High Speed Rail Is Required In The World’s Largest Island Continent
Victor P Taffa
The easiest High Speed Rail route to construct in Australia is Sydney-Perth via Adelaide CBD. Reason being is the straight flat section of track across the Nullarbor Plains.
The Trans-Continental Railway that was opened in 1917 by Prime Minister Billy Hughes has one of the straightest sections of railway line in the world.
In The Southern Thunderer numerous articles have been written on High Speed Rail. To read these articles simply go to the Transport Page and search High Speed Rail.
The question was asked of me recently as to who would pay for constructing High Speed Rail? Federal or State?
Under the Federal Government is the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
Under the State Governments are State Government Railways.
The ARTC should work with State Government Railways to build High Speed Rail. The cost would be evenly shared.
What gauge should High Speed Rail be? Standard Gauge.
The New South Wales section has the most challenges. My website www.isput.com.au covers most of the issues through the Blue Mountains and over the Great Dividing Range. Simply go to the Lower Blue Mountains Line Page for further details.
The easiest solution is an extension of the Richmond Line to Mount Victoria, following an alignment with The Bells Line Of Road. The section of the line through the Richmond Township could be elevated in a similar fashion to the Eastern Suburbs Line or the North West Line in Sydney. The North West Line is currently under construction and will have an elevated section as part of the Railway Line.
When the spillway gates are opened Warragamba Dam has flood prone areas downstream and this problem could be overcome by elevating the railway line. The Richmond Line would need to be completely duplicated. Currently only sections of the Richmond Line are duplicated. Extending the Richmond Line was first mooted in the 1890’s.
The other solution is to simply straighten up the Western Line through the Blue Mountains. This would be a similar solution with going through the Great Dividing Range. Tunnelling equipment exists today that was not available many years ago.
The easiest solution is to extend the Richmond Line to Mount Victoria, following an alignment with The Bells Line Of Road.
High Speed Rail should go to Adelaide CBD and not Keswick. Originally Interstate trains went to Adelaide CBD but someone decided that Keswick would be a better terminus. Keswick is further out than Adelaide CBD and Interstate trains pass Adelaide CBD before arriving at Keswick Railway Station.
High Speed Rail would be electrified. Currently all Country and Interstate trains are diesel powered and with High Speed Rail electrification is essential. High Speed Rail trains travel at speeds of 350-400 Km/h.
Not only would High Speed Rail trains travel along the Western Line from Sydney Central to Blacktown and then onto the Richmond Line before returning to the Western Line at Mount Victoria but the Indian Pacific train would also use this route.
The section of the line across the Nullarbor Plains would be duplicated and also in sections have sidings for the Indian Pacific Train. High Speed Rail would not mean the end of the Indian Pacific Train. Many inland communities along the route of the Indian Pacific rely on the train’s arrival to stock up for essential goods.
High Speed Rail is best suited to a private operator such as Great Southern Rail (GSR). GSR operates trains such as the Indian Pacific.
This issue simply highlights the importance of the role that State Government’s play in Australia.
This route covers 3 State Boundaries as opposed to hundreds of Local Government boundaries that could arise should the Local Government Referendum succeed. While that Referendum deals with Local Government funding there is no certainty as to where it will all end.
State Governments since Colonial days have been the best at providing the delivery of many State services.
The role of Local Government is to look after Roads, Rates and Rubbish. Local Government is not there to build multi-million dollar convention centres and go broke in the process of constructing these centres.
Having State Boundaries streamlines Government Administration in the largest island continent in the world.
The construction of High Speed Rail will open up Australia in ways not seen since the Gold Rush days.