Forget Sydney to Canberra fast rail - think about commuter traffic instead

 
  Mardy Beginner

I can think of several better uses for the couple of billion dollars that would be required to provide high speed railway between Sydney and Canberra.

As this forum has suggested previously, such a project would need to wrestle with congestion in Western Sydney, gradients in the Great Dividing Range and competition from road and aviation options.  It makes for a rather questionable business case, especially if only an hour or two is shaved off the journey, and/or if speed comes at the cost of dropping intermediate points (Campbelltown, Moss Vale etc).  

Very few people in Canberra take the train to Sydney.  Planes are faster, driving is faster and buses are faster and cheaper.  And there isn’t really anything romantic about the journey to make it worthwhile.  

I would rather see the existing Sydney to Canberra line terminate in Goulburn, and a new train suited to the straighter Canberra to Goulburn track be brought in.   This train could service Canberra to Goulburn more frequently and with more speed, effectively providing commuting options.   Canberra is running out of urban growth corridors, and can better serve the needs of the hinterland if transport was more efficient.

This option would also allow Canberreans to connect in Goulburn with Melbourne-bound overnight trains.

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  ANR Assistant Commissioner

An idea has been proposed to link regional centres like Albury with Canberra by rail. This makes more sense than farting yet another high speed train idea between CBR and SYD.

Gladys should shelve plans for a $25b Parramatta to City Metro and build infrastructure that the state she represents, needs. If people are fed up with the Sydney congestion, they really do have other options of where to live e.g. Canberra
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I can think of several better uses for the couple of billion dollars that would be required to provide high speed railway between Sydney and Canberra.

As this forum has suggested previously, such a project would need to wrestle with congestion in Western Sydney, gradients in the Great Dividing Range and competition from road and aviation options.  It makes for a rather questionable business case, especially if only an hour or two is shaved off the journey, and/or if speed comes at the cost of dropping intermediate points (Campbelltown, Moss Vale etc).  

Very few people in Canberra take the train to Sydney.  Planes are faster, driving is faster and buses are faster and cheaper.  And there isn’t really anything romantic about the journey to make it worthwhile.  

I would rather see the existing Sydney to Canberra line terminate in Goulburn, and a new train suited to the straighter Canberra to Goulburn track be brought in.   This train could service Canberra to Goulburn more frequently and with more speed, effectively providing commuting options.   Canberra is running out of urban growth corridors, and can better serve the needs of the hinterland if transport was more efficient.

This option would also allow Canberreans to connect in Goulburn with Melbourne-bound overnight trains.
Mardy
Disagree, the upgrade to the South Main required for Medium Speed Rail or MSR, rated to around 200km/h (not HSR which is a waste of money for the volumes and distance) to Canberra will benefit not just Canberra, but also south main commuter, southern regional and freight services.

Only the works done on the Canberra branch which is cheap as single track with little signaling and mostly flattish undeveloped terrain would be not benefited by others.

On the South Main, services as far as Moss Vale would save 30+min in travel time and regional services to Gouburn around 45-60min or so, however Canberra services would look after stations south of Moss Vale.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I agree that a vhst is a complete and utter waste of time and money.

Fixing the alignment south of Macarthur to Goulburn would do more then just provide a faster service to Canberra. It will reduce freight and passenger travel times between Sydney and Melbourne and other regional NSW towns.

In Canberra I think the focus should be on stage 2 light rail going to the airport and kingston train station and I see no reason why the light rail couldn't share the current track to Queanbeyan with 6 xplorer services a day and maybe 1 or 2 freights.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I think the conversation has moved away from HSR to MSR anyway in Australia.  Policy makers realise that HSR is not worth it but MSR could be quite interesting.

My preferred pattern would be Central-Campbelltown-Southern Highlands-Goulburn-Canberra.  Some services could run Parramatta-Campbelltown-Southern Highlands-Goulburn-Canberra and could extend further north too if say Newcastle (with its ~500k people) was brought into a similar network.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I agree that a vhst is a complete and utter waste of time and money.

Fixing the alignment south of Macarthur to Goulburn would do more then just provide a faster service to Canberra. It will reduce freight and passenger travel times between Sydney and Melbourne and other regional NSW towns.

In Canberra I think the focus should be on stage 2 light rail going to the airport and kingston train station and I see no reason why the light rail couldn't share the current track to Queanbeyan with 6 xplorer services a day and maybe 1 or 2 freights.
simstrain
Start with closing the corridor south from Bundendore and then go straight to the airport, saving 20-30min in the process of travel time and build Canberra's station at Canberra Airport where all the services already exist and adding half a dozen trains a day will only add more.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

How would it save 20-30 minutes by going to the airport RTT? Fixing the goulburn to canberra line at the moment could save 30 minutes in allowing the speed limit to be higher then the 40-60km/h it currently is.

You need to look at the reality that the new alignment people suggest is not going to be built except for if somehow the wasteful vhst project gets up. nsw trainlink isn't going to spend money on building that alignment but it could fix the track and allow faster running times and a 30 minute reduction in travel time.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
How would it save 20-30 minutes by going to the airport RTT? Fixing the goulburn to canberra line at the moment could save 30 minutes in allowing the speed limit to be higher then the 40-60km/h it currently is.

You need to look at the reality that the new alignment people suggest is not going to be built except for if somehow the wasteful vhst project gets up. nsw trainlink isn't going to spend money on building that alignment but it could fix the track and allow faster running times and a 30 minute reduction in travel time.
simstrain
Funnily enough they're more likely to get capital funding for a big shiny project like re-routing the Canberra line to Canberra Airport on a HSR/MSR standard route than they are for a bunch of curve-easing deviations on the route via Bungendore.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I agree that a vhst is a complete and utter waste of time and money.

Fixing the alignment south of Macarthur to Goulburn would do more then just provide a faster service to Canberra. It will reduce freight and passenger travel times between Sydney and Melbourne and other regional NSW towns.

In Canberra I think the focus should be on stage 2 light rail going to the airport and kingston train station and I see no reason why the light rail couldn't share the current track to Queanbeyan with 6 xplorer services a day and maybe 1 or 2 freights.
Start with closing the corridor south from Bundendore and then go straight to the airport, saving 20-30min in the process of travel time and build Canberra's station at Canberra Airport where all the services already exist and adding half a dozen trains a day will only add more.
RTT_Rules
Except that cuts out Queanbeyan which is NSW which im sure will get political.  Plus IMV the station for Canberra should be more near the CBD/Civic area anyway to serve the business/government community better.  Yes the airport has some business but not all business.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
How would it save 20-30 minutes by going to the airport RTT? Fixing the goulburn to canberra line at the moment could save 30 minutes in allowing the speed limit to be higher then the 40-60km/h it currently is.

You need to look at the reality that the new alignment people suggest is not going to be built except for if somehow the wasteful vhst project gets up. nsw trainlink isn't going to spend money on building that alignment but it could fix the track and allow faster running times and a 30 minute reduction in travel time.
simstrain
Been down this path before and I laid it out for you line by line.

The section south of Bunendore is the slowest section, Going direct from Bunendore is shorter and a hell of a lot faster.

The airport is a natural terminus for a city like Canberra for which there is no Sydney style CBD and no way to get there even if you did. The LR will eventually get to the airport to provide a smooth connection.

I never said DON'T do anything with the corridor north of Bundendore all the way to Sydney so please don't pretend I did, I just said get rid of the current southern route which is a slow twisting section of track going the wrong way.

The 4.3h journey could cut to 2.5h without a HSR train in sight if we open ourminds and its not a $100B project.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Start with closing the corridor south from Bundendore and then go straight to the airport, saving 20-30min in the process of travel time and build Canberra's station at Canberra Airport where all the services already exist and adding half a dozen trains a day will only add more.
Except that cuts out Queanbeyan which is NSW which im sure will get political.  Plus IMV the station for Canberra should be more near the CBD/Civic area anyway to serve the business/government community better.  Yes the airport has some business but not all business.
james.au
How many of the Queanies use the Canberra train a day now?

The airport is a natural terminus, it has faculties and services the train will never have.  Even if you use the train today to do business or govt work, the first thing you hop onto is a taxi or bus.

We are trying to get the Canberra train to Canberra in a time that is actually civilised, apart from numerous realignments north of Bunendore all the way to Sydney, most of it low cost, the most obvious to by-pass one of the slowest section average speeds over the entire route and at the same time save even more by removing the unnecessary track-age to get there.

To appease the peasants, you give them what they actually will use, improved local PT. Close the HR line, hand the track and corridor over the the Canberra govt and throw them a few million to build a LR line to Queanie, job done. The airport will also have land put aside for freight terminal and the current and only customer relocated as well as land for a container terminal.

EDIT:
Its about 2km from down down Queanie up Canberra Avenue which is suited to LR to the HR line. This will cost around $80M/km to convert to LR.

Its then 6km to Canberra Railway Station using the HR corridor which is alot cheaper, say 1/2 the price per km and I assume maybe they can even use most existing track about half of which is dual track and includes a dual bridge. The tracks finish right next to the Wentworth Ave, so perfect for continuing and connecting to the future extension LR.

So all up, you get LR from Kingston to Queanie, around 8-9km for less than a few hundred million. Not bad, peasants happen.

The line from Bundendore to the Airport is now 13km shorter than the current corridor (23km vs 36km) and straighter so trains can actually travel at a decent speed, ~200km/h.

Fyshwick yard can be redeveloped to generate some cash to fund the big picture modernisation.

ARHS can big given some bucks to relocate to Queanie station, with its still significant yard which will be truncated just before the junction where the LR connects and decide if they want to maintain the 28km route to Bundendore which being I assume mostly concrete sleepers and heavy rail should be alot easier than the aging Cooma Line.

Now if you really insist on using Kingston as the HR terminus, you can still run via the airport and come into Kingston from the east, still a much faster overall route.
  tom9876543 Train Controller

Start with closing the corridor south from Bundendore and then go straight to the airport, saving 20-30min in the process of travel time and build Canberra's station at Canberra Airport where all the services already exist and adding half a dozen trains a day will only add more.
RTT_Rules

I looked on Google Maps, and it seems a line going "direct" from Bungendore to Canberra Airport would need an approx 5.4km tunnel to climb from 740m altitude to 800m altitude (just west of Bungendore). Then it would need another approx 1.5km tunnel near Twyford, to drop rail line back down to 720m altitude.

The bean counters would never approve the cost of approx 7km tunnel for this route. Try and be realistic.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Start with closing the corridor south from Bundendore and then go straight to the airport, saving 20-30min in the process of travel time and build Canberra's station at Canberra Airport where all the services already exist and adding half a dozen trains a day will only add more.

I looked on Google Maps, and it seems a line going "direct" from Bungendore to Canberra Airport would need an approx 5.4km tunnel to climb from 740m altitude to 800m altitude (just west of Bungendore). Then it would need another approx 1.5km tunnel near Twyford, to drop rail line back down to 720m altitude.

The bean counters would never approve the cost of approx 7km tunnel for this route. Try and be realistic.
tom9876543
We are talking medium speed rail, now do the sums to try and sort out the current route which is around 6km longer and save the same amount of time. So even if you accept the cost of upgrading this 6km of track, you then have to go somewhere else and find the equivalent time savings.

On a single track, no stations, a tunnel of this length is expensive per km compared to laying track on flat ground, but not like building a tunnel in the city. The savings may likely be off-set in reducing travel time, train usage time, running costs, reduced route km to maintain, reduced energy costs. A similar tunnel is being added to the Inland.
  tom9876543 Train Controller

Start with closing the corridor south from Bundendore and then go straight to the airport, saving 20-30min in the process of travel time and build Canberra's station at Canberra Airport where all the services already exist and adding half a dozen trains a day will only add more.

I looked on Google Maps, and it seems a line going "direct" from Bungendore to Canberra Airport would need an approx 5.4km tunnel to climb from 740m altitude to 800m altitude (just west of Bungendore). Then it would need another approx 1.5km tunnel near Twyford, to drop rail line back down to 720m altitude.

The bean counters would never approve the cost of approx 7km tunnel for this route. Try and be realistic.
We are talking medium speed rail, now do the sums to try and sort out the current route which is around 6km longer and save the same amount of time. So even if you accept the cost of upgrading this 6km of track, you then have to go somewhere else and find the equivalent time savings.

On a single track, no stations, a tunnel of this length is expensive per km compared to laying track on flat ground, but not like building a tunnel in the city. The savings may likely be off-set in reducing travel time, train usage time, running costs, reduced route km to maintain, reduced energy costs. A similar tunnel is being added to the Inland.
RTT_Rules


You are the person who came up with proposal to build shorter rail line between Bungendore and Canberra Airport.
How about you draw a proposed route on Google Maps and explain what tunnels / large bridges are required.
Of course it is theoretically possible, but the bean counters will never approve it.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
We are talking medium speed rail, now do the sums to try and sort out the current route which is around 6km longer and save the same amount of time. So even if you accept the cost of upgrading this 6km of track, you then have to go somewhere else and find the equivalent time savings.

On a single track, no stations, a tunnel of this length is expensive per km compared to laying track on flat ground, but not like building a tunnel in the city. The savings may likely be off-set in reducing travel time, train usage time, running costs, reduced route km to maintain, reduced energy costs. A similar tunnel is being added to the Inland.


You are the person who came up with proposal to build shorter rail line between Bungendore and Canberra Airport.
How about you draw a proposed route on Google Maps and explain what tunnels / large bridges are required.
Of course it is theoretically possible, but the bean counters will never approve it.
tom9876543

If you want fast or medium speed rail between Sydney and Canberra, we need to remove the bends and excess track km that is in part due to the current route not being originally built with Canberra in mind.

On what would be best described as the roughly 100km long Canberra branch today there is potential opportunity to use a more direct corridor from Bundendore to save considerable route km and eliminate the majority of the slow bends on the line.

If you want more direct and straight corridors, tunnels and bridges will likely be needed.

As likely not 1km of track in NSW has been realigned for the benefit of sectional times for the last 100 years, in some cases they have actually made it worse. So how would you even know what the been counters want to do if a MSR or FSR to Canberra was to ever see the light of day. Qld has funded realignment of over 500km of the North Coast Line since the early 1980's and the total passenger numbers per day would be a fraction of what would available Syd-Can.

So if a project was to be put on the table for MSR/FSR, what is the cost of the more direct route that could save up to 30min on the current route or upgrading the current corridor? Send me detailed topography maps of the area and maybe we can take a poke at it. You can send the details via PM, waiting!
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
We are talking medium speed rail, now do the sums to try and sort out the current route which is around 6km longer and save the same amount of time. So even if you accept the cost of upgrading this 6km of track, you then have to go somewhere else and find the equivalent time savings.

On a single track, no stations, a tunnel of this length is expensive per km compared to laying track on flat ground, but not like building a tunnel in the city. The savings may likely be off-set in reducing travel time, train usage time, running costs, reduced route km to maintain, reduced energy costs. A similar tunnel is being added to the Inland.


You are the person who came up with proposal to build shorter rail line between Bungendore and Canberra Airport.
How about you draw a proposed route on Google Maps and explain what tunnels / large bridges are required.
Of course it is theoretically possible, but the bean counters will never approve it.
tom9876543

If you want fast or medium speed rail between Sydney and Canberra, we need to remove the bends and excess track km that is in part due to the current route not being originally built with Canberra in mind.

On what would be best described as the roughly 100km long Canberra branch today there is potential opportunity to use a more direct corridor from Bundendore to save considerable route km and eliminate the majority of the slow bends on the line.

If you want more direct and straight corridors, tunnels and bridges will likely be needed.

As likely not 1km of track in NSW has been realigned for the benefit of sectional times for the last 100 years, in some cases they have actually made it worse. So how would you even know what the been counters want to do if a MSR or FSR to Canberra was to ever see the light of day. Qld has funded realignment of over 500km of the North Coast Line since the early 1980's and the total passenger numbers per day would be a fraction of what would available Syd-Can.

So if a project was to be put on the table for MSR/FSR, what is the cost of the more direct route that could save up to 30min on the current route or upgrading the current corridor? Send me detailed topography maps of the area and maybe we can take a poke at it. You can send the details via PM, waiting!

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