Goulburn is set to benefit from the creation of a fast rail network, as recently announced by the State Government.
Under the new proposal, the Southern Inland route will run from Sydney to Canberra – with claims that trains will undertake the journey in just one hour.
It is just one of four new routes proposed, all within 300km from Sydney. They are:
- Northern Route including the Central Coast and Newcastle.
- Southern Inland Route including Goulburn and Canberra.
- Western Route including Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange
- Southern Coastal Route including Wollongong and Nowra.
High Speed Rail expert Professor Andrew McNaughton has been appointed to confirm the most appropriate routes, train speeds and station locations.
The NSW Government has said it will start work on a fast rail network in the next term of government, linking regional centres to each other and Sydney.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said a fast rail network will give people greater choice about where they live and how they commute to work.
“We know a fast rail network will transform NSW unlike any other project and we will make it a reality,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We need to make it easier for people to consider moving to regional NSW and there is no better way to do that than building a fast rail network.
“The expert will provide advice to the government on what is possible and what would be involved.
The delivery of fast rail on those routes has the potential to slash travel times by up to 75 per cent.
Approximate travel times could be:
Response from STRUG
While welcoming the proposal, Southern Tablelands Rail Users Group (STRUG) remain skeptical of how such speeds will be achieved.
“This announcement is good news and is long overdue from any NSW government, but taking 30 minutes to travel from Goulburn to Canberra seems too long for high speed rail,” STRUG president Greg Price said.
“I would have thought 15-20 minutes would be closer to the mark and 40-45 minutes to Goulburn from Sydney.
“That is not the column to focus on though. We need to focus on the faster rail column. That is what the government is most likely aiming for and which Regional Rail Action NSW members have been requesting the government implement.
“Medium speed rail (the faster rail option) will provide significant reductions in travel times at much more reasonable cost.
“If the government is serious about providing incentives for people to move to regional areas they need to provide more services to Goulburn and Canberra.
“The current services to these locations is currently totally inadequate and is holding the Southern Tablelands development back.
“STRUG expects the Labor Party to continue this policy should they be elected to government next year.
“Medium speed rail services are too important for regional NSW to be ignored by the next NSW government.”
A $4.6 million allocation from Snowy Hydro Fund
Meanwhile, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said a $4.6 million allocation from Snowy Hydro Fund to develop fast rail will further boost confidence in regional NSW.
“We need to do the work to gauge what is possible and when,” Mr Barilaro said.
"Making regional travel faster, safer and easier brings huge economic potential to NSW regional towns and cities by making it easier to invest, do business, build a lifestyle and visit our regional towns.
“We are delivering better water security, digital connectivity and freight connections from the Snowy Hydro fund and now developing game changing infrastructure to access regional NSW."
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the NSW Government has a proven track record of delivering infrastructure.
“We are delivering rail to North West Sydney, a second Sydney Harbour Rail Crossing, completing the M4 and finishing the duplication of the Pacific Highway – all projects the previous Labor Government promised, but failed to deliver,” Mr Constance said.
“A fast rail network is another project which will only happen under the NSW Liberals & Nationals.”
The advice from Professor McNaughton will pave the way for the NSW Government to take a new approach to the delivery of fast rail by identifying immediate improvements to existing rail corridors, while undertaking long-term visionary planning.
This approach allows for significant improvements in travel times for customers in the coming years, while at the same time delivering the building blocks for a high speed dedicated rail network.
“In the immediate future, faster rail would see upgrades along existing rail alignments and provide services of at least 200km/h, slashing travel times by one third,” Mr Constance said.
“Ultimately, in the long term, high speed rail would see the development of new alignments and lines, providing speeds of over 250km/h, with examples overseas travelling up to 350km/h and higher – giving the potential to cut travel times by up to 75 per cent.”
For more information visit: www.nsw.gov.au/fastrail