we remain in the dark ages ?No. We are not in the Dark Ages because we do not have HSR!!! The Countries that do have HSR have greater population densities and efficient Metro systems. Australia has neither. Lets get our all our capital cities having something resembling a decent commuter rail network before even talking about flaming HSR!!!]
Despite some of the rants in these pages, governments can walk and chew gum at the same time. IE improve and expand urban PT capacity and encourage decentralisation of the south east of Australia in particular by encouraging connectivity with capital cities by decentralisation and fast and efficient rail services.
Airlines can't do commuter runs well otherwise we'd already be flying daily from Ballarat or Bendigo to Melbourne etc. and due to the geography the only possibly viable commuter air service doesn't exist... Toowoomba to Brisbane.
Before the naysayers start clicking 'disagree'...I'm talking decentralisation, that is in simple terms encouraging growth in regional centres like Goulburn, Canberra, Wagga, Albury, Wangaratta etc.
Regional cities that have a good quality of life, aren't congested and are fairly self contained employment wise. All these regional centres can sustain much larger populations for tree-change commuters which will assist in relieving the burden of the expanding Melbourne and Sydney which have become very expensive to implement infrastructure which should have been undertaken before the growth...not by catch-up later as is often the case.
Victoria's example of its regional rail renaissance I predicted in these pages over 10 years ago after the completion of its Regional Fast Rail project has come to fruition in a far more successful way in part by people tree-changing to the regional centres of Victoria than even I anticipated and has become an ideal template for HSR despite some shortcomings.
Victoria's example of operating higher speed express trains and slower stoppers on the same tracks will have been studied by others and the same template could be implemented as a bigger template as a foundation for HSR.
Again before the naysayers start... due to the south east of Australia's unique population diversity it's entirely possible to operate express and limited stops services on a HSR and give the existing rail line to overnight freight and existing line speed passenger rail.
I'm not commenting on the economics of HSR...though infrastructure is always expensive, however Australia's south east population is growing rapidly.