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The airport going it alone with high speed rail

johnboy 12 June 2012 63

rail terminal design

Canberra Airport have announced their latest grand plan.

They’ve unveiled plans for a high speed rail terminal at the airport, despite there being no high speed rail line.

“This terminal will provide a seamless interface for passengers arriving in Canberra by air ready for their 57
minute train trip to Sydney.

“The facility will cost $140 million (in 2012 dollars) and take two years to build.

“Canberra Airport is today committing to funding the HSR terminal project and will be in a position to consider a start date once the timetable for the HSR is confirmed.”

Mr Byron said Stage Two of the Commonwealth Government’s HSR study was due to be completed by the end of this year, including finalising recommendations for the route.

“We know that Sydney Airport and its surrounding transport infrastructure are already facing capacity issues, and that the Joint Study into Aviation Capacity for the Sydney Region advised that passenger demand in the region (including Canberra and Newcastle) will increase from the 2010 level of 40 million to 58 million in 2020 and 88 million by 2035.

“We also know from Stage One of the HSR study that patronage demand for regional fast train services to and from Canberra will be 11 million in 2036, that the cost per trip between Canberra and Sydney will be around $40 for non-business and $95 for business. The Infrastructure Partners Australia (IPA) report tells us the trip from Canberra to Sydney will take 57 minutes.

“The high speed rail will be a significant, nation-building project with substantial benefits to the Australian economy, from jobs during construction and for the local steel industry, to international tourism, as well as relieving the congestion endured by Sydneysiders as the population grows to six million in 2036.

“The HSR from Canberra to Sydney should be delivered by 2020, with the terminal at Canberra Airport constructed over the last two years of that period.”


UPDATE 12/06/12 16:01 The Greens are thrilled but want a station in Civic too.


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63 Responses to The airport going it alone with high speed rail
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PA1 PA1 2:49 pm 14 Jun 12

I had a look at the department of infrastructure’s report into high speed rail and what it did put forward as the main suggestion was that the Canberra section would operate as a spur line to the main Melbourne to Sydney HSR line.

Now you may be thinking why wouldn’t the line just go west after Canberra. The main reason for this is that the terrain west of Canberra is quite mountainous and would require billion of dollars worth of tunnels, so to reduce cost, Canberra will be a terminus.

Now what I suggest for Canberra is a terminal around the Kingston/Majura corridor so that the track can use the flat and unpopulated area (to reduce cost) and a light metro link (not a tram) to the city as a part of a Canberra light metro system. A trip from the city to the train terminal should take less than 10 minutes and cost significantly less than building a station at the city.

lindilou lindilou 1:04 pm 14 Jun 12

Madam Cholet said :

Primal said :

Holden Caulfield said :

I’m pretty sure most punters will happily make the 15 minute commute from the City to the airport to get on board.

For a weekend away in Sydney, the notion of being able to park at the airport and get to Sydney in under an hour by train? Would be awesome.

You seem to think that you will still be alive when they finally build this. Even if they do build it in your lifetime, you might be holed up in your old-aged pensioners accommdation being spoon fed by then

Looks like someone here’s an optimist.. (I’m being the most sarcastic I can be, if you didn’t get it already)

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 12:50 pm 14 Jun 12

Primal said :

Holden Caulfield said :

I’m pretty sure most punters will happily make the 15 minute commute from the City to the airport to get on board.

For a weekend away in Sydney, the notion of being able to park at the airport and get to Sydney in under an hour by train? Would be awesome.

You seem to think that you will still be alive when they finally build this. Even if they do build it in your lifetime, you might be holed up in your old-aged pensioners accommdation being spoon fed by then

JC JC 7:17 am 14 Jun 12

mcs said :

Perhaps I don’t have very sensitive ears in terms of pressure – as I’ve travelled across Europe on HSR, including on the Eurostar and on the 250 km/h + DB and OBB Railjets, and the only time ive really noticed the pressure effect was in the Chunnel Tunnel on the Eurostar, which is understandable. Apart from that I’ve never really noticed the effect to be honest. I suppose for 99% of people it really isn’t a particularly noticeable effect, but of course there are always some people that will have trouble. Just like with people that have trouble with their ears when flying.

Go and catch the TGV Atantique from Paris to the South East of France. This line was built with small sections of tunnels where trains operate at true high speed. On this line the pressure shock entering the tunnel is very noticeable. Due to this the next batch of trains they ordered were pressurised to minimise to pressure shock.

But as I said above the big issue with long tunnels isn’t passenger comfort but air resistance. A train in a tunnel is like a big plunger and the faster you go the more resistance. You have 3 options. One is to make the tunnel larger, this is what happens in small length tunnels, two you slow down, which is what happens in the channel tunnel, the tunnel into London and many European tunnels or you somehow get more power into the train to push on. The first and last options are not easy nor cheap so slow down is the prefered option.

JC JC 7:10 am 14 Jun 12

lindilou said :

Why don’t you take a look Federal Government’s stage 1 report? And the HSR route would mostly have to be above ground anyways, like in Japan, which also helps reduce noise pollution!

HSR cannot run in tunnels anyway due to air resistance within tunnels. At high speed you need a massively oversized tunnel plus somewhere for the air to escape.

However that being said there is no reason why you couldn’t have a smaller length of tunnel near the end (under Northborne) that operates at lower speed. HS1 which is the line the Eurostar runs on from London to the channel tunnel is a good example. This line runs in tunnel for 20-30km under East London but runs at 200km/h (which is considered low speed for Europe). Once clear of the tunnel it speeds up to 300km/h+ then slows again for the channel tunnel then up again in France.

If we were to use France as an example what they seem to do is place TGV stations on the through line even if that is out of town. So lets say the line from Melb to Syd ran to the north of Canberra the station would probably need to be in the fields out the back of hall.

EvanJames EvanJames 11:52 pm 13 Jun 12

poetix said :

There is something delightfully Thunderbirds about that image or model of the airport with the little planes all lined up. I’m just waiting for Virgil and Brains, and Parker and Lady Penelope in Fab 1. I hope at least one other person knows what I’m talking about!

Brains’ sister is currently on Masterchef. But the planes all parked around the cardboard terminal look a bit like something Lady Penelope would be involved in. Unfortunately, the Misterons are on to it.

poetix poetix 9:32 pm 13 Jun 12

There is something delightfully Thunderbirds about that image or model of the airport with the little planes all lined up. I’m just waiting for Virgil and Brains, and Parker and Lady Penelope in Fab 1. I hope at least one other person knows what I’m talking about!

caf caf 9:08 pm 13 Jun 12

EvanJames said :

caf said :

EvanJames said :

The bloody airport, what they’re going to build is a train terminal! That’s it! No tracks, no nothing. Just a terminal. What on earth are they up to this time? Building a huge, multi-million dollar terminal will pressure the government into building them a train line to Sydney?

I don’t think you read very far into the article. They’ve announced plans; they haven’t said they’re actually going to execute on the plans (which would be very silly). In particular:

[the airport] will be in a position to consider a start date once the timetable for the HSR is confirmed.”

They’ve had all kinds of plans for their various train dreams. I’ve seen one set (I think the terminal was under their projected Airport Hotel).

What this looks like is Snow builds a giant shed, calls it a train terminal, and then screws up his fists and demands the government do something about the lack of a train. And tracks.

No, it doesn’t. It looks a lot more like: Snow gets some pictures drawn of a train terminal, and offers to build it if there’ll be a train for it. Nowhere is it said or implied that the terminal would be built without a train, and the idea is preposterous.

That aside, I agree that governments shouldn’t let themselves be pressured by this kind of corporate lobbying – but nonetheless such lobbying is Snow’s right.

lindilou lindilou 8:30 pm 13 Jun 12

dungfungus said :

HSR can’t use tunnels as the pressure wave is very uncomfortable for the passengers. It isn’t going to happen in this century anyway.

Actually it’s as bad as you say. Japan’s HSRs go through many tunnels and I’ve only experience a little pressure, which can be relieved very easily (by trying to exhale through your nose while blocking it). The pressure you get is equivalent to what you get on an airplane.

EvanJames said :

They’ve had all kinds of plans for their various train dreams. I’ve seen one set (I think the terminal was under their projected Airport Hotel).

What this looks like is Snow builds a giant shed, calls it a train terminal, and then screws up his fists and demands the government do something about the lack of a train. And tracks.

Just because some rich privateer wants to get richer, doesn’t mean he gets to rail-road the government to spend tax dollars to faciliate the process. Even the non-experts in transport here can see that a train based at the aiport is a terrible idea.

I support more rail insfrastructure, we have a lot of catching-up to do. But this is one thing that does need to be properly scoped and studied, because it’s stunningly expensive and it has to be got right. Letting Snow’s mob dictate how it will happen is a bad, rotten idea.

Thank you!

EvanJames said :

do you know why that is? The aiport made it so. It contracted out the Airport bus service to Deanes buslines (queanbeyan). Action cannot go there. Action does go to Majura Park, and Fairbairn Park, but it has to go past the airport.

I’ve always wondered that. Thanks for that. Stupid Canberra Airport.. They don’t care about Canberrans at all!

dungfungus said :

I honestly don’t know anyone who has caught a bus from the Canberra Airport to the city – in fact I don’t know anyone who has caught a bus (except on a pre-arranged tour) from any airport anywhere.
Most people are either picked by colleagues or family up or they catch a cab. I can’t imagine anyone spending thousands of dollars on an overseas trip returning to Canberra to catch a series of buses to get home; they usually pay the $50 (maximum payable for the extremities of Canberra) for a cab. Imagine trying to lug a couple of suitcases on and off an Action bus “Could you help me Mr. bus driver?” Yeah, right.

Which is why we need light rail or better!

mcs mcs 7:45 pm 13 Jun 12

dungfungus said :

fun size said :

dungfungus said :

HSR can’t use tunnels as the pressure wave is very uncomfortable for the passengers. It isn’t going to happen in this century anyway.

The HSR in China uses tunnels. From my memory, the pressure change going into them at 300km/h was noticeable but not unpleasant.

Fair comment but I think these Chinese tunnels are at very high altitudes (9000 metres) where the air is relatively thin and the carriages may be pressurised – they certainly have oxygen available. The effect is much greater and uncomfortable at about 1000 metres. I have travelled on the “standard speed” trains (160 kmh) between Paris and Frankfurt and the tunnel pressure effect is quite painful on the ears. It is worse when another train passes while still in the tunnel.

Perhaps I don’t have very sensitive ears in terms of pressure – as I’ve travelled across Europe on HSR, including on the Eurostar and on the 250 km/h + DB and OBB Railjets, and the only time ive really noticed the pressure effect was in the Chunnel Tunnel on the Eurostar, which is understandable. Apart from that I’ve never really noticed the effect to be honest. I suppose for 99% of people it really isn’t a particularly noticeable effect, but of course there are always some people that will have trouble. Just like with people that have trouble with their ears when flying.

I like the idea of high speed rail in this country, in fact I think it would be wonderful, but there is very little political will to make it happen, so I can’t see it happening any time soon. And like others, I’d much prefer a station closer to civic.

dungfungus dungfungus 6:08 pm 13 Jun 12

EvanJames said :

lindilou said :

Almost non-existent public transport with ACTION Buses not serving the airport, all we have is that “Airport Express” thing… Absolutely useless and expensive!

do you know why that is? The aiport made it so. It contracted out the Airport bus service to Deanes buslines (queanbeyan). Action cannot go there. Action does go to Majura Park, and Fairbairn Park, but it has to go past the airport.

I honestly don’t know anyone who has caught a bus from the Canberra Airport to the city – in fact I don’t know anyone who has caught a bus (except on a pre-arranged tour) from any airport anywhere.
Most people are either picked by colleagues or family up or they catch a cab. I can’t imagine anyone spending thousands of dollars on an overseas trip returning to Canberra to catch a series of buses to get home; they usually pay the $50 (maximum payable for the extremities of Canberra) for a cab. Imagine trying to lug a couple of suitcases on and off an Action bus “Could you help me Mr. bus driver?” Yeah, right.

dungfungus dungfungus 5:59 pm 13 Jun 12

fun size said :

dungfungus said :

HSR can’t use tunnels as the pressure wave is very uncomfortable for the passengers. It isn’t going to happen in this century anyway.

The HSR in China uses tunnels. From my memory, the pressure change going into them at 300km/h was noticeable but not unpleasant.

Fair comment but I think these Chinese tunnels are at very high altitudes (9000 metres) where the air is relatively thin and the carriages may be pressurised – they certainly have oxygen available. The effect is much greater and uncomfortable at about 1000 metres. I have travelled on the “standard speed” trains (160 kmh) between Paris and Frankfurt and the tunnel pressure effect is quite painful on the ears. It is worse when another train passes while still in the tunnel.

fun size fun size 4:36 pm 13 Jun 12

dungfungus said :

HSR can’t use tunnels as the pressure wave is very uncomfortable for the passengers. It isn’t going to happen in this century anyway.

The HSR in China uses tunnels. From my memory, the pressure change going into them at 300km/h was noticeable but not unpleasant.

EvanJames EvanJames 3:10 pm 13 Jun 12

lindilou said :

Almost non-existent public transport with ACTION Buses not serving the airport, all we have is that “Airport Express” thing… Absolutely useless and expensive!

do you know why that is? The aiport made it so. It contracted out the Airport bus service to Deanes buslines (queanbeyan). Action cannot go there. Action does go to Majura Park, and Fairbairn Park, but it has to go past the airport.

EvanJames EvanJames 3:07 pm 13 Jun 12

caf said :

EvanJames said :

The bloody airport, what they’re going to build is a train terminal! That’s it! No tracks, no nothing. Just a terminal. What on earth are they up to this time? Building a huge, multi-million dollar terminal will pressure the government into building them a train line to Sydney?

I don’t think you read very far into the article. They’ve announced plans; they haven’t said they’re actually going to execute on the plans (which would be very silly). In particular:

[the airport] will be in a position to consider a start date once the timetable for the HSR is confirmed.”

They’ve had all kinds of plans for their various train dreams. I’ve seen one set (I think the terminal was under their projected Airport Hotel).

What this looks like is Snow builds a giant shed, calls it a train terminal, and then screws up his fists and demands the government do something about the lack of a train. And tracks.

Just because some rich privateer wants to get richer, doesn’t mean he gets to rail-road the government to spend tax dollars to faciliate the process. Even the non-experts in transport here can see that a train based at the aiport is a terrible idea.

I support more rail insfrastructure, we have a lot of catching-up to do. But this is one thing that does need to be properly scoped and studied, because it’s stunningly expensive and it has to be got right. Letting Snow’s mob dictate how it will happen is a bad, rotten idea.

LivesUnderBridgeEatingGoats LivesUnderBridgeEatingGoats 2:30 pm 13 Jun 12

Will they also build a parking area for the unicorn I will ride to this station from home? I mean, while we’re discussing fantasy stories we might as well go the whole hog.

dungfungus dungfungus 1:42 pm 13 Jun 12

watto23 said :

Most of the high speed trains I caught in Europe stopped both at the main rail station and another stop in the city, eg Frankfurt airport. Its not a big stretch of the imagination to assum any VFT would need a CBD and airport stop in every city.
You’d also add stops along the route, so for the not so express servic trains could take 1 1/2 hours Canberra to Sydney but stop twice in places like Goulburn, Mittagong, Wollongong etc. Same for extending to Newcastle. You’d need two stops there, just because the airport is a lot further away from Newcastle.

Canberra isn’t a Frankfurt and it will never be so all comments about the VFT are largely academic because it isn’t going to happen.

caf caf 1:28 pm 13 Jun 12

EvanJames said :

The bloody airport, what they’re going to build is a train terminal! That’s it! No tracks, no nothing. Just a terminal. What on earth are they up to this time? Building a huge, multi-million dollar terminal will pressure the government into building them a train line to Sydney?

I don’t think you read very far into the article. They’ve announced plans; they haven’t said they’re actually going to execute on the plans (which would be very silly). In particular:

[the airport] will be in a position to consider a start date once the timetable for the HSR is confirmed.”

cea075 cea075 1:23 pm 13 Jun 12

I’d like to know where the rail line splits. I only see a single line in, so where will the Canberra Airport line join the main line of the HSR?

watto23 watto23 11:49 am 13 Jun 12

Most of the high speed trains I caught in Europe stopped both at the main rail station and another stop in the city, eg Frankfurt airport. Its not a big stretch of the imagination to assum any VFT would need a CBD and airport stop in every city.
You’d also add stops along the route, so for the not so express servic trains could take 1 1/2 hours Canberra to Sydney but stop twice in places like Goulburn, Mittagong, Wollongong etc. Same for extending to Newcastle. You’d need two stops there, just because the airport is a lot further away from Newcastle.

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