The case for high speed rail

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The case for high speed rail

Postby wildwanderer » Fri 10 May, 2019 8:29 am

I noticed this has come up again with investment of 1 billion promised to acquire properties along potential routes.

Not interested in the politics of it, as I note both sides have proposed it at one time or another.

Mainly curious about the benefit?

Sydney to Melbourne in aprox 2hr 40 mins..about the same Sydney to Brisbane. However cant we just fly? for cheaper and with more daily flights to choose?

Boost to regional areas? but if the train stops all the time its not fast anymore..

It it better for the enviroment than flying? no idea.

Sydney to Canberra in an hour would be nice. Maybe a bushwalkers express stop in Jindabyne? :lol: As long as it stays out of the national park!
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby CraigVIC » Fri 10 May, 2019 9:31 am

If you listen to someone like Tim Fischer it's clear a lot of it is simply about the romance of train travel.
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby north-north-west » Fri 10 May, 2019 9:47 am

Operationally it's a far better option for the environment than flying. Construction may be a different story, however.
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby Orion » Fri 10 May, 2019 10:16 am

Don't look to California for a success story.
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby ChrisJHC » Fri 10 May, 2019 6:38 pm

The big difference is that you leave from the middle of Melbourne and arrive in the middle of Sydney (and vice versa of course). By the time you factor in travel to and from the airport (especially in peak hour) it is likely to be either faster or around the same time.

Plus you can turn up 1 minute before the train leaves, no security screening (so you can take metho and/or gas canisters :) ) and typically more room than in a plane.

If the price works out okay it’s an attractive idea. Not sure about the overall economics given the opportunity cost of the government investment...
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby wayno » Fri 10 May, 2019 6:47 pm

you dont run them like normal trains and stop them at every station...
in japan they will stop at major stations or they run as expresses between major cities... if you can run them from the middle of a city then you are saving the time you would spend getting to the airport.. bad weather has zero effect on them.... short haul flights are far worse for the environment...
you dont have to faff around with luggage like you do flying... bullet trains you arent jammed up like a sardine... you dont worry about throwing up from turbulence...
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby crollsurf » Fri 10 May, 2019 10:25 pm

Could be cheaper than keeping refugees on Manis Island ;)

It's a numbers game. Japan, small country, 260M people. Could work Melbourne Sydney Brisbane but I think you'll need 10X more people than we have today before the maths add up.


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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby johnw » Fri 10 May, 2019 10:29 pm

My thinking is pretty much the same as ChrisJHC and wayno. Of course there are likely to be fewer services compared with the multitude of flights between Sydney and Melbourne. Otherwise positive if economical to build, run etc. Numbers have to make sense as crollsurf said.

wayno wrote:you dont worry about throwing up from turbulence...

<OT>In many flights over many years that hasn't happened to me yet (touch wood). But I do remember a very distressing rough flight in 1978 from Singapore approaching Hong Kong in a thunderstorm. I didn't throw up (too scared :shock:) but my travelling companion, next door neighbour at the time, barfed continously into a sick bag as the aircraft (747) behaved like a rollercoaster on steroids. We actually couldn't land and were diverted to Taipei.</OT>
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby nezumi » Sat 11 May, 2019 12:38 am

crollsurf wrote:It's a numbers game. Japan, small country, 260M people. Could work Melbourne Sydney Brisbane but I think you'll need 10X more people than we have today before the maths add up.


The Sydney - Melbourne air corridor is the second busiest route in the world, with a total of 54,102 flights in 2018. Given that a large volume of this would be business traffic, and that time is a key factor in business travel, and having a service that travels CBD to CBD, removes the need for security screening and other time sinks and has a similar transit time, and you have a very good business case on your hands.
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby wayno » Sat 11 May, 2019 5:16 am

japan has bullet trains as a regular frequent commuter service. half hourly, more often in rush hour...
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 11 May, 2019 7:57 am

Apart from the business case there is the Nation Building case, the Snowy scheme lost a lot of money but was important in many other ways. Geelong has been waiting for a high speed rail link to Melbourne for about a hundred years, in spite of a sound business case we are still waiting. We are still waiting on the rail link to Tullamarine airport which is even more important to this region
If it ever happens I suspect it will be like the current NBN disaster with a government putting in an "Affordable" version which won't be of any use at all and we will still drive
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby climberman » Sat 11 May, 2019 10:38 am

You don't do HSR for destinations 75km apart.
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 11 May, 2019 10:47 am

climberman wrote:You don't do HSR for destinations 75km apart.

Why not?
They seem to do it in Japan
It depends on what you term High Speed
Geelong to Melbourne would be OK with speeds of 170kph, Melbourne to Sydney would be be much more suited to 300kph.
As I have mentioned a few times in the past the service is no faster now than when it opened in the 19th century and we now live in a very high speed world
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby wayno » Sat 11 May, 2019 12:55 pm

japan have different types of high speed trains that do different speeds depending on the lines they are on and how far they are going. you have to spend more building a line the faster you want a train to go. so the side lines arent as fast.
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby climberman » Sat 11 May, 2019 2:01 pm

Moondog55 wrote:
climberman wrote:You don't do HSR for destinations 75km apart.

Why not?
They seem to do it in Japan

money, population
Moondog55 wrote:It depends on what you term High Speed
Geelong to Melbourne would be OK with speeds of 170kph, Melbourne to Sydney would be be much more suited to 300kph.
As I have mentioned a few times in the past the service is no faster now than when it opened in the 19th century and we now live in a very high speed world

170kmh isn't really HSR. Its fast, maybe.
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 11 May, 2019 2:18 pm

170kph is very fast compared to the current 70 to 80kph but everything is relative, even 70kph seems fast when you are stuck in a car in traffic jam 14 kilometres long leading onto the West Gate Bridge. Isn't 170kph what the first generation of Japanese Bullet Trains used to travel at?
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby Hallu » Wed 15 May, 2019 6:54 pm

France has probably the most extensive high speed rail network in the world. It is indeed greener than air travel, but France has mainly nuclear power plants and hydroelectric dams. If you use coal to power the future Australian fast train it's not really greener than air travel...

As far as the advantages go, it is often cheaper than air travel. Also, you don't have to suffer the misery of going to the airport from the city you're visiting/living in, then check in etc... So the plane is only faster once it's in the air. But since you need to get to the airport an hour early, that the journey from the city centre to the airport is usually 30 min to an hour, then the train is way faster. It's also more comfortable, a lot more legroom in trains, and less scary for most people.

It is expensive to build though. We're talking billions. In France, they built too many of them, the cost is high and they're not all profitable... There's also protests against the train from locals, as it's incredibly noisy when it goes by at 300 km/h. Rail companies tend to do the minimum for noise reduction, as well as wildlife and the environment in general. Also ticket prices fluctuate immensely. A Paris to Bordeaux return ticket can be 50 € on a Tuesday in March or 250 a few days before Christmas...

Overall, I think it's a great idea if you have the tourism industry to back it up, like France, Spain or Italy do, and if you don't build too many of them. For Japan, I think it's more the fact that they have very slow roads (mountainous small country), and a high population. So is it a good idea for Australia ? Air travel is so cheap here that I don't know whether they'll get many customers. Especially since Australia has such a low population. Do people from Melbourne visit Sydney that often and vice versa ?
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby johnw » Wed 15 May, 2019 11:03 pm

Hallu wrote:Do people from Melbourne visit Sydney that often and vice versa ?

Surprisingly, flight data website OAG.com recently found Sydney to Melbourne is the world's second busiest air route, with 54,519 flights a year.
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby wayno » Thu 16 May, 2019 4:13 am

japan have no shortage of fast highways... they drill tunnels straight through mountains, depending on where you're going the roads can still be a lot faster and the bullet trains dont cover anywhere near as many main routes
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Re: The case for high speed rail

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Thu 16 May, 2019 5:50 pm

The main reason Melbourne Sydney is the second busiest air route in the world is because it is serviced by narrow body aircraft.

The Australian domestic market has always performed better with high frequency/low capacity for some reason. Any other city pairing like this in the world and they would have wide body aircraft flying it - and half the number of flights per year.

The carbon cost for flying Mel Syd is about 3 tonnes fuel for 160 passengers, so about 25 litres per passenger.

HSR would be an several orders of magnitude less... however the carbon cost for construction would be astronomical.
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