Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fast Trains for Australia

Below is a letter I have sent to Victorian Senators Kim Carr (Labor), Stephen Conroy (Labor), Steve Fielding (Family First), Gavin Marshall (Labor) using this website: Fast Trains for Australia


It's time Australia invested in a high speed rail on the East Coast corridor (linking Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne).

The existing rail services between Australia's major cities are slow, infrequent, and can be more expensive than air travel!  They are also slower than bus services.

The aviation industry is responsible for 3.5% of anthropogenic cimate change (IPCC), while average passenger kilometres are increasing by 5% each year. We cannot afford for aviation to continue expanding. But we do want to travel between our cities!

Aside from the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, road congestion already costs Australia $10 billion a year. And Australia's population is expected to increase to 26.7 million by 2026 and 36 million by 2056.

Modelling indicates it would cost around $13 billion to build the corridor today, but if it's put off it the cost could balloon to $57 billion by 2030.

High-speed rail is being rolled out in countries across Europe, the US and Asia as a way to link up major cities, reduce congestion and battle pollution.

Please know that we Australians want to get with the program!

Yours sincerely,
Peter Campbell


Ben Courtice said...

Great idea. And if the route utilised the Western plains of NSW (very flat open country - relatively easy/cheap for fast trains) it would be pretty close (relatively) to Adelaide as well. I can imagine a big interchange around Griffith or Hay with routes going to all points of the compass.

Grant said...

Evening Peter
In theory fast trains are good idea to support airlines through reducing flights required, but unless cost of tickets is dramatically cheaper, the public will continue to prefer air. My son recently traveled around Europe and mainly used air as VFT fares were so expensive.
Having said the above, the major problem will be, and as has been in the past when looked at by Governments, is the $13+ billion starting price tag.
As far as I am aware, no Gov would be able to locate $13+ billion in savings, to be able to pay for the rail corridor (maybe by shelving the NBN which appears to be heading towards being a white elephant).
No savings elsewhere would result in fare levels being so high, no one would use the service. Remember unless savings are used, the Gov's would need to go offshore to borrow the money, especially after business got its fingers burnt building / finishing the Darwin / Adelaide rail link for freight, and losing millions.
Sorry, but I believe that, like in the past, Gov's will set up committees to look at new interstate VFTs, but bury the idea due to funds required, and funds available.

Ben Courtice said...

Heaven help us if we have to rely on the current govt and opposition to get a VFT in Australia. But in terms of prices, the rising petrol price - projected in one CSIRO scenario to reach $8/litre by 2018 from memory - could make plane flights rather more expensive. Of course that wouldn't make trains cheaper. Yet I remember not so long ago (less than 20 years), the normal way for working class people to go from (say) Melbourne to Sydney was bus or maybe train, despite the 13 hour trip. Because air travel was so much more expensive, with buses similar to today's air fares.
So even without the climate imperatives of going zero-emissions, there are ways to push for upgraded rail services.