I hope that your 'Doctorate' is in other than spelling and comparative statistics. While their status as capital cities, which are centres of government, business and industry, is important, their populations are the important criteria. Montgomery and Tallahassee have urban areas of less than a fifth of Adelaide's, let alone Melbourne's population. Melbourne and Adelaide have multiple ties in business, culture and sport. What similar ties do these small American backwaters have?Very good point about those two US capitals, however you need to apply the same logic to your comparison to Europe.
My question remains. What comparable adjacent cities in Europe haven't fast and frequent rail connections?
What makes Australia other than a third world country (and not just in the matter of a railway system that is nothing like as good as we had fifty years and more ago – think the NBN) and sinking further and further behind the advanced countries of the world by the day?
Oh, and Perth has two rail connections to Melbourne, even though they are poor and inconvenient ones. For a long time we had frequent comfortable air-conditioned trains, albeit slow and with gauge changes, an inconvenience which (so like much of what happens today) was the result of blinkered thinking.
Again I say to many here – do some travelling with your eyes and minds open, watch what can be seen daily on television and the net and learn, do some reading other than the sports pages, spend some time thinking, and then having done all of these things write something other than We're Australian. You can't expect us to do other than throwing a shrimp or two on the barbie.
It's a good bet that I have lived in the country of my birth for longer than any of you, and that my general education (gained when schools were efficient purveyors of knowledge) is far wider than that of most. I love Australia as much as any of you, but I am ashamed of how far we have sunk from having the best living standards in the world to being well behind in very many ways.
If you don't like what I have said in sheer exasperation, then console yourselves that you won't have many years to wait before getting rid of me, and you'll be able to lotus eat in peace.
Find me two cities with a total population not exceeding 6m combined with less than 500,000 people in between over a distance of 800km in the EU not separated by sea. Reality there isn't one unless you go to southern half a Spain which has the desert between Madrid and the southern coast and even there the distance is around 500km and Madrid and the southern coast alone has a population exceeding Australia.
In the Eastern half of the EU, there are few fast trains with average speeds comparable to the XPT and in many parts of Italy trains rarely exceed 160km/hr.
Additionally with EU you have over 600m in an area about the size half of Australia. The other advantages to favour rail in the EU is lack of car ownership, almost complete lack of large car and 4x4 car ownership, lack of space to store caravans and large piles of crap that Aussies take on holidays like boats, camping gear etc and high fuel prices and outside Germanic countries high road tolls on major roads. Our drive across the top of Italy was in excess of 150E in tolls, plus what ever France charged us to Marseillie which I'm sure wasn't far behind. Along with EU's mostly good railways is an even better road system that is well used. Rail in the EU is also changing, sleepers, motorrail and loco hauled is on the way out.
As I am still on our work/holiday OS for a number of years with more to go. Personally I feel the only people who feel Australia is anything but a leading developed economy is Australians with unrealistic expectations.
Yes I support a daily DMU and in busy times they can do a night run to increase capacity. But Spencer Street to Adelaide Parklands. Adelaide station does not have a SG connection, nor does a daily service justify the very significant cost of costly DG, nor does Trans Adelaide want to have its commuter service stuffed around with a interstate service arriving late in peak and the end result will be like Brisbane's XPT which has the same issue is pushed into an ungodly hour.
RTT has identified the nub of the issue.... That is population density... Comparing the very many and efficient commuter
style services with any long distance rail in Australia just does not stack up.
The population density aspect comes into play... In Western Europe, in an area like the distance between Adelaide and Melbourne, lets say 800km, is similar to Paris, France to Hamburg, Germany about 900km... (and transiting four sovereign nations) in that area, there must be the best part of 60-70 million people. That kind of population density gives massive scale to implement very fast/efficient/frequent intercity travel. Lets just say, if 0.5% of that population base, daily, needs to move anywhere in those four nations, that is still 300,000 people travelling.
Looking at the North East USA, Washington DC to New York City corridor for example, and a system I know very well, that area has around 50 million people along that corridor that is only 400km. AMTRAK operate about 36 trains daily between those cities on their own dedicated tracks.
Don't loose sight of the fact that the services like those described above are only possible due to the scale of population to support it.
So lets look at the Adelaide-Melbourne corridor... at very best, that is about 7 million people and you apply the same 0.5 percent factor, there is about 35,000 people needing to move. Now the problem with this example is the majority of that 7M, is IN Melbourne. Whereas the European and NE USA example have large concentrations at each end, and numerous large cities along the way. Also in this Adelaide-Melbourne example, you have a fairly ancient track alignment that is largely single track, sharing the rails with goods trains. Certainly not the case in the USA (NE corner) and the intercity high speed trains in Europe I am pretty sure are not sharing tracks with slow moving goods trains.
So, long distance rail in Australia remains the preserve of tourism, OR Australia invests SQUILLIONS in changing track alignments, track duplication and we all pay a LOT MORE TAX to put in place an infrastructure similar to Europe with a fraction of the population to pay for it or make it viable.
You know.... I love trains and I love travelling on trains, but the reality is, to emulate something like Europe is not realistic with the distances and population density that we have in Australia. That said, I'm sure there is scope to improve and some have suggested various improvements, but frankly that is fannying about the edges compared to the current service.
My thoughts anyway...