Sydney - Canberra VFT - third try's a charm?

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arctic Assistant Commissioner

Location: Zurich

Looks like they might have another go (yawn).

Try No 1: Syd- Melb VFT in the 1980s

Try No 2: Speedrail in the 1990's

Here's No 3:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/16/2190743.htm

Authority to look at 'very fast' Sydney-Canberra rail link

The Federal Government says a plan to establish a very fast train link between Sydney and Canberra is likely to be one of the projects considered by a new infrastructure authority.

Infrastructure Australia will develop a priority list of projects to be presented to the Council of Australian Governments meeting next year.

A spokesman for the Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, says the very fast train link would be "absolutely considered" by the authority.

The project was rejected by the previous Coalition Government but local Canberra business owners hope the Rudd Government will back the link.

- A user

 
JoeT Assistant Commissioner

How about they get over the failed Sydney - Canberra concept and build a VFT line where it is really needed and that may even pay for itself.

I talking about between the Hunter Valley, Central Coast, Sydney and the Illawarra.

The traffic on the F3, F6 and local Sydney roads would be vastly cut if this were to happen, thus reducing car emissions and saving us all from a hellish death!

 
Warks Minister for Railways

Location: Near H30+059

Pardon the general mood of cynicism but we've heard it all before.  The only positive thing is that it wasn't announced by the State govt.  Then we would be absolutely certain nothing will ever happen.  If it's Federal then it's only a 99% chance of never happening.

And Canberra FFS?

 
nadnerb_2000 Chief Commissioner

Location: between my hat and my shoe soles

Agreed.

Canberra's a dead horse that should have been buried years ago.

A VFT system from Newcastle to Sydney, Wollongong to Sydney and Penrith to Sydney via Parramatta is the way to go.

The Wollongong leg could then be extended south to connect with Melbourne - with Canberra an afterthought.

Sub 1 hour travel time from Newcastle should be possible (and even shorter from Wollongong) and it would have huge economic benefits to those corridors.

Then you could talk about putting an international airport out there somewhere, and still be within an hour's trip of the city - and what city in the world doesnt have long commute from the international airport?

Will never happen though.

 
JoeT Assistant Commissioner

The ALP's second Sydney Airport policy has Wilton as it prefered location. Why?

It's close to Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra. Also it's the junction point for the Hume Freeway from Sydney - Canberra and Picton Road from the Illawarra, plus it is also the junction for the Maldon - Dombarton railway and the proposed Douglas Park - Mittagong rail deviation.

Not only would this be good for Airport travellers, but also regular workers. A 40 minute commute from Wollongong to Campbelltown would be a workers dream. It's one reason why the Maldon-Dombarton line, including the Avon tunnel, must be double track when finally completed.

A Sydney - Canberra VTF will be needed sometime in the future, especially if and when the Wilton International Airport is built, but right now there is a much more pressing need for a high speed rail service between Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong, plus the far western suburbs of Sydney.

 
Oldfart Chief Commissioner

Location: Right base for BK 11R

While agreeing with the general cynicism and that a Newc-Wyg-Gos-Syd-Wol route is a bigger market, I suspect Syd-Cbr would be much less challenging (read 'cheaper') to engineer and (if a terminal was co-located at Canberra Airport), could see the latter pick up a few of Sydney's traditional interstate air services and reduce the need for many/most Syd-Cbr air services.

The big motivation will come from peak oil. As soon as flying starts to become more expensive, the economics will swing in favour of VFTs. In fact, never mind anything fancy; even a decent track that could allow current XPTs to operate at full speed to Canberra would be attractive for many. It will be interesting to see what the Bransons and MacBanks of the world make of it all.

 
rjaygee Banned

Location: Banned

The terminal should be located as close to the Canberra CBD as possible since a VFT would make air travel betweem to Canberra and Sydney obsolete. It would be a good thing since air travel to Canberra during the colder months is very unreliable due to poor visibility problems. A VFT would be a goer and there is ready market for public service travel on the Canberra route.  Newcastle & Central Coast inhabitants are too tight to pay for a decent rail service, in fact I believe mostly low wage earners live up that way taking advantage of cheap land prices.  No, you need business travellers to make a VFT viable.  Thats why the Surfliner in California works, although its by no means a VFT but does cater for business travellers from very well off beachside coastal towns.

Cheers

Rod Gayford

 
GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper

It would be ideal to have station both at Canberra Airport and in Canberra CBD.

 
nazarail Chief Commissioner

Location: Between BN 80 UL and BN 87 UL

They really need to drop the "very fast" name, thats the reason i think the project has never got off the ground.

I think it should be called "The fully sik turbo charged fule injected, with NOS, and OMG like with subs ule! link"

and they can be called the OMG sets!

Like I swear to god like I should stop doing the banko loops OMG!  Rolling Eyes

 
TheLoadedDog Minister for Railways

and they can be called the OMG sets!

- nazarail

Mr. Green  Bravo!  Mr. Green

 
M636C Minister for Railways

From my brief read of the cover of the Canberra "Sunday Times" as I walked out of the supermarket with my groceries, the Canberra Airport is the main supporter of this project so far.

For those who haven't looked recently, Canberra Airport has expanded the commercial activities and related business office parks to the extent that it is now harder to get to Canberra Airport at 0800 than to to Sydney Airport.

If a rail line was extended to Civic some of it would have to be underground in some areas since there is very little space available. This is particularly so between Russell and Duntroon where the road occupies all the space between cliffs and the river. However, there would possibly be a market for a shuttle service with Metro type cars since the road network can't cope.

I could walk to the airport from home in the morning as quickly as I can drive and I don't live within sight of the airport.

But even the big organisations backing the previous bids didn't put as much effort into the VFT and Speedrail as might have been thought.

I think it was Speedrail (but it might have been VFT) needed a model train for a photo opportunity with thev ACT Chief Minister, and they had to borrow my Lima HO TGV Atlantique. At least I got it back!

You'd think they would at least have a model of the proposed train handy for such occasions. I know there is a model "Speedrail" set now, because I've seen it.

But the real justification for a fast train could be reducing the number of Canberra Sydney (and v/v) flights to provide more slots at the Sydney end.

It would allow Countrylink to stop their present Canberra service, since arrangements could be made for concession fares on the new trains.

By the way, VFT is just a translation of TGV from French. Nobody thought it up as an original name.

M636C

 
nazarail Chief Commissioner

Location: Between BN 80 UL and BN 87 UL

Who wants to go to canberra? They only want it so lil johnny can get back there when smeg hits the fan, oh wait hes gone, well that other guy who likes the strippers then.

we need a train to mexico!

I want to go to mexico on the The fully sik turbo charged fule injected, with NOS, and OMG like with subs ule! link, TFSTCFINOSUL for short!

Speeding to mexico on the OMG sets with bass thumping rims spinning twin exghaust spewing and the blow of valve going dodoodododo now thats the fully sick way to go OMGing.

Oh and dont forget the fluffy dice.

 
Speed Minister for Railways

The comment "will be absolutely considered" should be compared with these comments from the same minister on road funding.

"Over its first eight years in office - the period for which data is currently available - these funding cuts amounted to almost $2 billion - enough money to duplicate the entire Hume Highway for example," Mr Albanese said in a statement.

"To make matters worse, the cuts to federal funding were made at a time of rapid growth in private car ownership and a 40 per cent increase in the volume of product and produce needing to be trucked around the country."

During last year's federal election campaign, Labor pledged to invest almost $15.5 billion during five years in the nation's road network.

"That's almost twice what the previous Howard government spent over a similar period of time."

...

"That's even before taking into account the environmental damage being caused by the millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere by the thousands of vehicles left idling in worsening traffic snarls," Mr Albanese said.

He said the figures should be uncomfortable reading for the Nationals in particular.

"After all, they had carriage of the transport portfolio for the entire duration of the Howard government.

- A user

http://news.smh.com.au/road-funding-less-under-howard-albanese/20080317-1zw4.html

Neither mentions feasibility studies but the words on roads seem to have more conviction.

 
GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper

Sydney to Canberra would be a good start and would provide a basis for future extensions eg to Melbourne.

If the line is built to Canberra it would be good if a link onto the Cooma line could be built so as to allow for ski season services similar to the Eurostar ski services.

 
Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.

Those people who keep saying "CBD" clearly haven't been to Canberra.

If they mean "Civic" - they mean an area that is about as heavily built up as Ferntree Gully Rd in Melbourne's outer suburbs.

I agree with the other comment - the airport is as bad as anywhere to terminate in Canberra, as is the existing rail station (which isn't too far from the Parliamentary and central agency area.

They should also build a third platform at International station with appropriate facilities for long distance travellers who are transiting off flights.

 
nadnerb_2000 Chief Commissioner

Location: between my hat and my shoe soles

I think Melbourne makes more sense than Canberra.

Currently Melbourne-Sydney and vice versa is one of the busiest air routes in the world, being 4th on the list with over 850 flights per week. 11th on the list is Sydney - Brisbane with 600 odd flights per week. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_busiest_passenger_air_routes

Note London, Paris, New York arent on the list. Most of the cities on the list are relatively short hops (Mel-Syd is one of the longest) and few are connected by high speed rail.

If they could build a VFT line under the english channel, we could build one to Melbourne.

AFTER that was built you could build a spur to Canberra and the snowies.

If you were to build a VFT, travel to Melbourne could be achieved in under 3 hours - reasonably competitive with air (1:30 flying time these days, then getting to/from airports). If you were to sell seats to the airlines to onsell, you'd take a massive load off both Kingsford Smith and Tullamarine/Avalon. Its a hundred flights a day right there. Greenies would love it too (though frankly I've got no time for people who want to preach greenhouse emissions, as I'm not in the global warming cult). You would actually have to have some sort of quota on Syd - Mel flights to make things workable, but with VFT thats doable.

Will it happen? Only if I get elected supreme leader of Australia. Keep an eye out for pamphlets in tha mail tomorrow.

 
M636C Minister for Railways

Actually, the shortest route from Melbourne To Sydney would pass fairly close to Canberra, so why not include it! Fast trains built in the French manner are used to steep grades, so there is no problem going through the mountains.

The original Sydney Melbourne VFT route did so, until mad psuedo conservationists started protesting about the number of small furry creatures that would be killed by this fast train (completely fenced off, not like a road).

A lot of business people do need to come to Canberra from both Sydney and Melbourne, so it would be a smart move to include Canberra. Certainly there would be hundreds of times the number that need to go to Binalong or Wallendbeen or even Cootamundra and Wagga.

I think there is a high speed rail service under construction from Madrid to Barcelona, but the present broad gauge line probably provides a reasonable service even now. They had Talgo trains 35 years ago.

Civic is a lot bigger and busier than it was ten years ago, and there are many complaints about parking as people notice that the open spaces they used to use for parking have turned into offices or shopping centres or apartments.

It would be bigger still except that much of the office space has been built at the airport instead.

M636C

 
supersix Deputy Commissioner

Location: Heathcote N.S.W.

Who wants to go to canberra? They only want it so lil johnny can get back there when smeg hits the fan, oh wait hes gone, well that other guy who likes the strippers then.

we need a train to mexico!

I want to go to mexico on the The fully sik turbo charged fule injected, with NOS, and OMG like with subs ule! link, TFSTCFINOSUL for short!

Speeding to mexico on the OMG sets with bass thumping rims spinning twin exghaust spewing and the blow of valve going dodoodododo now thats the fully sick way to go OMGing.

Oh and dont forget the fluffy dice.

- nazarail

HETIC! fully Spew

 
Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding

For all those that don't think Canberra is a sensible option try (I know it will be hard) and look at it this way. Canberra is potentially a second airport for Sydney (at least it could be usefull for overflow). It could also become a virtual suburb of Sydney, with a fast train you could realistically commute from Canberra to the Sydney CBD far quicker than some (alot) of the current outer suburbs.

 
mjja Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Mount Waverley, Melbourne

The Sydney-Canberra air route is not very well serviced - until VB started running E-jets there just recently it was only turboprops. The pollies who want a bit of comfort would obviously pick a VFT over a turboprop, so there is that captive market.

Obviously it would be better to go to Melbourne or Brisbane, but as everyone knows who has studied railway history, the only private companies that succeed are the ones that start small.

 

Location: Banned

The Sydney-Canberra air route is not very well serviced - until VB started running E-jets there just recently it was only turboprops.

- mjja



Qantas has always ran a few Boeing 737-400s on the busier flights on weekdays. If you go into their website, you will see there are a few scheduled for morning and afternoon flights.

 
hurstville1 Chief Commissioner

Location: Uniform Papa - Yankee Oscar - Alpha Sierra Sierra

Those people who keep saying "CBD" clearly haven't been to Canberra.

If they mean "Civic" - they mean an area that is about as heavily built up as Ferntree Gully Rd in Melbourne's outer suburbs.

I agree with the other comment - the airport is as bad as anywhere to terminate in Canberra, as is the existing rail station (which isn't too far from the Parliamentary and central agency area.

They should also build a third platform at International station with appropriate facilities for long distance travellers who are transiting off flights.

- Riccardo

Have a station at Dickson or Belconnen and another at the airport.

If you are to terminate at Dickson due to fact there's an info cetre there, have a half hourly suburban service to the City Circle(or what ever that big roundabout in the citys called).

 

Location: Banned

Why the hell would you put a station at Dickson of all places? Let alone terminate the line there? Who said the rail line would approach Canberra from the north?

How could you have Dickson, Belconnen and the Airport all on one line - they are all in separate directions from Civic. (north, west/north and east to be specific).

 
M636C Minister for Railways

The Sydney-Canberra air route is not very well serviced - until VB started running E-jets there just recently it was only turboprops. The pollies who want a bit of comfort would obviously pick a VFT over a turboprop, so there is that captive market.

Obviously it would be better to go to Melbourne or Brisbane, but as everyone knows who has studied railway history, the only private companies that succeed are the ones that start small.

- mjja

My first flight to Canberra was in 1959 with Ansett-ANA in Fokker Freindship VH-FNA, but there were no jets on domestic services then.

Since then on flights from Sydney and Melbourne I think I've had jets as often as turboprops, DC-9s, 727s, 737s and so on. I may have flown on a Fokker 50 but F27s were more common. Of course I've flown on Dash 8s and don't mind them much.

I often pass or see the airport and it is rare not to have a 737 at the terminal, although most of these may not be on Sydney services. I've never seen an Embraer jet in Canberra, although I check out every Virgin jet I see, all of them so far have been 737s of some type.

The most memorable flight was on an RAAF 707 when I was not only allowed into the cockpit, but was allowed to stand there all the way into a touchdown. It gave me a different view of standard landing precautions.

The Speedrail proposal had the line entering the ACT near the Federal Highway and running to the airport East of Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie. The illustration showed the train passing the Defence Campbell Park offices which overlook the airport.

There was not then, nor is there now, a serious intention to run into Civic, although it is possible. The Canberra Airport owners want it to be a central transport hub, but at the moment no Action buses even run there. This will need to change even to properly service the existing offices there.

M636C

 
xplorer2501 Chief Commissioner

Location: Tuggeranong, ACT

From the Canberra Times yesterday

16 March 2008 - 9:53AM

Sky's not the limit

Tom Skotnicki

THE OWNERS of Canberra Airport plan to back another bid for a very fast train link with Sydney.

The Howard government rejected the proposal twice, in 2000 and in 2002.

But Terry Snow and his son, airport managing director Stephen Byron, are confident the Rudd Government can be convinced to back the project.

Mr Byron told the Sunday Canberra Times that the airport's new $250million terminal, to be opened late next year, had been designed to allow for a fast train service. He said he and Mr Snow also intended to establish a group of Canberra business figures to back the project.

Mr Byron said a fast train connection between Sydney and Canberra would be an enormous boon for both capitals.

Airline passengers could land in Canberra and be in the centre of Sydney in less than an hour.

He also pointed out that more than 90 per cent of traffic between the two capitals now used cars and large numbers could be expected to switch, given the added speed and convenience of a fast train.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said the ACT Government would be very enthusiastic about any plan to revive the VFT project, which he believed would have significant benefits for the city.

Indeed, the ACT Government had never abandoned hope. Land for the route was set aside in a transport corridor near the airport and the ACT Government's Eastern Broadacre Study was taking the possibility of a VFT into account.

Mr Stanhope said the VFT could well be one of the key projects of national importance that could be considered by the Federal Government's new Infrastructure Australia statutory authority, which will be established to promote partnerships for significant projects.

The authority, headed by former British Airways chief executive Sir Rod Eddington, will establish a list of existing national infrastructure and identify crucial gaps.

Infrastructure Australia will begin to consult with the public after its establishment this year, with the aim of reporting by next March with a priority list of infrastructure projects.

A spokesman for the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, said the list would be used to guide billions of dollars in public and private investment.

He said although he could not comment on individual projects, Infrastructure Australia would be asked to consider social, economic and environmental effects.

Mr Byron said the VFT project was rejected eight years ago because the Howard government was reluctant to contribute the $1billion necessary to ensure private backing for the project.

"I think we have a new and exciting new Federal Government in this country that is serious about infrastructure," he said.

"If it took less than an hour to get to the centre of Sydney from Canberra then that would be the end of the discussion ... what a fantastic thing would it be for this city."

Mr Byron said the economics supporting a VFT were sound last time, but there was a lack of national leadership.

"In retrospect, if the [Howard] federal government knew what bountiful [budget] surpluses lay ahead, then the fast train would not only have been built, but would be running," he said.

Mr Byron acknowledged the airport had many critics around Canberra and that it was blamed for much of the traffic chaos in the airport precinct.

But, he said, 10 years ago it would not have been possible to predict the increase in Gunghalin traffic travelling along Majura Road from 4000 vehicles to more than 18,000 a day.

While the airport might have contributed to the traffic, the biggest problem was the failure by government to complete previously agreed roadworks such as the duplication of Pialligo Avenue.

- A user

 

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