I agree with Sulla. I tend to fly now from MAckay to Rocky or to Townsville or Cairns.
Up until 10 years ago I use to drive, but he affordability and frequency of flying makes more sense that the 4 to 8 hour drives depending where you are going.
In terms of topic, I like the idea, but I can't see it happening. We are too car centric in our towns. We can't even get them to use the bus services at a decent level.
But some of the arguments here, like DDA non-compliance here, make laugh. It is isn't a barrier like any other public transport project, as they can be rectified.
So any proposal in the Capital cities shouldn't proceed? All stations were non-compliant initially. Simply taxes were used to fix them. The same approach can be used for any PT project. Why should the regions be disqualified?
The real issue is cost/benefit, particularly what is the likely patronage. I suspect it will be low. There was a reason for cancelling the previous rail motor services. Unless it is done properly like 160KMH speed etc, with good station infrastructure with bus feeder networks, it shouldn't go ahead.
My view is Victoria should be commended with their work on improving regional rail. I wish other states get their act together.
Talk about contradictions...
In the first breath, you have car centric population in your towns.
Next breath, why should the regions be disqualified.
Next...there was a reason the for cancelling the previous rail motor service.
Next...spend mega$, cos it 'should be done properly' or it shouldn't go ahead.
The contradictions are the realities of regional Queensland...okay, yes, regional Queenslanders are car centric, but this is because there's no alternative, and there hasn't been an alternative for decades. While Victoria has kept spending on improving regional rail services throughout the last three decades, regional Queensland has, particularly north of Rockhampton or west of Rosewood, seen little to no improvement in services. Regional Queenslanders became car centric because in the 1980s and 1990s when Victoria was offering new airconditioned N sets, Queenslanders had thirty year old 2000 class railmotors that were never upgraded, and never replaced. One state encouraged regional patronage growth, the other, outside of very specific corridors, did not.
And before we get the, "oh, it's population" response, regional Victoria's population is 1,407,985 and Queensland's is 2,470,134. One state has built 241 Velocity carriages for regional rail travel since 2004, the other has built three 7-car tilt trains.
Of course Victoria's regional services are simpler to grasp, almost everything runs to Melbourne, and that's because regional travellers are generally moving from home to the capital for the work or services they can't get at home. And that is also why people in regional Queensland travel, except they don't just go to Brisbane. They go to Townsville, they go to Cairns, and to do that means driving, or if you've sold a kidney, flying. Those who drive then face the Bruce Highway, an increasingly congested and increasingly slower travel option, where one in five of all Australian road deaths occur, and a highway that ranks in the Top 10 most dangerous roads in the world. Several two-lane sections carry over 15,000 vehicles per day with duplication nowhere on the horizon.
So in summary, regional Queenslanders drive because they have to. This doesn't mean they wouldn't use rail if it was properly funded and offered "better than road" travel times, work friendly arrival or departures, and pricing. A Queensland version of the Victorian Regional Fast Rail model could be implemented and it would be used - it took nine years and $750-million for Victoria's project, in today's money that might mean $1.5-billion to $2-billion for a project of the same scale in Queensland. So, it will take a lot of money and a lot of wherewithal from the government that pledges and implements it - and that's where the whole inception of the concept will probably fall down - money and wherewithal are in short supply these days.