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Greens want to know where the trains are?

By johnboy - 13 January 2012 52

toy trains

The Greens’ Amanda Bresnan is wondering aloud where the railways have gone.

Recent responses to questions from the ACT Greens reveal that the ACT Government has not made a submission to the Federal Government’s high-speed rail study and is making limited efforts on local sustainable rail projects.

“Rail is a key transport mode for a sustainable Canberra. But the ACT Government gives us talk and no action when it comes to rail,” said Greens’ Transport Spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA.

“The most recent lack of action by the ACT Government is on high speed rail. Now is a key time for action, given the Federal Government is investigating proposals for an East coast high speed rail network.

“Last year I asked the ACT Government to consult with the Canberra public about possible high speed rail routes in and out of Canberra and the potential locations for a Canberra high speed rail station.

“I also asked the Government to present a proposal to the Federal Government making a case for the prioritised construction of the Canberra stages of the route.

“The ACT Government has not done this and, as of January 2012, it has made no submission to the Federal Government regarding high speed rail.

“I am also very concerned that the ACT Government is failing to progress opportunities for using rail freight.

“The Government’s most recent proposal is to defer any action to a future ‘ACT freight strategy’.

It would seem obvious this government has no interest in rail whatsoever.

UPDATE: The Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese is in the Canberra Times making a rare intervention into local matters and saying any ACT submission would be irrelevant.

FURTHER UPDATE: Chief Minister Gallagher has announced that she is in fact mad keen for a VFT.

The study is being carried out in two phases. Phase 1 was released in August 2011, by the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Transport. The study identified Canberra on the shortlisted corridors, both the Sydney – Canberra corridor and the Canberra – Melbourne corridor. Possible Canberra station locations include Civic and Canberra Airport. The study also indicated a total cost of between $61 to $108 billion, with 1,600kms of new track.

Phase 2 of this study has only just commenced, with the ACT Government again closely involved through the High Speed Rail Reference Group.

The Phase 2 study will be broader and deeper in the scope of its investigation and analysis. It will consider the preferred corridor and transport products, the medium term travel market, the economic, social and environmental impacts of the recommended program, the most appropriate institutional arrangements, and the implementation plan for delivering the program.

“This Government has put in years of effort into advocacy to other jurisdictions and the Commonwealth,” the Chief Minister said. “The Greens are now trying to play catch up.”

[Photo by foolish adler CC BY 2.0

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52 Responses to
Greens want to know where the trains are?
Richard Bender 1:19 pm 13 Jan 12

NoImRight said :

We are just lucky the Snowy Scheme was built in the 50s. It would never happen now.

Why not? The Snowy Mountains Scheme has one big advantage over the fast train project: it was subject to a detailed cost-benefit analysis by the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian governments and found to stack up. Different governments to those then in power may have not given it a high priority and may not have funded it, but at least those that did knew they weren’t blowing taxpayers’ money.

Balthazar 12:48 pm 13 Jan 12

In the UK they have recently announced that a high speed train link will be built from London to Birmingham, distance about 190 kms. This project is said to cost 33 Billion POUNDS for just less than 200kms of track. Like most projects the costs will blow out. What project of this complexity has ever come in on budget. It’s expected to be up and running by 2026.

Canberra to Sydney is further than 190 kms and you would be looking at closer to $100 Billion.

Do we have that much money to spend on this? We can borrow but should we be carrying so much debt?

The idea of a high speed train is fantastic but in this modern society where there are so many cost demands, unlike in the past, it becomes almost impossible to do these sort of projects.

NoImRight 12:27 pm 13 Jan 12

Trains are super. Looking at the picture makes me ask why I cant commute in Fireball XL5 but thats a whole different question.

Hopefully there is a Rooly Fast Train in our future but I cant see it happening for a long time.Governments of every colour are scared of spending any money as sooner or late an Opposition or angry member of the public will raise a poo storm over Government waste. Sadly it seems a VFT is more of a Shelbyville idea.

We are just lucky the Snowy Scheme was built in the 50s. It would never happen now.

Thumper 12:22 pm 13 Jan 12

Frankly we’d be better off simply connecting to the existing rail system by building a station at Hall, or thereabouts, so people can jump on the train and go straight to Sydney or Melbourne if they wish.

zippyzippy 12:20 pm 13 Jan 12

DermottBanana said :

Build a fast railway network between the Australian capitals, and the airlines will drop their fares to compete. Until it goes broke because it’s got a massive debt incurred to build the infrastructure.
Once it goes broke, airlines shoot fares back up, and screw us all over.
.

Yet this is not what happened elsewhere. I heard about Spain, for example. There, high speed rail has largely won over domestic air travel.

Also, fuel will be getting more and more expensive for planes – they can’t win for ever. Sooner we get started on the rail the better, I reckon.

DermottBanana 11:42 am 13 Jan 12

Build a fast railway network between the Australian capitals, and the airlines will drop their fares to compete. Until it goes broke because it’s got a massive debt incurred to build the infrastructure.
Once it goes broke, airlines shoot fares back up, and screw us all over.
That’s why it wont work – because there are vested interests which will sink it.
Personally, I hate flying, and enjoy train travel. But I looked recently at the prices of travel between Sydney & Brisbane. Rail is more expensive, slower, and despite being a 14-hour overnight trip, lacks sleeper facilities (unless I want to pay four times the airfare, instead of twice the airfare). On the Canberra run, the price is equally stupid, in that I could drive to Sydney & back costing less in fuel than if I took a train one-way, and if I drove, I could take 2-3 people with me, and have the convenience of a car at the other end.
Australia lacks the population density for such projects to work. Britain has three times our population in a landmass the size of Victoria. Japan’s density’s even higher.
It’s a simple equation, and one we’re not gunna change in our lifetimes.
So should our government be holding inquiry after inquiry to ask the same questions?
And should the tin-pot city council here be devoting resources to such an inquiry?
Yeah, the ACT government might have no interest in that inquiry. But considering how much we belly-ache around these parts about some things they do waste their (our?) money on, they’ve picked the right path with this one.

jsm2090 11:18 am 13 Jan 12

I partly agree with DermottBanana. Rail is critical in densely populated cities like Sydney, with poor roads choked up by freight trucks (I seem to remember reading that 70% of all discharged sea cargo at Port Botany never leaves the greater Sydney region) but probably isn’t viable here in the forseeable future.

I believe that the Spanish Madrid-Seville train route is similar in distance and population to our Syd-Cbr-Mel, and operates freight and high-speed passenger trains profitably, but for this to work here fuel will need to at least double in price, and we will need to live in higher density urban environments.

Erg0 11:16 am 13 Jan 12

The above picture is about as close as we’ll be getting to fast rail any time soon.

(Cue the Greens: “What is this, a train for ants?!?!”)

Snave81 11:13 am 13 Jan 12

Asking the public where they would like a fast train station would be a great idea Amanda. The constructive and useful feedback that is likely to be received is that there should at least be a station in every suburb similar to the expectation that ACTION should have a bus stop in front of everyone’s front door in case people want to catch a bus occasionally.

In the event that there was ever a fast train to Canberra, there should only be one stop so as to not delay the train journey too much and then it is likley to be under utilised as a fair proportion of ACT residents would probably not make the effort to travel to the station.

KB1971 11:09 am 13 Jan 12

Boarding…….

KB1971 11:08 am 13 Jan 12

winter said :

What about a fast rail between Canberra and Sydney? Pretty flat open country alot of the way should make it pretty cheap. I guess it might pull alot of business away from the airport though so whatever kickbacks they are getting from there might fall through.

Probably, I would HSR over air travel any day given the hassle of borading.

Martlark 11:07 am 13 Jan 12

DermottBanana said :

The fast train project wont fly

Of course not! It’s a train.

winter 11:00 am 13 Jan 12

What about a fast rail between Canberra and Sydney? Pretty flat open country alot of the way should make it pretty cheap. I guess it might pull alot of business away from the airport though so whatever kickbacks they are getting from there might fall through.

Thumper 10:57 am 13 Jan 12

Totally agree with Mr Banana.

DermottBanana 10:50 am 13 Jan 12

The fast train project wont fly. It’s uneconomical.
How many inquiries and committee reports do we need to tell us when we already know it?
I’m not surprised the ACT Govt has ignored the latest. It wont find anything different to any of the others.

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