Civic, airport mooted as stations in fast-train plan

High Speed Rail Network

Canberra Airport and Civic have been short listed for the terminus of a high-speed rail network. The cost for an access corridor and station is estimated to be $3.4 million compared to $1.7 million at Canberra Airport. The airline proportion of Canberra-Sydney travel is currently only 8% and is estimated to drop to 4% if a high-speed rail link between the two centres was provided. So why is the Australian Rail Association recommending a airport terminus rather than a Civic terminus. Where is the triple bottom line take into account social and environment costs (tearing up Majura Valley)? This decision shouldn’t be driven by the Canberra Business Council and the Canberra Airport but by the ACT community at large

The Canberra Times              Thursday                    04 August 2011

 Civic, airport mooted as stations in fast-train plan

 By John Thistleton

Business editor

Civic and the Canberra Airport are among city stations short listed for a high-speed rail network offering a one-hour journey to Sydney, for as low as $100.

A high-speed rail study to be issued today will show two possible routes to Sydney, via Wollongong or Goulburn and the Southern Highlands, and a one-hour 50-minute journey from Canberra to Melbourne. Ticket prices will be on par with airline tickets.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese will announce today details of a proposed network for two-thirds of Australians, connecting Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra. He said the network would provide a new foundation for a low- carbon, high-productivity economy, and could be a “game changer”, citing overseas services which carried more people between cities than cars and planes combined.

Establishing an access corridor into Civic would cost $2.4 billion, and $1 billion for a station, while the airport option would cost $1.3 billion for access and $400 million for a station.

Airport managing director Stephen Byron said he could only speculate because he had not seen details, but the estimates showed the value of putting a train corridor into the airport’s master plan. If built there, the station would be on an open-air car park nearest the Pialligo side of the airport, integrating with the main new terminal.

Mr Byron said he always accepted there would be a loss of air traffic between Sydney and Canberra. “Ninety-two per cent of traffic travels by road, we’ve only got 8 per cent of the market, that could drop to 4 per cent and the train could pick up 50 to 60 per cent of the market.”

Australasian Rail Association chief executive Bryan Nye said that the network’s estimated overall cost of up to $108 billion was not expensive when it was compared with alternatives. “Governments since 1985 have spent $293 billion on roads and we can’t continue funding roads at the rate we are doing. “This offers more to the Australian community than congested roads.

“If Canberra was clever, my personal view is [the rail line] would go to the airport and you would have a light-rail network into the city. “For the same amount of money, you could have airport access and put a light rail into Civic and then Parliament House.”

He said high-speed rail would change society and could be up and running within five to 10 years. People could live in Canberra and work in Sydney. “It could happen a lot quicker than people think, and it should happen.”

Canberra Business Council chief executive Chris Faulks said the Sydney-Canberra corridor was expected to be more indicative of the costs and financial and economic benefit of the entire network, and therefore was an ideal first stage of an east coast network. The council has pushed the potential for Canberra Airport to be an overflow airport to Sydney airport for domestic and international flights.

Based on preliminary studies, the network would achieve speeds of 350km/h and offer journey times as low as three hours from Sydney to Melbourne.

The network would carry about 54 million passengers a year by 2036 including, for example, about half of those who would have flown between Sydney and Melbourne — currently the worlds fifth-busiest air corridor. It would cut carbon pollution, with emissions per passenger a third of what a car emits and each full train — 450 passengers — equivalent to taking 128 cars off the road.

Note: copyright of the material in this clipping resides with Fairfax Media. Usage permitted in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968, Section 42: Fair dealing for purpose of reporting news. Source: The Canberra Times – 04 August 2011

 

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