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Right now, it doesn’t look like much. On one side of a dusty road a paddock, on the other a tilled field; in the distance a clump of trees sway lazily in the breeze.
But according to a rail expert, this unassuming patch of earth sandwiched between Sydney’s suburban sprawl and the Blue Mountains beyond could be responsible for dashing the dream of high-speed rail in Australia for “three or four decades”.
That’s despite TGV-style train travel between Sydney and Melbourne being “perfectly viable” and a transport option that would give “airlines a run for their money”, John Hearsch, president of rail advocacy organisation Rail Futures, told news.com.au.
This patch of land — and many more around it — are about to be torn up to construct Sydney’s second airport.
Once known as Badgerys Creek, the largely rural suburb where much of the airport will be based, the $8 billion facility is now officially and grandly known as Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport in honour of one of Australia’s great aviation pioneers.
Chinese high-speed trains at rest in Wuhan. It could be some time before such a site occurs in Australia. Source: SuppliedSource:Supplied
All going to plan, the tottering telegraph poles will be replaced by terminals and the meadows by runways in 2026.
“In my view, the decision to go ahead with Badgerys Creek Airport has, in practical terms, set back the case for high-speed rail on the east coast for three or four decades,” Mr Hearsch said at the AFR National Infrastructure Summit earlier this month.
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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