High Speed Rail study phase two report

 
  GeorgePuss Station Staff

Location: nsw
Its a long and complex report, even downloading the pdf's seems to take forever and then I had to read it.


Some comments- its unbelievable the two major and growing population centers on the route are served by spurs-Gold Coast/Ballina and Canberra. I suspect trip generation models in these sub-corridors need investigation

The short -term answer is the one suggested to be used for Homebush as the alternative Sydney Terminal, identify requirements, and reserve/protect both options as required.


Gold Coast - Ballina is particularly interesting, if there is No HSR a very similar corridor will be needed for extention of QR through northern NSW and I don't think chosen route will be through Murwullimbah. The argument that Casino route is shorter doesn't stand up, if compared with Gold Coast/Ballina/then direct coastal to Coffs Harbour (and people live on and are still moving to the coast).


Apart from these sections no doubt NIMBYs will start once they realise this has nothing to do with current railway and route reservation will occur in next ten years even if its construction doesn't start until 2060.


That raises an interesting Question. The suggestion has already been made that freeway projects in NSW incorporate new alignments for existing rail routes. Using this logic The Newcastle/Brisbane corridor would be reserved  wide enough for HSR plus a double track "old style railway" sections of which might well be financially viable before HSR is built. I could easily of missed discussion of this.



What is missing is identification of other projects needed, Sydney and Melbourne Airport links for example and what happens to existing passenger services. can the XPT last to 2050/60?

It may never be built but personally I'd go for a twenty year delay, But as with Inland Freight route corridor reservation must start now.

A real public debate is needed and the sooner it starts the better.

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  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Its a long and complex report, even downloading the pdf's seems to take forever and then I had to read it.
...

That raises an interesting Question. The suggestion has already been made that freeway projects in NSW incorporate new alignments for existing rail routes. Using this logic The Newcastle/Brisbane corridor would be reserved  wide enough for HSR plus a double track "old style railway" sections of which might well be financially viable before HSR is built. I could easily of missed discussion of this.

...
A real public debate is needed and the sooner it starts the better.
GeorgePuss

One would hope it was a long report for the cost - someone had to bring it together. Having been part of such things the number of what about this what about that (as is they were never considered) Rolling Eyes

Shared corridors have been proposed for years (in NSW) and most of those horses are out in the paddock now. In theory fine but often the geography v cost/funding v engineering requirements v timing v responsible mob makes COAG consensus a walk in the paddock Laughing . Interesting to see how the RMS second Nowra bridge will pan out Exclamation

The non rail public - my impression is it's not even on the radar (maybe in the pub after a few more). As for Tas/SA/WA/NT...
  GeorgePuss Station Staff

Location: nsw
One would hope it was a long report for the cost - someone had to bring it together. Having been part of such things the number of what about this what about that (as is they were never considered) Rolling Eyes

Shared corridors have been proposed for years (in NSW) and most of those horses are out in the paddock now. In theory fine but often the geography v cost/funding v engineering requirements v timing v responsible mob makes COAG consensus a walk in the paddock Laughing . Interesting to see how the RMS second Nowra bridge will pan out Exclamation

The non rail public - my impression is it's not even on the radar (maybe in the pub after a few more). As for Tas/SA/WA/NT...
cootanee
Can't find any funding in budget for this.  In contrast $300m for preconstruction work on inland route. Who will be spending that money?
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Can't find any funding in budget for this.  In contrast $300m for preconstruction work on inland route. Who will be spending that money?
GeorgePuss

Why would there be any funding for it? There's a report that's being considered - that's it.

As for the Inland Railway that $300m commitment goes back to May 2011 (i.e. two years ago... Inland Rail Finally Out Of The Station)

http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/aa/releases/2011/May/aa072_2011.aspx
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The date for submissions is fast approaching.  We are starting to see what some of the local councils have to say...

Calls for tunnels to protect Lake from Fast Train - A HIGH-SPEED rail corridor should have tunnels through west Lake Macquarie to avoid land-use conflicts and protect biodiversity, the city council says.

Putting the validity or otherwise of their concerns aside - I think this will be typical of the feedback/discussion/negotiation/whatever that will go on over the entire length of the corridor.  Hence I think the time frames attached to the early stages of the project are quite reasonable.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
The date for submissions is fast approaching.  We are starting to see what some of the local councils have to say...

Calls for tunnels to protect Lake from Fast Train - A HIGH-SPEED rail corridor should have tunnels through west Lake Macquarie to avoid land-use conflicts and protect biodiversity, the city council says.

Putting the validity or otherwise of their concerns aside - I think this will be typical of the feedback/discussion/negotiation/whatever that will go on over the entire length of the corridor.  Hence I think the time frames attached to the early stages of the project are quite reasonable.
donttellmywife
Any guesses as to how much the $114 billion will go up , as more councils and interested parties want tunnels for the train.
Doesnt really matter, as no matter how expensive the HSR becomes , the money will still come from the same money tree
that Railfans think grows somewhere in Canberra.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The costing for the project does allow implicitly for some give and take on things - what the report appears to present is a reasonable design, which is not necessarily an optimal design in terms of the details - perhaps these guys get a tunnel here, but there's a bit more surface running or near urban running there.  But yes, there will certainly be a tendency for the scope of the project to increase rather than decrease.

[Beyond total cost, there is another limit to the total length that can be tunnelled due to the lower line speed in tunnels of any appreciable length.  If the amount of (only relatively!) "lower speed" running gets too extensive then the end to end transit time becomes uncompetitive, and the whole project dies.]

A bit of argy-bargy about this sort of stuff is quite healthy - required to move the debate from the realm of fantasy (where it is just all benefit and no downside) to reality (there will be winners and losers).
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Why would there be any funding for it? There's a report that's being considered - that's it.

As for the Inland Railway that $300m commitment goes back to May 2011 (i.e. two years ago... Inland Rail Finally Out Of The Station)

http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/aa/releases/2011/May/aa072_2011.aspx
cootanee

I could just repost this every month. Even the much much cheaper Inland Railway is probably a track to far.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
To be fair - you wouldn't expect significant funding in the next couple of years.  Even if things were progressing quickly (noting that six months has already slipped out of the schedule proposed in phase two) this would be the time for debate and discussion between the various levels of government.  Serious cash isn't required until 2019.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
To be fair - you wouldn't expect significant funding in the next couple of years.  Even if things were progressing quickly (noting that six months has already slipped out of the schedule proposed in phase two) this would be the time for debate and discussion between the various levels of government.  Serious cash isn't required until 2019.
donttellmywife

Next years budget (2014, 5 year forward estimates). Nope - too costly for the next (any) federal government. Given there's so much argy bargy with gonski over relatively few billions Surprised
  jjd76au Train Controller

Location: Kilmore East
There was a report released today (Aug 26th) apparently that promotes the view that it could be made cheaper, sooner, faster..... etc etc

Does anyone know of a link to this new report at all?
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The report from the advisory group doesn't say much in a definite way, apart from 'let's get on with it'.  (Given the terms of reference for this group, that's not particularly surprising - they are hardly likely to sit down and come up with detailed alternative plans in the few months since the group was formed.)  

They suggest that possibilities for delivering the system for lower cost may exist based on submitted feedback, but I think this has been overplayed somewhat in reporting - basically "cheaper options exist, but they might come with a reduction in patronage" (there is absolutely no point spending only $80 billion, and getting a lemon) and "some people reckon they could build it cheaper - we should test if that is really the case" (fair enough - but a 10% or 20% variation in total cost is the sort of uncertainty you expect at this stage anyway, and I've seen some proposals from some people that frankly strike me as loony).  

They also suggest there is scope to accelerate the time frame by reducing things like bureaucratic requirements.  Given the project is already six months off the initially published schedule, I'm not so convinced, and there's not exactly been a great deal of enthusiasm for the project at a state level ('Great Idea!  But we're not paying for it!') - so I fully expect the necessary up-front governmental negotiation to drag on somewhat.

There's some discussion that the project should be sold as a series of smaller incremental projects.  The phase two report did suggest a staged approach that seemed reasonable to me - I think the focus on the total cost and construction time has more to do with how the phase two report was reported in the media.  Note that the advisory group don't suggest alternative smaller increments.  When you get down to it, there are only a finite number of significant (from a revenue point of view) destinations - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, maybe Newcastle, maybe the Gold Coast, so your options are rather limited.

There are a few contradictions.  'We should preserve the corridor as soon as possible, but we should also retain flexibility in route options'.  It's a bit hard to protect a corridor when you don't know where it is going to run.  The flexibility in route options part of this strikes me a little as trying to keep everybody happy - sooner rather than later you are going to have to make a decision and live with the consequences.  Maintaining flexibility isn't going to help you compress pre-construction timeframes either.

Bit disappointed that they didn't address what I see as the fundamental issue - the mismatch between cost bearers and benefit recipients.  There's some arm waving about value capture, but that's playing around the edges.  

I guess they get points for trying to keep this in the public consciousness and drive things towards a considered decision.  

An interesting little note: "The Department’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics is looking at opportunities to provide higher-speed services [by which they mean higher-than-now, not high speed per-se] on the existing rail networks... This work is due to be concluded around the end of the year."
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Interesting post.  Enjoyed reading it.

I can see where the Rudd camp is going.  In my view Rudd is more of a planner and big projects for the national interest promoter than Abbott could ever hope to be.  The last thing this country needs right now is a lame government who is unwilling or unprepared to embark on the important projects which will define our nation over the next 20 years.  We need governments with vision and the gumption to follow through and not over a single term which is where Abbott is now focused.

Sure it is a large and some might say bold project but it is a worthy project. Australia for all the right reasons desperately needs to move into the 21st Century.  Today Rudd took us on the next step or two in delivering on that journey.

Further, see: http://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-13052/

An Australian government report recommends a Sydney-to-Canberra high speed rail link be up and running in 17 years, with a $23 billion price tag and a fare of $42 to $69 to compete with the airlines.
Somebody

The study referenced states Civic would be a better location for the Canberra railway station an alternative to Canberra Airport.  I wonder how this changes the ACT's bid to be the second canberra airport which as I have mentioned in previous posts is a good alternative option to building a second Sydney airport 1/2 way to Canberra anyhow.

Regards
Brian
  jjd76au Train Controller

Location: Kilmore East
Thanks DTMW!!
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The study referenced states Civic would be a better location for the Canberra railway station an alternative to Canberra Airport.  I wonder how this changes the ACT's bid to be the second canberra airport which as I have mentioned in previous posts is a good alternative option to building a second Sydney airport 1/2 way to Canberra anyhow.
bevans
I've not seen that much noise (perhaps I've not been paying enough attention) from the ACT government about making the current Canberra airport the de-facto Sydney second airport.  I've seen lots and lots of noise from the owners of the current Canberra airport.

But this sort of proposal never seemed to make much sense to me.  Build a HSR system between Sydney and Canberra, and presumably it kills demand for air travel between Sydney and Canberra (otherwise the HSR has been a complete flop).  Continue the HSR system onto Melbourne (note well, which appears to results in a better financials than the Sydney to Canberra leg on its own, and while it takes ten years or so to get to Canberra, it only takes another five to complete the line to Melbourne, so once you get to Canberra with the system it will be pretty likely that you'll keep going) and you will free up some slots at Sydney airport that would reduce (but perhaps not eliminate) the surplus demand for a second airport anyway.  

At the end of that - I can see a situation where most users of the Canberra HSR station are not getting on or off a plane (so why are we building the station out at the airport?) and those few that are would probably be in the low fare market (not willing to pay a premium on their tickets for the convenience of the current Sydney airport) and hence hardly a lucrative market for any HSR system operator.  You might even find that they are quite happy to pay an extra $30 for a bus.  

In the meantime, Canberra airport is exposed to any competitive response from a greenfields site that is closer to Sydney, particularly the areas of Western Sydney that will not be all that close to a HSR station.  As I'm sure you are aware, the population of Western Sydney is many times that of Canberra.

That said (exaggerating perhaps a little) at approximately 18:01 Australian Eastern Standard time on September 7, 2013 I'm expecting an announcement that a second Sydney airport will be built at Badgerys Creek.  This is regardless of who wins the election.  There might be some federal-state debate and argy-bargy about when it gets built, what gets built and who owns it, but both of the major parties at a federal level are being very circumspect about making it an election issue, which I think is telling.  Consequently, I think discussions about use of Canberra airport as overflow for Sydney are about to become moot.

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