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Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore has thrown her weight behind ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr's bid for a faster train to Canberra, saying it could become a "premium" service if private sector investment was secured.
Mr Barr secured Cr Moore's support to speed up the train trip between Canberra and Sydney during the latest meeting of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors.
Canberra region councils, including Queanbeyan-Palerang and the Yass Valley Council, have also indicated their support, Mr Barr said.
The current service runs three times a day and takes at least four hours. Mr Barr wants to shave about an hour off the trip to make it a viable alternative to flying or driving.
"Improving this strategic transport link would support economic growth in Sydney, Canberra and the booming south-east of NSW, and provide genuine transport choices for travelling between our two cities," Mr Barr said.
"Both the ACT and NSW governments envisage the Canberra region as a borderless region with the nation's capital at its heart. Improving rail links between Canberra and Sydney will help make this happen."
The ACT government is working with NSW on possible investment in new high-speed tilt trains and associated infrastructure upgrades.
The territory and state governments are also working on a joint-proposal to the Commonwealth for funding from its $10 billion national rail program, announced in the federal budget.
Cr Moore said with private sector investment, the journey from Sydney to Canberra via rail could become a "premium" service.
"The opportunity to travel directly from the centre of Sydney to Canberra in quiet, comfortable trains with a table to work on and full connectivity makes sense. Maintaining the tracks without speed restrictions would make the train service much more attractive, both for business and tourist passengers," Cr Moore said.
"Passing through picturesque regions, the train service could offer a premium service with the right investment in trains, tracks and ticketing technologies. There is potential to reduce some congestion around Sydney Airport given the high proportion of flights that are for return travel for business meetings.
"There is a real opportunity for government and the private sector to work together to create a market for quality services and to deliver on that."
This article first appeared on www.canberratimes.com.au
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