Don't know if we are ready for HSR yet or for it to have any chance to some sort of pay back.
I just booked with TGV for 2 + 2 people
- Marseille to Paris 750km (3.5hr) $500 One Way
- Paris to Geneva 410km (3.25hr) $420 One Way
I have a hire car to Marseille and we ditch it there. It would cost only another $100 for hire + fuel to get to Paris. I could then keep it there for the 5 days and drive it to Geneva in 1hr longer than the train to Geneva (maybe see more) for similar cost to TGV and I need a car at Geneva to get to Monte Blanc. If it wasn't for the HSR factor for myself and the kids, I'd be in the car and save about half my travel expenses includes additional savings in getting the one way car hire back to Austria.
HSR in Australia, I suspect many a tourist will see the same cost disadvantages and probably more so with cheaper fuel and car ownership than Central Europe. Even for a family to go to say the Mel from Sydney for weekend, yes HSR will be about half the time, probably 3.5-4hr. but the above costs means the tickets for 4 would be about $800 as a minimum. A mid sized car would cost about $200 in fuel, add in a bit of wear and tear $250.
Note these ticket prices are for physicaly shorter routes than Australia, with infrastructure built on cheaper wages and a heavily subsidised railway. How much do we really think it will be between Australian state Capitals? Also note the time frame above for the distances. So it would appear that Syd-Mel is highly unlikely to be less than 3.5hr if not 4hr and Syd-Brisbane is anything below 4hr.
Paris Geneva trains operate roughly at 3hrly intervals
Paris Marseille trains operate I think about every 2hr if you include both operators.
One thing that I think if built needs to happen is not a vertically intergrated HS railway. Rather Govt builds and operates the track and infrastructure. Trains then purchased and operated by private companies, thus allowing mutiple operators to help lower costs. The French have the very cheap operator, I didn't book with them this time due to risk of soemthing not going to plan. But after this trip I would consider next time.