Best of the Rest: Medium speed rail between Sydney and Canberra

Posted: December 28, 2011 in Transport
Tags: , , ,

Following on from a previous piece on medium speed rail (MSR), Transport Textbook has followed up with a possible case study for Sydney to Canberra MSR. The argument goes that by using existing lines within Sydney rather than a long tunnel into the CBD (significantly reducing the cost) and building a new alignment between the outskirts of Sydney through to central Canberra that can be scaled up to high speed rail (HSR) in future, a MSR link could provide a high speed connection between the two cities at an affordable price tag (the article quotes $3 billion, compared to the $15 billion for HSR, albeit on very rough calculations).

It could also allow for transport between the CBD’s of Sydney and Canberra, but via each city’s airport, thus making the 2 to 2.5 hour point to point trip competitive with air or car travel. There would also be benefits for freight trains travelling between Sydney and Melbourne.

  1. JC says:

    Sounds very sensible – as a standalone project or as a step along the road to high-speed. As you say trains running at 150-200 km/h on updgraded – but still basically “standard” – tracks would make air travel on the Sydney-Canberra corridor obsolete (as for London-Manchester etc) and would also fit for Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong etc. It would be much cheaper than true HS (250km/h+), which is nevet likely to ever be affordable on the longer haul routes in Australia – and at 4 hours or so, would not be able to capture/kill the business market for Sydney-Melbourne etc corridors. But at 6 hours of so for MSR it could still take a big bite. It could run at 200 km/h during the day for passengers fast freight – and around 150 km/h at night for regular freight, truck shuttles (like euroshuttle), and sleeper trains.

  2. […] within the city limits, as doing so could bring the cost down from as high as $100bn to just a few billion dollars for a shorter Canberra-Sydney-Newcastle link. The problem occurs when the report then insists that the best connection between Sydney and […]

  3. Yoghurt says:

    MSR as a first doable step with completion timeframe of 18 months would give us a taste of what’s possible, and all for the cost of one submarine.

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