train to take passengers would see the current link viable in the first instance and would be the catalyst for dormitory towns (both for Canberra and Sydney) to develop which would in turn create demand for VFT or MagLev. Unfortunately the vested interests of airlines and road freighters are holding back progress.

rosscoact 1:04 pm 10 Oct 12

Alan Joyce is the Smithers to Geoff Dixon’s Monty Burns

rhino 12:53 pm 10 Oct 12

That bullet train in Sweden frankly sounds like a disaster of epic proportions. 13 billion to transport people from what is frankly a small town to a medium city. I really hope it doesn’t end up something like that here.

But i think it can be done a lot better and we have larger populations in our 2 connecting cities.

MrPC 12:31 pm 10 Oct 12

Everybody knows the most viable route for a high speed rail service to escape Canberra would be Canberra to Batemans Bay, not Canberra to Sydney. Maybe swing past Queanbeyan, Captains Flat and Braidwood along the way and throw in some commuter traffic.

Sydney is a dump and I don’t know why people would actually want to go there.

pirate_taco 12:18 pm 10 Oct 12

“Buggy whip manufacturer says no to automobile”

Alan Joyce thinks small and short term, and only cares about his immediate bottom line. See the way that he stranded thousands of travellers to make a point in an IR dispute last year?

Canberra could be viable as Sydney’s second airport, but it would need a high speed rail link to be possible, however it would impact on the profitable Canberra>Sydney plane route, so of course Alan Joyce would oppose it.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT for Ginninderra

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