DECADES of debate are threatening to destroy the chances of Australia securing a High Speed Rail (HSR) network and the desperately needed alternative to Sydney’s only Airport, says Australasian Railway Association CEO Bryan Nye.
He said the “do nothing” approach will see Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast grow into mega cities crippled by congestion and governments will continue to struggle to provide the necessary infrastructure to support them.
“I’ve read the government report on the need for a second Sydney International Airport and it’s clear that airport capacity constraints need to be addressed to meet expected growth in international flights,” Mr Nye said.
“However, what is missing from the current debate is the impact and benefit of a high speed rail network connecting our East Coast cities.
“World experience shows that a 350km/hr high speed rail link between Sydney and Melbourne with a travel time of two hours and 50 minutes would see 60 per cent of travellers change to rail.
“The Sydney to Canberra distance would see high speed rail become the dominant mode of transport on that leg “This shift to rail would free up the desperately needed air paths and runway slots into and out of Sydney airport.”
High Speed Rail can provide alternative solutions for an early construction of a second Sydney airport.
“A 30 minute high speed rail trip could provide access to an alternate airport within a 200km radius of Sydney,” Mr Nye said
“It could also provide overflow capacity through the existing Canberra and Newcastle Airports.” Goulburn Mulwaree Council is advocating strongly for a HSR link through the region, saying improved transport access will bring people closer to employment markets.
In a submission to the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan, Council stated: “HSR is popular in parts of Asia and Europe and has proven to be a viable transport option.”
The council argued that given the federal government had commissioned the phase two study on possible routes, it was “appropriate” that the state government now actively promoted and reinforced the HSR’s importance to the NSW economy and as a catalyst for regional growth