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FEDERAL Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says a second and final study on a high-speed rail network along the east coast will evaluate its merits and costs to the Australian economy.
Global Transport consultant AECOM has been retained for the study and will have the opportunity to complete the work it started on this project almost a year ago, Mr Albanese said.
The second study follows the release in August of its interim report into potential routes for the network from Brisbane to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.
It would test the findings from the interim report into the feasibility of the network.
Mr Albanese said the study would evaluate with more accuracy the alignment of track and station locations, improve the forecasts of building costs and operating expenses of the network, re-evaluate the number of passengers, and recommend funding options.
High-speed rail could become a "game changer" for the economy, he said.
"(It would have) the potential to better integrate our regional and metropolitan communities, ease congestion on our roads and at our airports as well as provide a new foundation for a low-carbon, high-productivity economy," Mr Albanese said in a statement on Sunday.
The interim report found a high-speed rail network would cost between $61 billion and $108 billion to build, requiring more than 1600 kilometres of new standard-gauge double track.
Trains on the network would travel up 350km/h and offer journey times such as three hours between Brisbane and Sydney and 40 minutes from Sydney to Newcastle.
In the first study, one-way tickets from Brisbane to Sydney would cost $75 to $177, while Sydney to Melbourne would be $99 to $197.
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/second-high-speed-rail-study-announced/story-e6frfku0-1226213443874
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