The spectre of the VFT rises again

johnboy 28 September 2009 51

[First filed: July 14, 2009 @ 10:16]

The Canberra Times brings word that dreamers on the North Canberra Community Council and the Canberra Business Council are optimistically trying to kick start a national debate on a high speed inland rail line linking Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne.

Apparently they’ve got some un-named local business people muttering about maybe providing some sort of support in future. Not that the combined investment power of the entire Canberra business community could come within 400 miles of funding such a project even if they were inclined to do so, which they are not. They’d just really like to make some money from the taxpayers paying for it.

Canberra’s market for rail transport doesn’t even justify electrified rail services, something most of the rest of the developed world knocked over forty years ago. (yes I realise that if there was a faster service people might choose not to fly or drive)

It should, however, be noted that the Chief Minister is making encouraging noises:

    ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says a very fast train linking Canberra to other major cities on the eastern seaboard is not a pipe dream but inevitable.

But check out this statement for an idea just how blue sky this lot is:

    Other interests such as the North Canberra Community Council have suggested the airport should be kept out of the equation and a very fast train taken into the heart of the city.

So they want to cut Canberra in half and build an overpass for every single road crossing this sucker? You can’t do level crossings for very fast rail lines.

It’s well worth noting that countries with successful high speed rail services already had extensive rail networks and all share high population densities.

Very Fast Train

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Photo:


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
51 Responses to The spectre of the VFT rises again
Filter
Order
deye deye 6:28 pm 14 Jul 09

JC said :

The problem with Maglev technology is it is not compatibile with existing lines (so poses difficulties getting into city centres such as Sydney), it is very costly and the speed advantage is not all that much greater than modern steel wheel technology. On paper an extra 150km/h seems a lot, but in practice it isn’t especially for the cost.

Sure but steel wheel is near it’s max whereas maglev is just beginning so has much further to grow in the future.

If you want a bit of light reading have a look at the East Coast Very High Speed Train Scoping Study Phase 1 – Preliminary Study Final Report (be warned it’s 42 MB PDF) from 2002. It does a brief analysis of the various corridors including Sydney/Canberra.

The way I see it is it’s not the end to end run that’s the important one, but the parts closer to each end. eg live in Goulburn, come to Canberra for work each day, or for a shopping trip, or a night out etc. The end to end run is just an added bonus. The other thing is they would have to run frequently enough to make them useful to as many people as possible.

JC JC 6:08 pm 14 Jul 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

The whole point is that it doesn’t have to be as fast as flying (airport to airport), it just just has to be as fast as city centre to city centre. Once you take taxis each way and faffing around at the airport out of the equation, I reckon getting central Canberra to central Sydney in 2 hours would be fine. Canberra to Sydney is what – 250kms? Even with a couple a quick stops a train that could reliably average 160km/h would probably be fast enough.

And if it could be done for reasonable prices (ie less than $100 a seat), it would get a pretty good following. I’d use it over flying any day.

Whilst you are right about travel times, the problem with Canberra/Sydney is the existing line cannot be upgraded to 160km/h. So you would need a new line so may as well that bit more and go for 350km/h, using steel on steel of course. In Canberra it should terminate in the City not at the airport, so bring it in near Watson and put it under Northbourne and build a tram on top when finished.

The problem with Maglev technology is it is not compatibile with existing lines (so poses difficulties getting into city centres such as Sydney), it is very costly and the speed advantage is not all that much greater than modern steel wheel technology. On paper an extra 150km/h seems a lot, but in practice it isn’t especially for the cost.

taco taco 5:50 pm 14 Jul 09

Rudd should have built a VFT instead of repainting school halls and buying people new TVs

We had a once in a lifetime opportunity (huge government surplus waiting to be spent at the same time as the biggest economic downturn since the 1930s) and it’s been blown without much to show for it except that we’ve avoided a “technical recession” by boosting retail spending for one quarter.

heinous heinous 5:39 pm 14 Jul 09

They’ve been talking about this since i was a kid too. Surely this means it is inevitable.

old canberran old canberran 5:35 pm 14 Jul 09

It’ll never happen. They’ve been talking about this idea for 30 years.

grunge_hippy grunge_hippy 4:48 pm 14 Jul 09

they’ve been talking about this since i was a kid.\

it will never happen.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 3:46 pm 14 Jul 09

RandomGit said :

Underground, in a brave new world, with just a handful of men, they can start all over again.

Haha, awesome!

AG Canberra AG Canberra 2:47 pm 14 Jul 09

Yes Skidd

But Syd and Melb do have the populations – and putting the line via Canberra is viable if the run is from Syd to Melb….

A Syd to Canb line only would indeed be useless….

Ozi Ozi 2:32 pm 14 Jul 09

Trains are cool, no doubt about it, and a MagLev one would be great. But with airfares consistently between $25 and $50 for a flight from Canberra to Melbourne, I don’t know if there would be much market for it!

bren bren 2:28 pm 14 Jul 09

Skidd Marx said :

I was wondering when this retarded idea would resurface.

The bottom line is we don’t have the population to sustain such a radical and astronomically costly undertaking.

Now lets move on and get back to making cars fly…

I agree, a Sydney to Canberra VFT is not viable. But I would think that a Melb – Can – Sydney line with extensions to Newcastle – Gold Coast – Brisbane would be viable… especially in 10 -15 years (the time it would probably take to build this) when our fuel prices will continue to increase & population grows – especially along the east coast.

There is also the economic benefit of job creation in building the actual line. I would say that this project (if it ever happens) would rival the Snowy Mountains Scheme in terms of nation building.

Either way, there is no harm in actually getting a study to show us the pros & cons of the project… especially its viability.

Skidd Marx Skidd Marx 2:04 pm 14 Jul 09

I was wondering when this retarded idea would resurface.

The bottom line is we don’t have the population to sustain such a radical and astronomically costly undertaking.

Now lets move on and get back to making cars fly…

deye deye 1:33 pm 14 Jul 09

johnboy said :

Generally the trains enclose the track, there’s no daylight.

Have a look at the photos on the wiki page.

This wiki page is a better one, first photo on right
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transrapid

look further down and you’ll see a fmailiar one 🙂

ant ant 1:24 pm 14 Jul 09

Danman said :

RandomGit said :

In the cellar was a tunnel scarcely ten yards long, that had taken him a week to dig. I could have dug that much in a day, and I suddenly had my first inkling of the gulf between his dreams and his powers.

ah ha, that’s what that was from! Now I recognise it.

I think a decent, common garden modern train service is the go. One that can take people AND stuff. Long haul bulk truck transport is a disaster and it’s a disgrace they dug up train lines everywhere. Remember, we pay for those roads the trucks are on, and they are what messes up the roads, making holes and lumps and bumps needing fixing.

Danman Danman 1:06 pm 14 Jul 09

RandomGit said :

Underground, in a brave new world, with just a handful of men, they can start all over again.

In the cellar was a tunnel scarcely ten yards long, that had taken him a week to dig. I could have dug that much in a day, and I suddenly had my first inkling of the gulf between his dreams and his powers.

Sounds very Stanhopian huh ?

johnboy johnboy 1:05 pm 14 Jul 09

So what we need is not some exotic passenger service, we need good old fashioned double track electrified rail all the way to Sydney via Goulburn.

Which would, incidentally, make for a much, much better passenger service too.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 1:04 pm 14 Jul 09

timgee2007 said :

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Although at an hour, it would be viable to live in Canberra and commute to Sydney for work.

Uh yeah – at $100 a seat?

Coulda sworn I read a whole lot of whinging and whining around here about the price of an adult bus ticket going up 80c to $3.80…so as long as the VFT, BFT or Cbr-Syd monorail can get you from city (centre) to city (centre) in under an hour and for less than $3.80, it’ll be a ripper!

(But what about those in Tuggeranong, Belconnnen, Queanbeyan, etc.?)

Don’t underestimate the ability of well paid professionals to pay. I know guys who live in Sydney but work in Canberra at $150-200 an hour. If they could travel home each night rather than pay for a hotel (and work on the train each way), it becomes extremely viable.

chewy14 chewy14 1:03 pm 14 Jul 09

Rail for freight is mostly dead in this country. Truck rules supreme.

S4anta S4anta 1:03 pm 14 Jul 09

Having a rail link coming into Canberra to move the goods from port or interstate, as per your last sentence is what it is all about I reckon.

Exposing the ACT production folk to cheaper, easier movement of goods to port for export.
Meeting all the ACT Govt’s clap trap about clean, environemntly friendly industry practices (transport of goods to market is seen as a major environmental cost).

The point about double handling is bang on, but I am thinking Stanhope is after this as it opens up ACT industry to easier exporting/receiving of goods, which shouldn’t be dismissed.

johnboy johnboy 12:44 pm 14 Jul 09

S4anta said :

I think you might find that the rationale for this is not for passenger transport.

There is quite sound reasoning for rail infratsructure to be used for the transport of goods, rather than road/air based freight. If the system is good enough it will eventually lead to lower costs to market which means lower price at point of sale.

Think greenhouse & carbon footprint costs, resealing of roads, bleh, bleh bleh.

Having a terminal point at the airport ties in with the whole frieght hub idea for Canberra airport for int’l goods coming into the Sydney market.

Going off on tangents about people moving is a too smaller scope on this one methinks. Rail infrastructure is a hell lot more than just passengers and train nerds looking at puffing billy.

VFT technologies are rarely compatible with freight. Now if we’re talking about standard electrified dual track between all major cities that would be very useful and great for freight.

But rail v. truck suffers greatly with double handling. Why load a container onto a truck, drive it to the rail-yard, load it on a train, wait for the train to arrive at the other end, load it back onto a truck and drive it to where it’s needed when you can just drive the first truck to the destination?

Goods produced adjacent to railway lines, or arriving on ships, going to other destinations also on railway lines, however, are a different story.

astrojax astrojax 12:39 pm 14 Jul 09

Peewee Slasher said :

I look forward to the VFT (Very Fast Train). If we’re going to consider this technological leap forwards, we should also investigate the BFT (Bloody Fast Train).

The BFT is the VFT with bells on. It should reduce commuting time between Canberra and Sydney to 1/2 hour.

Now, as for the FFT…

um, fairly fast train?

or will that be the ‘frequently failing train’?

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

 Top
Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site