Bullet train is a pipe dream as regional boost, think tank suggests

 
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6767904/abandon-bullet-trains-and-query-sydney-newcastle-upgrade-think-tank/?fbclid=IwAR3Z7hU5meuYQqzus8Lv2cokkj2iPGz_xqzX_4X_6QwSAXyo4Lx-OLl_pxA
[WARNING, WILL USE UP 1 OF 5 FREE ARTICLES]
Basically to sum it up, a Melbourne-based think tank has crushed the idea of building a high-speed train in Australia, saying it would be too costly for a small population and would not have the promised environmental benefits.

They said that "Very few city residents would move to the regions; regional cities may actually lose out if their residents can get to the capital more quickly; and many regions have more pressing infrastructure needs than faster trains, including better schools, hospitals, and internet and mobile connections,".

Then the article goes over the cost issue and says that when the French TGV sped up connections between Paris and Lyon, it was Paris that benefited most,
and that while it is argued that with unemployment rising this is an ideal time to create jobs by building rail infrastructure, the institute says any money should be spent for the future the nation now faces rather than the one imagined before the crisis.



What are your thoughts on this?

I personally do agree that it's a pipe dream, it doesn't matter how fast the trains are, high speed rail is NOT going to suddenly allow people to move out of the capitals and commute from a distance, or give people outside of the capitals access to a capital city's labour market.

Why? The employers, maybe in the time of face-to-face job applications, weak computers, and dial-up internet, you could live outside a capital city and get an employer who won't mind you commuting.
But nowadays, an employer is going to automatically favour an applicant who lives local in the capital city (who can already afford to) as opposed to someone from outside of the capital (who is likely struggling on $240 a week, and potentially on a cashless welfare card), and no high speed train will ever change that.

Most job applications today are filtered through software packages, just a simple negative answer such as an address outside an hour's commute time could see an application rejected.

High speed rail is not the answer, the answer is move liveable cities with local jobs and infrastructure besides the capitals (seriosuly, NSW has 800,642 km² of land, and only ONE livaebale city, and yet we wonder why the cost of living is so high), upgrades to existing intercity/interurban services for practical commute times, and regulations for employers to take things like 'address' off job applications.

Sponsored advertisement

  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
I agree that there are higher priority infrastructure needs than bullet trains for regional Australia.

I disagree that there is only one “liveable “ city in NSW. However, there is a strong bias within both government and business for the capital city. The decision-makers want to live in Sydney (it is seen as prestigious), the people who report to the decision makers want to live there (close to the perceived action), migrants want to live there (perceived better job opportunities and existing ethnic communities). As a result, infrastructure and amenities investments are concentrated in Sydney. And regional Australia is just seen as a mine/farm.

Huge mindset change across the entire state would be required to redirect to a regional focus. Perhaps the work-from-home habit being developed may assist, in combination with the continued affordability question around Sydney housing, in refocusing people on country living.

Albury, Bathurst, Dubbo, Tamworth and Wagga joined several years ago in an initiative called “evocities”, to promote regional city living. It would be interesting to see whether anyone actually measured outcomes of this activity. All are good-sized cities, with modern amenities and air connections to Sydney (but not between each other). With the exception of Bathurst, the Passenger rail service is pretty poor - even Bathurst is only three services per day.

For a city like Dubbo or Tamworth to be a credible alternative, I would think that at least two daily trains, morning and afternoon, and an acceptably quick timetable, would be needed. You don’t need 300km/hr, but something around 4 hours would be pretty attractive at more reasonable level of capital investment.

The other major investment needed for these cities is reliable, and quality water supply.
  viaprojects Chief Train Controller




What are your thoughts on this?

"Ethan1395"


a puff peace to fill in a page on a local paper ... NSW government is upgrading Sydney to Newcastle fast rail options  ..
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The country's major cities will benefit immensely from a HSR project running between Melbourne and Brisbane via Canberra and Sydney.  Hourly services as the minimium making the journey between Sydney and Melbourne 2.45 mins would be a great outcome for the business traveller as long as the stations were in the CBD of the major cities and we connected to the metro for interchange as is the case for Japan for example.

Stations at the regional centres of Goulburn, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Wangaratta, Seymour would underpin property and business development in these areas. A business case for the project stated (I have read) for every $1 invested there woiuld be a return of $1.80 which is a good return for longer term infrastructure projects.

The issue we have in Australia is too many groups do not like progress and would much rather support the cartel of pricing and modal ways or working we have today.  Nice cosy relationships with the government who receive incentives to ensure things stay the way they are and we do not progress.
  a6et Minister for Railways

The only way the so called bullet train/HST would work in this country would be for travel to the primary interstate terminals, the biggest issue though is the old neck noose is the track and alignment issues, meaning the need for replacement alingnments rather than the snail trail that is the current sticking point along with the cost to fix the two ROW's.  The most costly would be the Sunshine states access.  The times that Bevans has suggested to Melbourne would be what was needed for it to compete with flying,  The benefit on that line is that once out of Central, which the station is in a core location and close to the main business centre of Sydney, the same would apply to Spencer St and its proximity meaning the journey overall could be faster as a traveller does not need to change and catch a train/bus/taxi from the respective airports which adds to the flying time.  Same aspect with Brisbane, but would the timetables would need to be more friendly with the arrival/departure times.

Looking at the state based aspect with regional trains, & using the Northern Tablelands/Tamworth as the primary criteria, and using the down TT as the example. The train to Armidale takes 8.05 hours. For those travelling further to Glenn Innes which is now served by a bus is another 1 1/2 hours the train would take longer I would suggest. The Moree section is a total of 8.30hours journey.  

Neither of those two trains and I would say the same with other regional services the times would need to come down dramatically with the coal trains in the valley creating issues for the regional services, there is a very big need to have an alignment aspect for both the Northern and North Coast services to at least do something to reduce the current times, the NC being the problem child though.

One aspect that could help the two Northern lines would be if the governments took on board the newish talk regarding the alignment between Sydney and Broadmeadow, with the line going through a near Wondabyne and Gosford along with some other locations, the biggest saving in time though would include that already mooted but include the old realignment proposal for a line to be built from the bottom of Hawk Mt to Hexham, meaning NCLE passengers would need to catch a local train to Maitland to join those trains, the proposal was also there for interstate and other freight services as well.

The regional services may actually benefit as much with the concept of medium or higher speed trains than are in operation now, and that would require alignments and grade easing to be built for passenger train services to run at around the 200Km/h speeds at a sustained rate for the length of the journey.
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
One of the major failings of HSR by its proponents is the concept of it as a "commuter" service, allowing people to move to the regions, living further away from their employment in the capital cities.  This concept is unsustainable, as they overlook the fact that the level of fares would be substantially higher, making it unaffordable for all but the well off to commute on a regular basis, let alone daily.

In the NSW context, I would consider the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, South Coast and Southern Highlands to be the practical limits for a regular commuter service.  The likes of Newcastle, Bathurst, Goulburn and Nowra, all of which are 160km or more from Sydney, are just too far away even with faster rail, although they would still benefit from an upgrading to Medium Speed Rail standard (up to 200km/h) for irregular travel.

Rather than focussing on a single corridor for HSR between Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, I would prefer to see a more diversified approach in connecting all of the major regional centres in each State with their respective capital cities with MSR.  This would provide more immediate benefits to each State as a whole and at a fraction of the cost of HSR.  It would also significantly improve journey times between the State capitals.  It's a fallacy that HSR can viably compete with air travel on the longer interstate routes, in terms of frequency, journey times and fares, having regard to the level of demand.  Having an hourly frequency between Sydney and Melbourne for example is fanciful.  This is sparsely populated Australia, not densely populated Europe, China or Japan.

By all means, reserve a land corridor for a future HSR network, including terminal facilities in each capital city.  By around mid-century, it may be worth looking at again as the east coast seaboard between Melbourne and Brisbane becomes more densely populated, which could be as high as 30 million.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the impression that the Grattan Institute report is ambivalent towards upgrading of the regional and interstate rail network even to MSR standard. They don't appear to have considered the benefits which would accrue to regional centres in improving connectivity with their respective capital cities by upgrading the existing regional rail networks.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
I disagree that there is only one “liveable “ city in NSW. However, there is a strong bias within both government and business for the capital city. The decision-makers want to live in Sydney (it is seen as prestigious), the people who report to the decision makers want to live there (close to the perceived action), migrants want to live there (perceived better job opportunities and existing ethnic communities). As a result, infrastructure and amenities investments are concentrated in Sydney. And regional Australia is just seen as a mine/farm.
SinickleBird
I guess it comes down to how one defines 'liveable', I don't think a city can be counted as 'liveable' if there are not enough jobs to sustain it's population, or the appropriate amount of infrastructure relative to the population and density. I could not call city fit to raise a family in if I could not get a job there, and if my wife was a prisoner in her own home (if she could not drive), and young people were unable to learn independence owing to the lack of public transport, or learn the responsibility of getting a job and saving for a car.

It's obvious why infrastructure and amenities investments are concentrated in Sydney, however, Sydney should not be the ONLY place where this is done, as it's not sustainable, and it's the families and young people (future generations) who suffer the most because of it.

And as I pointed out, a high-speed bullet train is not going to fix this!

The country's major cities will benefit immensely from a HSR project running between Melbourne and Brisbane via Canberra and Sydney. Hourly services as the minimium making the journey between Sydney and Melbourne 2.45 mins would be a great outcome for the business traveller as long as the stations were in the CBD of the major cities and we connected to the metro for interchange as is the case for Japan for example.

Stations at the regional centres of Goulburn, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Wangaratta, Seymour would underpin property and business development in these areas. A business case for the project stated (I have read) for every $1 invested there woiuld be a return of $1.80 which is a good return for longer term infrastructure projects.
bevans
This is exactly what the article pointed out and is why it's NOT the solution, it's the overpriced affordable capital cities and wealthy business travellers that will benefit.

Stations in regional centres are not going to underpin property and business development, as the bullet train would not suddenly make these places liveable by allowing people to move out of the capitals and commute from a distance, or give people outside of the capitals access to a capital city's labour market, owing to the way employers and modern job applications work.

And not to mention that parking would be a nightmare, Holsworthy Station in Sydney's southwest serves something around 10k passengers a day, and it has absolutely massive parking structures for a train station, but it's still never enough.
Even if regulations were put on employers (which needs to be done regardless) to allow people to commute, a high speed rail station would need a car park the size of one at an airport to allow the bulk of a regional city's, or even a larger non-capital city's population to commute.

the biggest saving in time though would include that already mooted but include the old realignment proposal for a line to be built from the bottom of Hawk Mt to Hexham, meaning NCLE passengers would need to catch a local train to Maitland to join those trains, the proposal was also there for interstate and other freight services as well.
a6et
Unfortunately if such a line were to be built, and if history is anything to go off, local services to Maitland will probably be ceased and the tracks replaced with a cycleway.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
A6 has his finger on the pulse , but then he's driven many rail routes so he knows how indirect/out dated our rail alignments really are .
I'll be brave and suggest we all blame successive governments who have fought very hard not to spend our tax dollars on modern alignments . They've thrown up so many things like the XPTs X2000s etc etc . Nothing short of taking to the sky can improve rails performance other than building better alignments .
Ask yourselves this , would bullet trains do significantly better on current interstate and regional rail lines assuming that they had the 25KvAC strung up . Very obviously not .

There have been way too many studies done , the government know exactly what the answer is . They know the huge investment dollars involved and are obviously very reluctant to go there .
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The country's major cities will benefit immensely from a HSR project running between Melbourne and Brisbane via Canberra and Sydney.  Hourly services as the minimium making the journey between Sydney and Melbourne 2.45 mins would be a great outcome for the business traveller as long as the stations were in the CBD of the major cities and we connected to the metro for interchange as is the case for Japan for example.

Stations at the regional centres of Goulburn, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Wangaratta, Seymour would underpin property and business development in these areas. A business case for the project stated (I have read) for every $1 invested there woiuld be a return of $1.80 which is a good return for longer term infrastructure projects.

The issue we have in Australia is too many groups do not like progress and would much rather support the cartel of pricing and modal ways or working we have today.  Nice cosy relationships with the government who receive incentives to ensure things stay the way they are and we do not progress.
bevans

That business case is completely and utterly wrong Bevans. Only 7 passenger rail networks make money and they all have one thing in common. They are all metro's that move 2 million or more passengers a day.

To make the Sydney to Melbourne journey in 2.45 hours the vhst will not be able to stop anywhere other then Sydney and Melbourne. It won't be stopping at Seymour, Wangaratta, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Canberra or Goulburn. This VHST does nothing for freight rail and it will be an expensive white elephant. Encouraging property development only benefits the property developer. It doesn't benefit anybody else and will ruin grazing land.
  a6et Minister for Railways



the biggest saving in time though would include that already mooted but include the old realignment proposal for a line to be built from the bottom of Hawk Mt to Hexham, meaning NCLE passengers would need to catch a local train to Maitland to join those trains, the proposal was also there for interstate and other freight services as well.
Unfortunately if such a line were to be built, and if history is anything to go off, local services to Maitland will probably be ceased and the tracks replaced with a cycleway.
Ethan1395
Ethan, we have gone through issues in the past so not commenting on your other posts, this latest one in reply to what I have said, once again highlights your real lack of understanding in regards to rail transport especially in regard to passenger services. To say constructing a bypass of the two heavy grades and poor alignments between Dora CK and Adamstown for the Regional and perhaps Brisbane services would cause the cessation of the local commuter trains to Maitland actually highlights your ignorance in this area.

Facts as follows, such a bypass would be highly beneficial for freight services off the North Coast and including from QLD to Sydney, there will still be such trains running even when the ILR is completed. That will benefit freight customers in the regional areas in the northern part of the state by not tying up paths in the areas bypassed, which in the past you have complained about the problems at Adamstown and other stations that exist between Dora Ck and the NCL interchange.

The various passenger services to & from the regions will still stop at Maitland, and passengers can catch a skip stopper to Maitland and then get on their respective services, both directions.  

Consider also the aspect that there are freight services daily that run in & out of Port Waratah, also Crawfords have opened or about to open a new container hub at Werris Creek, that will likely still need the use of the down and up Main lines, as will the trains that will use the bypass as it skirts from near Tarro, the traffic to and from Werris Creek by Crawfords will run to Sydney for Export.

One thing for sure is that the cyclists will need to be fit to get out of the way of trains that will still run on the main lines between Maitland and the interchange and to Tarro for the bypass.
  DCook Train Controller

Location: The standard state
In my own opinion there should be two Sydney to Melbourne routes and two Sydney to Brisbane routes.
My reasoning for this is that in order to straighten the corridor some places need to be bypassed, if Wondabyne station is bypassed there would be complaints from hikers and campers, if Wondabyne station is not bypassed all the people that want a faster corridor would complain. The same would go for many Central Coast and Southern Highlands stations, Picton is one good example
Rather than have this situation a dedicated high speed rail corridor could be built underground from Parramatta to Maitland and then on to Brisbane bypassing the central coast and shortening the journey times from about 3/4 hours to about 1 1/2 hours (Sydney to Maitland section), whilst also keeping the usual corridor for general passenger use


This plan is probably very uneconomic and expensive and due to that it will probably never happen
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Ethan, we have gone through issues in the past so not commenting on your other posts, this latest one in reply to what I have said, once again highlights your real lack of understanding in regards to rail transport especially in regard to passenger services. To say constructing a bypass of the two heavy grades and poor alignments between Dora CK and Adamstown for the Regional and perhaps Brisbane services would cause the cessation of the local commuter trains to Maitland actually highlights your ignorance in this area.

One thing for sure is that the cyclists will need to be fit to get out of the way of trains that will still run on the main lines between Maitland and the interchange and to Tarro for the bypass.
a6et
I can respect that you are older, wiser, and more experienced than me, and some things (although not all things) I suggested in the past were unrealistic, however, I think we are seeing things from different perspectives.
Your perspective comes from years of experience in the rail industry, whereas my perspective comes from growing up in Newcastle, attempting to apply for jobs in Sydney with a Newcastle address, finally getting a job in Sydney by using a family member's Sydney address (and not holding my breath for a smooth tax return process), and seeing how families struggle.

As much as I could talk about it all day, considering the countless pages on other topics, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to turn this into a 'fix Newcastle' topic, but I do want to point out how a high-speed bullet train will NOT change employers and allow people to commute, maybe in the days of dial-up internet and manually processed job applications, but today without serious employer regulation (which should happen regardless), and even then, there would be no solution to the fact that high-speed commuter rail stations would need airport-sized parking structures.

Regarding my comment on the cessation of local services to Maitland being a result of a rail line bypassing the Newcastle metropolitan area, obviously it would not happen if the tracks were still needed for other purposes (like trains from Port Waratah for example) besides local trains, and then those cyclists better be riding fast and better be riding something that is stable riding over railway sleepers,
but if the tracks were ONLY being used for local trains, then the services would go the way of the dodo, and that's simply based on history, it's simply happened too many times before to think any differently, if the services did not cease, then they would be privatised and left to die a slow death (just like Newcastle buses).
  a6et Minister for Railways

Ethan, we have gone through issues in the past so not commenting on your other posts, this latest one in reply to what I have said, once again highlights your real lack of understanding in regards to rail transport especially in regard to passenger services. To say constructing a bypass of the two heavy grades and poor alignments between Dora CK and Adamstown for the Regional and perhaps Brisbane services would cause the cessation of the local commuter trains to Maitland actually highlights your ignorance in this area.

One thing for sure is that the cyclists will need to be fit to get out of the way of trains that will still run on the main lines between Maitland and the interchange and to Tarro for the bypass.
I can respect that you are older, wiser, and more experienced than me, and some things (although not all things) I suggested in the past were unrealistic, however, I think we are seeing things from different perspectives.
Your perspective comes from years of experience in the rail industry, whereas my perspective comes from growing up in Newcastle, attempting to apply for jobs in Sydney with a Newcastle address, finally getting a job in Sydney by using a family member's Sydney address (and not holding my breath for a smooth tax return process), and seeing how families struggle.

As much as I could talk about it all day, considering the countless pages on other topics, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to turn this into a 'fix Newcastle' topic, but I do want to point out how a high-speed bullet train will NOT change employers and allow people to commute, maybe in the days of dial-up internet and manually processed job applications, but today without serious employer regulation (which should happen regardless), and even then, there would be no solution to the fact that high-speed commuter rail stations would need airport-sized parking structures.

Regarding my comment on the cessation of local services to Maitland being a result of a rail line bypassing the Newcastle metropolitan area, obviously it would not happen if the tracks were still needed for other purposes (like trains from Port Waratah for example) besides local trains, and then those cyclists better be riding fast and better be riding something that is stable riding over railway sleepers,
but if the tracks were ONLY being used for local trains, then the services would go the way of the dodo, and that's simply based on history, it's simply happened too many times before to think any differently, if the services did not cease, then they would be privatised and left to die a slow death (just like Newcastle buses).
Ethan1395
I have lived in the Maitland area now for 3 years and regularly travel to Newcastle, while I worked at Enfield from 1964 - end 1969 and then transferring to Werris Creek, which ended in 1971 when I was sent on loan to PTW in the January coal shut down period with 15 other firemen, all of whom were able to go back to WCK but I was refused permission to do so, as I was the only one qualified for steam outside of shunting engines, only way I could get out of that so called loan period after the month was to offer to go to Delec on loan or my resignation on the spot. I ended up at Delec and in the period up to 1976 when I took my appointment as driver on the ETR at Central for 2 years, then to Port Kembla until 1982 when we went back to Werris Creek until medical retired end of 88. If you do some research, you will find that at Enfield/Delec & Werris Creek working into the Newcastle area was very frequent, from Enfield/Delec at least once a fortnight, from Wck usually 3-4 trips a fortnight, with a lot of time in the barracks along with my mate trips into Ncle and surrounding areas were frequent, especially when working the Saturday night up Mails/Wallangarra exp where we had around 12 or more hours to idle our time, thus getting around NCLE was both interesting and boring, the tennis club made for more interesting times.

No regional area will ever overtake the capital city of every state in this country, some regional area's do better than others, population make that a no brainer, especially as businesses move to the regions, however there are towns in NSW that are growing at good rates, NCLE is deemed to have 457,192, make that 457,200 in case of twins being born by June 2020, thing is not all are living within the Newcastle boundary though but would include the various suburbs that radiate out from there, but how far do you take it?

In Sydney, the current government is pulling up tracks or wanting to, in order to put crewless trains as replacements, interestingly will be how many of the stations now without staff will have them on platforms when the new metro stations open, especially after the incident this week shown on TV news of a woman being caught in the doors as the train pulled out, thankfully a call was made and the train stopped, with the woman being saved.  How far the metro's will expand is anyone's guess but, looking at how much the general area that would include Sydney are commuters, yet also have basically poor transport options, especially car parking options at stations which stops many from using PT, will only get worse over time, metro or heavy trains, thing is the Sydney area will grow for years and so will car commuting which this Corona virus will push people back on the road networks, great for the governments as they get more money through tolls. Melbourne and Brisbane, along with the Gold Coast are growing and PT is being expanded in areas where they were not some time back.

Lastly, & I simply repeat in response to what you have said regarding the local lines to/from Maitland, if the bypass goes ahead. There are and will be local pax services along the line, while I could readily name more than a couple of stations that could readily be closed owing to almost no one using them there will be needs for commuter trains for some time to come.  The lines are also used by coal trains to and from PTW and Kooragang as needed, likewise there are more than enough other trains from other areas that head into the PTW complex and run via the mains as far as possible before going over on to the coal roads at Warabrook, IIRC the large Grain terminal at PTW is still in operation and with decent harvests will put pressure on the lines.

For the regions/interstate traveller getting on a commuter service to/from Maitland to get onto the longer distance trains is NO real hinder for them especially when people in Sydney, say at Penrith or similar distances may have to take suburban trains to Strathfield or Central to connect with regional/interstate trains, so a 25 minute (all stations) 18minute skip service would or should be no hindrance.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

In my own opinion there should be two Sydney to Melbourne routes and two Sydney to Brisbane routes.
My reasoning for this is that in order to straighten the corridor some places need to be bypassed, if Wondabyne station is bypassed there would be complaints from hikers and campers, if Wondabyne station is not bypassed all the people that want a faster corridor would complain. The same would go for many Central Coast and Southern Highlands stations, Picton is one good example
Rather than have this situation a dedicated high speed rail corridor could be built underground from Parramatta to Maitland and then on to Brisbane bypassing the central coast and shortening the journey times from about 3/4 hours to about 1 1/2 hours (Sydney to Maitland section), whilst also keeping the usual corridor for general passenger use


This plan is probably very uneconomic and expensive and due to that it will probably never happen
DCook

Wondabyne? Seriously? The XPT and Xplorer doesn't stop there so how does it affect regional services.

Do you seriously realise how much a tunnel from Parramatta to Maitland would cost and how unviable that would be.
  a6et Minister for Railways

In my own opinion there should be two Sydney to Melbourne routes and two Sydney to Brisbane routes.
My reasoning for this is that in order to straighten the corridor some places need to be bypassed, if Wondabyne station is bypassed there would be complaints from hikers and campers, if Wondabyne station is not bypassed all the people that want a faster corridor would complain. The same would go for many Central Coast and Southern Highlands stations, Picton is one good example
Rather than have this situation a dedicated high speed rail corridor could be built underground from Parramatta to Maitland and then on to Brisbane bypassing the central coast and shortening the journey times from about 3/4 hours to about 1 1/2 hours (Sydney to Maitland section), whilst also keeping the usual corridor for general passenger use


This plan is probably very uneconomic and expensive and due to that it will probably never happen
DCook
Been few of the stops that are supposed to be made at Wondabyne now see any passengers, not sure where there are hiking trails either, but no doubt would be wrong there.  Certainly much of the CC line is a hindrance to long distance trains, even the fast ones to Hamilton & return, to eliminate them as you say would be huge & a costly exercise. To even consider tunnelling from even Cowan or closer to Hornsby to have a more direct route would really have crippling costs, having a tunnel and bypassing Woy Woy and the other winding line to Gosford while still expensive would have a lot less cost.

As for the main south, there is no reason why the alternative alignment (while not cheap) that would bypass the areas from Campbelltown to Goulburn would not be a viable work, the existing main lines has enough industrial business on it to keep the line viable along with the commuter trains.  A new line should be also a continuation of the wires to Goulburn. Beyond there?

The aspect of a VFT to Canberra and beyond to Melbourne, I would question the additional cost of such a line especially as to the numbers who would use it, would really need a very good business case. Although there is a fair case to get the existing line upgraded to enable pax services to run at faster speeds than currently.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
No regional area will ever overtake the capital city of every state in this country, some regional area's do better than others, population make that a no brainer, especially as businesses move to the regions, however there are towns in NSW that are growing at good rates, NCLE is deemed to have 457,192, make that 457,200 in case of twins being born by June 2020, thing is not all are living within the Newcastle boundary though but would include the various suburbs that radiate out from there, but how far do you take it?

In Sydney, the current government is pulling up tracks or wanting to, in order to put crewless trains as replacements, interestingly will be how many of the stations now without staff will have them on platforms when the new metro stations open, especially after the incident this week shown on TV news of a woman being caught in the doors as the train pulled out, thankfully a call was made and the train stopped, with the woman being saved.  How far the metro's will expand is anyone's guess but, looking at how much the general area that would include Sydney are commuters, yet also have basically poor transport options, especially car parking options at stations which stops many from using PT, will only get worse over time, metro or heavy trains, thing is the Sydney area will grow for years and so will car commuting which this Corona virus will push people back on the road networks, great for the governments as they get more money through tolls. Melbourne and Brisbane, along with the Gold Coast are growing and PT is being expanded in areas where they were not some time back.

Lastly, & I simply repeat in response to what you have said regarding the local lines to/from Maitland, if the bypass goes ahead. There are and will be local pax services along the line, while I could readily name more than a couple of stations that could readily be closed owing to almost no one using them there will be needs for commuter trains for some time to come.
a6et
I don't think anyone is expecting any regional area (I hate the word by the way, people think regional = anything that is not a capital, that is wrong, is Newcastle regional? is Wollongong regional? is the Gold Coast regional?), I personally just think that people need a choice about where they can live and still have access to amenities like sustainable employment and convenient public transport, it's completely ridiculous to think that NSW has 800,642 km² of land, and only ONE liveable city!, and people think a high-speed bullet train to give people quicker access to Sydney is the solution, but I doubt these people know much about modern job applications, or maybe they do but ti didn't cross their mind.

Unfortunately our government simply doesn't have our best interests in mind, I don't want to come across as whiny saying this but it's true, whether state or federal, millions are spent on stadiums, sports grants, tax cuts for big business, punishment for the unemployed (google 'cashless welfare card'), etc, but they can never seem to cough up a cent for local jobs (hence the crewless trains and staffless stations you mentioned, or the lack of local manufacturing) or infrastructure that will help those most in need (for example, public transport in places where families can actually afford to live).

Sydney's struggling to cope for the reasons you mentioned about parking, and people were almost falling off platforms at Town Hall station pre-covid, all the more reasons to give residents a choice about there they can live, let me repeat; 800,642 km² of land, 8,117,976 people, ONE liveable city, do people really think this is sustainable? or that a high-speed bullet train is the answer?

Covid-19 combined with the current petrol prices will likely encourage people to use cars more, but ultimately congestion will probably make public transport use rise again,
and young people will probably also be more dependence on public transport with growing youth unemployment/underemployment, and families having less money owing to general unemployment/underemployment caused by Covid-19 and an already crippled economy, will make owning more cars (with the exorbitant insurance premiums for young drivers) unsustainable.

Lastly, by all means the need for commuter trains to Maitland will always be there, likewise the need for commuter trains to other areas of Newcastle including Fassifern/Toronto and Belmont, and a proper bus network, I always see people complaning on the Newcastle Herald Facebook page about the lack of parking in the CBD, can't really blame them when there is no other practical way to get there besides by car,
but our Government does not care about the needs of the people, especially the needs of those on middle/low income, and if history is anything to go off, the cessation of the local commuter trains to Maitland (and Fassifern) is entirely possible should the Newcastle metropolitan area be bypassed with a branch connecting Port Waratah and Kooragang to the bypass.


In my own opinion there should be two Sydney to Melbourne routes and two Sydney to Brisbane routes.
My reasoning for this is that in order to straighten the corridor some places need to be bypassed, if Wondabyne station is bypassed there would be complaints from hikers and campers, if Wondabyne station is not bypassed all the people that want a faster corridor would complain. The same would go for many Central Coast and Southern Highlands stations, Picton is one good example
Rather than have this situation a dedicated high speed rail corridor could be built underground from Parramatta to Maitland and then on to Brisbane bypassing the central coast and shortening the journey times from about 3/4 hours to about 1 1/2 hours (Sydney to Maitland section), whilst also keeping the usual corridor for general passenger use


This plan is probably very uneconomic and expensive and due to that it will probably never happen
Been few of the stops that are supposed to be made at Wondabyne now see any passengers, not sure where there are hiking trails either, but no doubt would be wrong there.  Certainly much of the CC line is a hindrance to long distance trains, even the fast ones to Hamilton & return, to eliminate them as you say would be huge & a costly exercise. To even consider tunnelling from even Cowan or closer to Hornsby to have a more direct route would really have crippling costs, having a tunnel and bypassing Woy Woy and the other winding line to Gosford while still expensive would have a lot less cost.
a6et
Would it be possible to ease some curves between the Hawkesbury River and Wondabnye with some raised embankments? This could speed up travel time, not bypass Wondabyne, and should be relativity cheap, however, it may be prohibited as the area is part of a national park.

From there you could possible tunnel and bypass to Ourimbah to speed up freight, regional, interstate, and Newcastle services, and keep the old line to serve the busy Woy Woy, Gosford, and Wyong, as well as intermediate stations.


Following that it should just be a matter of straightening the curvies between Warnervale and Morisset, and Morisset and Fassifern, from there I would not be opposed to a freight line bypassing the Newcastle metropolitan area if there was a guarantee no one would rip up the tracks between Fassifern and Newcastle.
  DCook Train Controller

Location: The standard state
Several of the comments I made in my post earlier today have been heavily misinterpreted and misunderstood

Firstly, Wondabyne
Never in my post did I mention that XPLs and XPTs stopped at Wondabyne. My reasoning for mentioning Wondabyne was to provide an example of an area that would likely be bypassed by any route straightening owing to the heavy curvature preceding and following the station making it an area where the trains need to slow down. It is the reason that I mentioned Picton straight afterwards

Secondly, a tunnel from Sydney to Maitland
This was only brought up as a general idea for the reason of asking if it was possible
One thing that was ignored was that in the bottom of my post I clearly said "This plan is probably very uneconomic and expensive and due to that it will probably never happen"

On a6et's comment on patronage, it is actually higher than it has ever been now that there are 4 houses in the close vicinity (1km) and increasing amounts of housing on the nearby islands, most of which use Wondabyne as their only station
Just west of the station is the junction to about 4 hiking tracks, all of which were quite well used when I last went there (December 2019)
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Any new VHST route isn't going to be running via Wondabyne and straightening the route isn't going to achieve much either and the expense to do so is not even worth it.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I don't think anyone is expecting any regional area (I hate the word by the way, people think regional = anything that is not a capital, that is wrong, is Newcastle regional? is Wollongong regional? is the Gold Coast regional?), I personally just think that people need a choice about where they can live and still have access to amenities like sustainable employment and convenient public transport, it's completely ridiculous to think that NSW has 800,642 km² of land, and only ONE liveable city!, and people think a high-speed bullet train to give people quicker access to Sydney is the solution, but I doubt these people know much about modern job applications, or maybe they do but ti didn't cross their mind.
Ethan1395

I agree with this. If you live somewhere other then Sydney then we should really be focussing on keeping people away from Sydney instead of transiting to Sydney. Develop more work like food and clothing manufacturing which has been decimated by the rush to cheap chinese imports. There used to be many food manufacturers in regional NSW that have been shut down because of corporate greed.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

I don't think anyone is expecting any regional area (I hate the word by the way, people think regional = anything that is not a capital, that is wrong, is Newcastle regional? is Wollongong regional? is the Gold Coast regional?), I personally just think that people need a choice about where they can live and still have access to amenities like sustainable employment and convenient public transport, it's completely ridiculous to think that NSW has 800,642 km² of land, and only ONE liveable city!, and people think a high-speed bullet train to give people quicker access to Sydney is the solution, but I doubt these people know much about modern job applications, or maybe they do but ti didn't cross their mind.

I agree with this. If you live somewhere other then Sydney then we should really be focussing on keeping people away from Sydney instead of transiting to Sydney. Develop more work like food and clothing manufacturing which has been decimated by the rush to cheap chinese imports. There used to be many food manufacturers in regional NSW that have been shut down because of corporate greed.
simstrain
Quite unfair to pin the rush to Chinese imports on corporate greed as the consumers desire for cheap consumer goods also plays a big part in the equation. In the past, many Australian manufacturers were making supernormal profits on fairly average products which set the scene for cheaper Asian produced goods. I believe a lot of the critics of globalism view the past through rose tinted glasses.

I also don't think the demise of many Australian country towns can be blamed by cheap imports but more on the radical changes to farming and reduction in bodies required to service the whole agriculture industry.

Blaming the demise of regional NSW (or any other state) on foreign imports sounds like the simplistic propaganda propagated by the likes of One Nation etc. whose policies are actually racially based.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
I don't think anyone is expecting any regional area (I hate the word by the way, people think regional = anything that is not a capital, that is wrong, is Newcastle regional? is Wollongong regional? is the Gold Coast regional?), I personally just think that people need a choice about where they can live and still have access to amenities like sustainable employment and convenient public transport, it's completely ridiculous to think that NSW has 800,642 km² of land, and only ONE liveable city!, and people think a high-speed bullet train to give people quicker access to Sydney is the solution, but I doubt these people know much about modern job applications, or maybe they do but ti didn't cross their mind.
I agree with this. If you live somewhere other then Sydney then we should really be focussing on keeping people away from Sydney instead of transiting to Sydney. Develop more work like food and clothing manufacturing which has been decimated by the rush to cheap chinese imports. There used to be many food manufacturers in regional NSW that have been shut down because of corporate greed.
Quite unfair to pin the rush to Chinese imports on corporate greed as the consumers desire for cheap consumer goods also plays a big part in the equation. In the past, many Australian manufacturers were making supernormal profits on fairly average products which set the scene for cheaper Asian produced goods. I believe a lot of the critics of globalism view the past through rose tinted glasses.

I also don't think the demise of many Australian country towns can be blamed by cheap imports but more on the radical changes to farming and reduction in bodies required to service the whole agriculture industry.

Blaming the demise of regional NSW (or any other state) on foreign imports sounds like the simplistic propaganda propagated by the likes of One Nation etc. whose policies are actually racially based.
nswtrains
Unfortunately you can't blame consumers for wanting cheaper goods, especially when the cost of living in Australia is so high, and that is partially caused by things like NSW only having one liveable city.
But it's not just consumer goods that are foreign imports, where are our cars made now? where are our trains made? our buses? our trams? etc.

It's corporate greed, yes, but it's also lack of government priority, they won't pay for Australian labour and job creation, but they will pay for sports grants, stadiums, tax cuts for big business, and most disgustingly, punishment for the unemployed.

It makes me feel dirty for paying tax.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Quite unfair to pin the rush to Chinese imports on corporate greed as the consumers desire for cheap consumer goods also plays a big part in the equation. In the past, many Australian manufacturers were making supernormal profits on fairly average products which set the scene for cheaper Asian produced goods. I believe a lot of the critics of globalism view the past through rose tinted glasses.

I also don't think the demise of many Australian country towns can be blamed by cheap imports but more on the radical changes to farming and reduction in bodies required to service the whole agriculture industry.

Blaming the demise of regional NSW (or any other state) on foreign imports sounds like the simplistic propaganda propagated by the likes of One Nation etc. whose policies are actually racially based.
nswtrains
I think it is entirely fair to blame it on corporate greed because consumer desire is driven by what the greedy corporations put on their shelves. They drove the move to cheap imports as it gave them more money in their pocket.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Quite unfair to pin the rush to Chinese imports on corporate greed as the consumers desire for cheap consumer goods also plays a big part in the equation. In the past, many Australian manufacturers were making supernormal profits on fairly average products which set the scene for cheaper Asian produced goods. I believe a lot of the critics of globalism view the past through rose tinted glasses.

I also don't think the demise of many Australian country towns can be blamed by cheap imports but more on the radical changes to farming and reduction in bodies required to service the whole agriculture industry.

Blaming the demise of regional NSW (or any other state) on foreign imports sounds like the simplistic propaganda propagated by the likes of One Nation etc. whose policies are actually racially based.
I think it is entirely fair to blame it on corporate greed because consumer desire is driven by what the greedy corporations put on their shelves. They drove the move to cheap imports as it gave them more money in their pocket.
simstrain
Sims, have been pondering on your reply to Ethan and both your posts.

I can understand the aspect of not likin the use of the word Regionals, but that raises the question of how does one give some form of recognition to the larger areas outside each of the state capitals and moreso in NSW with the Sydney being the largest capital city in Oz?

Thing for me is that in many ways using the term seems to be a criticism of those areas/inland cities and the like especially when talking about PT services and in this case Rail to those areas. The term regions is a bit less an issue that calling some areas that identify with their ecology, eg Northern Tablelands & where does it cut in and out especially the towns and City of Armidale. Similarly, we have the Blue Mountains used as a generic title, same with the Illawarra, and Hunter areas, the Riverina is deemed a region, but many other areas are just part of the topography NW slopes and & Plains, Central tablelands and the list goes on.  As such a town/city outside what is called the Great Dividing Range needs to have something of a title that makes the large locations as places of value.

Who started the cheap import era in this country? A fellow who in recent years has been very vocal about overseas imports and loss of local jobs as well as industries, the very same fellow who was very much responsible for the flood of cheap Japanese electrical trick and other stuff, he had a bright spot on a Midday TV show where he showcased those items, he built a large company selling a lot of rubbish but developed with electrical goods, the stores were named after this fellow, DICK SMITH.  His stores no longer exist.

Australia has lost its way as far as being a lucky country, & while Ethan mentions the aspect that Aussies are to blame for the cheap imports and buying the, but that's been going on even before Dick Smith. This country produced the vast majority of our own needs, both household items, cars built here and the railways purchased rail from the PTK steel Works along with other places where we manufactured items here, the vast amount of farm machinery was also built here, petrol was refined in each state, now only Caltex has a single refinery in Brisbane, none in NSW and think the same in Vic & SA.  As Oz companies got bought out by overseas companies we basically have nothing great in the area of manufacturing, City or rural based, NSW rail track comes from Spain, and who in NSW builds Rolling Stock or builds locomotives, add that to other states, at least the one steel works that still makes steel in Whyalla is supplying the rails for the ILR.

We have to not just blame ourselves for this but also the corporate greed that has brought our country down from a producer & inventor of many common items that were Oz owned but now owned by overseas conglomerates, while most still have the brands available to buy, there is nothing more than some office tower where their business headquarters are and the boss & head office in the country that now owns these companies, with the heads getting the big coin and bonuses.

We will never get back to those days where we were a producing country and one that had local manufacturing, but we need to start pulling together to at least build/make the same items here at prices more than competitive with the stuff from o/seas.

Tourism is an industry that could benefit from faster rail services especially to many of the major locations, and regional areas, if the times were better than are had now. I don't especially believe anymore in regards to the HST concept but more the mid range faster trains but that means better grade and alignment separation/improvements. Trains that can run at 200Km/h on track that is fixed is not just for the rural areas, and certainly not for the commuter, but no reasons why if such systems were available and the passengers pay to commute or for holiday packages, no reason why rail could not be more of a competitive force.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The problem with your theory there A6ET is that high speed rail isn't a rural, regional or any non significant out of Sydney areas rail service.  High speed rail is an airline replacement and not a regional rail service and so it can not stop at the locations you mentioned if it is to compete with the airplane. Many of the overseas HSR lines are also on flat land and in case you hadn't noticed the east coast of Australia is not exactly flat.

Look at how long the inland is taking and a vhst service is going to be exponentially more difficult to build then this. VHST also does not solve our rail freight issue. It doesn't get trucks off the road and is a passenger only system.
  a6et Minister for Railways

The problem with your theory there A6ET is that high speed rail isn't a rural, regional or any non significant out of Sydney areas rail service.  High speed rail is an airline replacement and not a regional rail service and so it can not stop at the locations you mentioned if it is to compete with the airplane. Many of the overseas HSR lines are also on flat land and in case you hadn't noticed the east coast of Australia is not exactly flat.

Look at how long the inland is taking and a vhst service is going to be exponentially more difficult to build then this. VHST also does not solve our rail freight issue. It doesn't get trucks off the road and is a passenger only system.
simstrain
Sims,  I think you have missed much of what I have said, firstly I am not mentioning HST in fact I think I said a speed of 200Km/h well short of the HST.  The big thing with it was also the aspect of saying that there is a need for curve and track realignments, which are also of benefit for other trains, and not just for a single or couple of trains each way a day.

During this virus time, rural airlines have suffered, likewise the councils that own the rural airports who have called out for financial assistance to keep them not just open but also for upkeep costs, that the locals have to pay for through their rates, not that their rates would drop if the airports closed though.

For passenger rail to continue and be viable to the many rural towns & cities, the existing goat track lines need to be fixed with the curve and track re-alignments including grade reductions, and that includes the existing passenger services and future new train sets.  It would also benefit freight operations as well.

Here is but one example. For many years Ardglen tunnel and the grades, alignments on both sides were very much a hindrance for both freight and passenger trains. I did the trials on loaded 4200tonne coal trains on the up with rear end banking with the modified 45 on line, the two 81's up front still struggled yet it was a better performance that what went before the 81's, the overall speed was a bit better once moving out of Willow Tree.  The stop on the MDI side of the tunnel for the bankers to be cut off took up some extra time and became the norm for a while.

I watched one of todays coalies and how things have changed, there were 3 (IIRC) of the new types of loco's on the front, and & two pushing at the rear, the speed out of WT (not out of the banker siding on the flat between WT and Chilcotts Creek) was very impressive and it did not start to drop until getting to Kankool from there the speed dropped off a lot but generally was better than was seen before.  New loop on the Northern side of MDI had the train go in there, end of what I saw.

For some years there had been talk and costings done to bypass the range, more especially to be rid of the tunnel, one of the last was to have the line go further to the south following the side of Pages River and swing down to Willow Tree, the cost was not cheap but better than two others, both involved tunnels and one a deep cutting that would go under a families home on the WT side of the range, to the south of Chillcotts Creek and line up with the main line along the flat.  One of the more favoured was a tunnel basically straight from MDI/Temple Court and mostly level under the range and linking up near Kankool.

Cost was quite big, but the overall view was that in the long term each proposal would be of a huge benefit in the savings of Motive Power and crews, totally doing away with the need for bank engines. Our friends who had property at Ardglen had big offers on their property by companies involved in the coal haulage at that time (pre the current set up & in the 90s) but as it dragged on the offers started to dry up but they finally sold and moved on, now living in Tamworth.

The most expensive option being the direct line, was seen to be the most beneficial as running times would be reduced for both loaded and empty trains.  While a major project at that time and would still be major there would be more than one saving had or if it ever eventuated but that wont happen in my lifetime though. There are similar sections east of MDI that could readily be fixed meaning time and cost savings going forward rather than just working on what's there now and has been in many places since the line was first built and put into operation, benefitting business and passengers.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: a6et, Transtopic

Display from: