What, like how we'll regret diesel-based metropolitan freight haulage because Rail Infrastructure Corporation thought it was hilarious to charge maximum rates for sparks usage?
Not exactly, but I suppose that is a related issue, the common denominator being cheap oil
. I mean, I support localised economies but not to the extent that nothing should have to be transported outside a town or city. What I don't like are the extremes to which we have gone in the opposite direction.
The 1500 volt electrification system is expensive, especially for high power applications like heavy freight which necessitate very heavy duty equipment due to high currents (correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the system even had to be upgraded to handle the Milemons and now the Waratahs due to their high power requirements that can approach 5000 hp per 8 car set - four such trains accelerating simultaneously could theoretically place substations under loads of 9600 A or thereabouts). The cost of that system combined with the need for loco changes at the limits of its relatively small area was probably never going to be competitive with high power, long range diesel locos burning cheap oil. It's unlikely that anything other than a State run operator would have put up with that situation, although subsidies may have given the incentive needed for its continuation under private operation (but that still wouldn't have solved all of the problems).
It has been said that the West never would have been electrified in the 1950s had high power diesel locos that ran on cheap fuel oil existed at the time (and I guess they didn't really exist when the scheme was planned).
The long term issue with the present transport arrangements - including the use of diesel locos in preference to electric (or steam), and uniforms made by cheap foreign labour then moved thousands of miles on oil burning ships - is that the requisite cheap oil and the warped global economics associated with it could be on the way out. Comparison between the cost in terms of money vs energy in relation to many economic activities provides an insight into the degree of warpage that has occurred.
Shame we don't use aluminium, though.
We have done.