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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Australian government to conduct more detailed analysis of proposed HSR system


Today, Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese released a report that details the findings of a study examining a proposed high-speed rail network on Australia’s east coast.

The HSR system would run from Brisbane south to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

The first of a two-phase analysis, the study assessed the proposed system’s cost, potential ridership, station location options, future market demand, and potential social and regional development impacts. Among the findings: the network would cost between $61 billion and $108 billion (in Australian currency) to construct, depending on the corridors selected; ridership could total 54 million annually; and travel times could be three hours between Brisbane and Sydney, and Sydney and Melbourne, one hour between Sydney and Canberra, and 40 minutes between Newcastle and Sydney.

Next, Australia’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government will conduct a more detailed analysis to examine the high-speed rail system’s feasibility and economic viability. The study will focus on:

• possible undeveloped land corridors and/or existing corridors to support a high-speed rail network;
• high-level construction cost estimates; geotechnical analyses in targeted areas to determine the need for tunneling or alternative alignments;
• more specific ridership estimates; potential travel patterns to help identify station locations and connections to other rail terminals and airports; and
• public and private financing options, and possible economic returns.

The study is expected to cost about $20 million (in Australian currency). The transport department plans to begin the study later this year and complete it by mid-2012.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/4/2011