High Speed Rail Allows For Faster Freight Trains

High Speed Rail Allows For Faster Freight Trains

Case For Capital City-Capital City High Speed Rail (HSR) Stacks Up

Victor P Taffa

Arguments that Capital City-Capital City HSR operating at speeds of 515 km/h does not stack up are wrong and unfounded.

HSR Corridors enables faster and more profitable Freight Train operations to every Capital City.

To then turn around and say that Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne need a different Rail Technology makes no sense at all.

Different Rail Technologies such as Third Live Rail simply slows down existing Rail Networks in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

On top of this are converting Heavy Rail lines to Light Rail and then pretending that separate Melbourne-Brisbane Freight corridors be built in the far distant years ahead ignores the fact that all Governments are heavily debt laden.

However the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built by the New South Wales Government during the Great Depression and opened on 19 March 1932.

Fanciful notions that abolition of State Governments will suddenly solve all the world’s problems are simply being peddled by Internationalist Politicians who dislike Australia.

Railway Corridors are largely owned by State Governments. Different Rail Gauges do exist however all cross border railway tracks are Standard Gauge or 4 ft 8 1/2 in.


Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)

On 1 July 1998 the Howard Federal Government established the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). Given that the Hawke Federal Government rejected construction of a Sydney-Canberra VFT (Very Fast Train) in 1984 it would seem that Australia is missing out on HSR in the world’s largest mainland island continent.

The only achievement that has been made since Australia rejected the VFT in 1984 is increased costs when Australia does build HSR Tracks and operate HSR services to every Capital City.

Federal Governments can easily establish a HSR Authority as a Division of ARTC. The sooner this happens the better. A HSR Authority can then negotiate with State Governments about how HSR interacts with all Capital City Railway Stations.

In 2010 ARTC conducted basic maintenance on the Sydney-Melbourne Railway Line. The single track suck and potholes emerged in the track bed. Construction of HSR Tracks must avoid this shambolic attempt at basic rail maintenance.

In June 2015 a Freight Tunnel was constructed at North Strathfield as part of the Northern Sydney Freight Line. This was paid by the Federal Government. Again in an attempted Federal takeover of Railways, the northern end of the Freight Tunnel was placed in the wrong place with no installation of Sets of Points for a reinstated fourth city bound track.

At Concord West a new city bound platform was built yet at the next station, North Strathfield will have to be rebuilt in order to obtain an additional platform simply because of a lack of Federal-State co-operation.

None of this lack of Federal-State co-operation can occur between a HSR Authority and all State Governments in order for success to be achieved.

North Strathfield Railway Station From Pomeroy Street Overpass with missing City Bound Track next to Rail Tunnel

North Strathfield Railway Station From Pomeroy Street Overpass with missing City Bound Track next to Rail Tunnel










High Speed Rail (HSR Using Japan’s Bullet Train Technology)

While there are many different types of rail technologies the most practical type of HSR Train to have is using Japan’s Bullet Train Technology that operates at speeds of 515 km/h.

HSR runs on straight, standard gauge tracks that are heavier than normal standard gauge tracks given the weight, speed and velocity of a HSR Train.

Once built normal Freight and Passenger Trains can operate on HSR Tracks. However HSR Trains cannot operate on normal Freight and Passenger Tracks.

HSR Trains uses Pantographs like a normal electric suburban train connected to overhead wires. This is very helpful when normal suburban electric trains and HSR Trains utilise the same Platforms at Capital City Railway Stations.

Currently electric suburban and electric interurban trains operate through suburban rail networks. Given the vastness of Sydney’s Metropolitan Rail Network and the distance to the next Capital City in a country that has only 24 Million People in order to for all Governments to build HSR Tracks, cost becomes a major factor and as such HSR Corridors must be 2 Tracks to every Capital City and 4 Tracks in areas of high traffic volume.

During construction of HSR Tracks, one Track will be required to maintain existing services. Once constructed the other Track and required sidings would be built.

Having 2 bi-directional Tracks to every Capital City allows for Sets Of Points to be installed at strategically located positions. Depending on Train schedules, 1 track can operate a Freight Train at the same time as a HSR Train passes through.

However 2 Tracks also allows for 2 HSR Trains to pass each other in different directions at the same time. 2 Tracks enables Trains to continue to operate should a Freight Train break down as does occur.

Sydney Harbour Bridge opened on 19 March 1932

Sydney Harbour Bridge opened on 19 March 1932










HSR Corridors

Approximately 85% of Existing Rail corridors are wide enough to use for HSR Trains. However HSR requires straight tracks and that will require the purchase of some land. Despite statements to the contrary HSR and Freight do not require the purchase of solely separate land as that is simply an excuse by some to make the case for HSR so prohibitive that it will never eventuate.

So as HSR and Freight Trains can operate in the one corridor, an area the width of 4 Tracks is utilised.

Where there is busy traffic movements 2 Tracks are for HSR and 2 Tracks are for Freight in the same corridor.

Where there is low traffic movements 2 Tracks are for both HSR and Freight with 2 Track sidings in either direction located at strategically required positions.

HSR Corridors will have walls of 8ft high on either side of the corridor. Reasons for this include:

  • Drainage for Farmers alongside HSR Corridor walls
  • Eliminates dangerous level crossings
  • Enables safer road crossings of corridors
  • Fire Breaks in National Parks
  • Flooding Protection for Farmers
  • Safety
  • Speed Of Trains
  • Stops cattle from wandering onto Tracks

HSR corridor walls provide famers with natural boundaries that save farmers on fence maintenance costs. Farmers currently have high fence maintenance costs.

HSR corridor walls will have clear panels at various points and sliding panels for Emergency Service, Rail, Fire and Police vehicle access.

HSR corridor wall clear panels will be heat resistant from bush fires and vandal proof from scratching and graffiti paint.

HSR Tracks will have Sets of Points located at strategically required positions.

HSR Tracks will be funded on a 50:50 basis between Federal, State and Territory Governments.

HSR services will be tendered out to provide the most value for the travelling public.


Lotteries a popular way to pay for HSR

Lotteries a popular way to pay for HSR







Funding Of HSR Tracks

Funding to build HSR Tracks should come from a Lottery with different Lottery Products sold at all Newsagency outlets in all States and Territories.

HSR Patronage

  • Sydney-Melbourne Air Route is the 5th busiest in the world,
  • Perth is the world’s most isolated Capital City.

The business case does exist for HSR with most passengers currently in the air on planes waiting for Governments to build HSR Tracks.

Country Towns

Country Towns, Regional Airlines and Regional Rail services will not suffer from the introduction of Capital City-Capital City HSR services. Rather the reverse will occur. Country Towns will find a new lease of life as distance becomes a thing of the past.

People who want HSR Trains are not scared of flying as some people have said. Rather HSR Trains will give people choice and real competition of mode of travel that does not exist at present.

HSR Fare Structure

HSR Fares will not be as cheap as an airline ticket although there will be seasonal discounts and competition with Airlines and Coach Companies will dictate HSR Ticket Prices.

HSR is a door-to-door service whereas airlines leaves passengers stranded 50 Km outside of Capital Cities.

Sydney Central Railway Station Concourse

Sydney Central Railway Station Concourse








HSR will be highly profitable and successful between

  • Sydney-Adelaide CBD

via Bradfield, Bankstown, Richmond Line Extension, Richmond, Lower Blue Mountains, Western and Transcontinental Lines

  • Sydney-Brisbane

via Bradfield Line, Sydney Harbour Rail Tunnel, Brookvale Line, Cessnock Line, Newcastle CBD and Northern Line

  • Sydney-Canberra

via Bradfield, Princes, Illawarra and South Coast Lines

  • Sydney-Darwin CBD

via Bradfield, Bankstown, Richmond Line Extension, Richmond, Lower Blue Mountains, Western, Transcontinental and Ghan Lines

  • Sydney-Melbourne

via Bradfield, Princes and Southern Lines

Princes Line joins with Southern Line via Unanderra-Moss Vale Railway corridor

  • Sydney-Perth

via Bradfield, Bankstown, Richmond Line Extension, Richmond, Lower Blue Mountains, Western and Transcontinental Lines

  • Melbourne-Adelaide

via Ararat

  • Melbourne-Canberra

via Southern Line

  • Melbourne-Darwin CBD

via Mildura, Broken Hill, Transcontinental and Ghan Lines

  • Melbourne-Hobart

via Williamstown Line and Rail Ferry

  • Melbourne-Perth

via Mildura, Broken Hill and Transcontinental Line

  • Brisbane-Darwin CBD

via Charleville and Alice Springs

  • Perth-Darwin CBD

via Newman

Flinders Street Railway Station Melbourne

Flinders Street Railway Station Melbourne








HSR Departing Platforms


  • Adelaide Railway Station platforms to be lengthened for Indian-Pacific and HSR


  • Roma Street for XPT and HSR


  • Canberra Railway Station to have an additional platform for XPT and HSR


  • Darwin Railway Station for suburban and HSR


  • Hobart Railway Station to have an additional platform for Tasmanian and HSR


  • Flinders Street Platform 11 to be recommissioned for HSR services
  • Southern Cross Railway Station for HSR services


  • Perth Railway Station for both Indian-Pacific and HSR


Sydney Central Platforms

  • 1-15 for Indian-Pacific services to Adelaide, Darwin and Perth
  • 26 & 27 for HSR services to Adelaide, Darwin and Perth
  • 26 & 27 for XPT and HSR services to Canberra and Melbourne
  • 28 & 29 for XPT and HSR services to Brisbane as per EIS Submission
Adelaide Railway Station

Adelaide Railway Station








New Routes

  • Bradfield Line: Second City Circle from unused Central Platforms 26 & 27
  • Cessnock Line: Berowra-Maitland via Cessnock
  • Lower Blue Mountains Line: Richmond-Mount Victoria via Kurrajong
  • Princes Line: Traverses F6 Corridor
  • Richmond Line Extension: Villawood-Blacktown

New Tunnels

Bradfield Line

  • Unused Central Platforms 26 & 27 to Western side of Cleveland Street Overpass
  • Unused Central Platforms 26 & 27 to Sydenham

Princes Line

  • Unused Central Platforms 26 & 27 to F6 Corridor
Cost effective Roll-on Roll-off Rail Ferry across Bass Strait

Cost effective Roll-on Roll-off Rail Ferry across Bass Strait








Roll-On Roll-Off Rail Ferry Across Bass Strait

  • Trains arrive and depart from Williamstown Line, Victoria
  • Trains arrive and depart from Devonport, Tasmania
  • Broad Gauge Tracks on Rail Ferry

Currently the Car Ferry that operates across Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania is full during peak season.

A Rail Ferry that also operates across Bass Strait would increase investment in Tasmania and build the economies of South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.

A Rail Tunnel under Bass Strait is not economically feasible to build for a few main reasons:



  • Australia: 22.68 Million (Year 2012)
  • England: 53.01 Million (Year 2012)
  • France: 65.7 Million (Year 2012)

Bass Strait

  • Average Depth: 180-240 Feet or 50-70 Metres
  • Length: 120 Miles or 200 Km
  • Maximum Width: 150 Miles or 240 Km

English Channel

  • Average Depth: 207 Feet or 63 Metres
  • Length: 350 Miles or 560 Km
  • Maximum Width: 150 Miles or 240 Km
Williamstown Railway Station And Surplus Land for Rail Ferry Train Stabling

Williamstown Railway Station And Surplus Land for Rail Ferry Train Stabling











The main argument against a Rail Tunnel is the difference in size of Australia’s population against that of England and France. Both England and France are connected to countries with large population bases whereas Australia is not connected to countries with large population bases.

The cost to build a Rail Tunnel can be justified and recovered by England and France whereas a Rail Tunnel does not stack up in Australia’s case.

Bass Strait has rougher seas than The English Channel or Sydney Harbour which can impact on the type of construction of a Rail Tunnel.

The cost of a Rail Ferry would cost approximately $500 Million to build.

  • Stabling Facilities at Williamstown and Devonport for Roll On-Roll Off operations,
  • Twin dual Broad/Narrow Electrified Railway Tracks for HSR on Concrete Sleepers for Devonport-Hobart,
  • Upgrading Railway Stations for Devonport, Launceston and Hobart,
  • Installing Signalling and Overhead Wiring for High Speed Rail Trains,
  • Suburban and Freight Trains can use HSR Tracks.

Tram Cars can be conveyed on the Rail Ferry between South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. Trams last operated in Hobart on 24 October, 1960.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge opened on 19 March 1932 however noted Architect Francis Greenway first raised the idea of a Bridge from the North to the South as early as 1815.

It is to be hoped that a Rail Ferry across Bass Strait does not take 117 years to be realised.

  • Alice Springs-Darwin (Palmerston only) Railway took 120 years to be built,
  • Eastern Suburbs (Truncated) Railway in Sydney took 100 years to be built.

People would support the idea of a Rail Ferry across Bass Strait and the economic benefits to

South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania will more than justify the cost of construction.


Rail Ferry To Be Used By

  • Freight Trains from South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania
  • High Speed Rail services from Southern Cross Railway Station, Melbourne
  • Regional Trains from Geelong and Southern Cross Railway Stations
  • Suburban Trains
  • Tram Cars

The rail gauge on the Rail Ferry would be broad gauge and overhead wiring would be installed to transfer electrically powered locomotives, trains and tram cars.

From Devonport to Hobart duplicated and electrified railway lines would be dual broad/narrow gauge tracks.


Tasmania HSR Railway Stations

  • Devonport
  • Launceston
  • Hobart

Freight Trains

Dual broad/narrow gauge tracks will enable freight trains to move throughout Tasmania without any need to change bogies.

Regional Trains

Victoria’s Regional Rail Line allows for trains from Melbourne to travel to Geelong on new dedicated tracks. Regional Rail Line services could also extend to Hobart via the Rail Ferry. Victoria’s Regional Rail Line should also be electrified.

Suburban Trains

HSR services will facilitate a revival in rail passenger services and as such new suburban services across Tasmania could also extend to Victoria’s Southern Cross and Flinders Street Railway Stations via the Rail Ferry. Restaurant/Lounge carriages allows for passengers to have a soft beverage and a snack in a lounge style seating carriage.

Tram Cars

Trams previously operated in Hobart until 1960. Tram Cars can also be carried on the Rail Ferry that enables cities and towns throughout Tasmania to operate a Tramway. The conveyance of Tram Cars on the Rail Ferry provides Victoria and South Australia with the opportunity to move rolling stock on the Rail Ferry.

The approximate cost of $500 Million to build and purchase a Rail Ferry would very quickly pay for itself. The Rail Ferry will encourage increased freight movements across Bass Strait and this will also return the investment outlaid by the Tasmania Government to build and electrify new railway lines.

Tasmania can have a world leading railway manufacturing industry simply by the construction of a roll-on roll-off Rail Ferry. The Rail Ferry will also encourage Tasmania to build Railway and Tramway rolling stock that can be exported to other Australian States and overseas.