The politics and costs of high-speed rail project

 

News article: The politics and costs of high-speed rail project

The one planned for Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and estimated to cost $14.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The politics and costs of high-speed rail projectThe one planned for Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and estimated to cost $14.9 billion, has been hailed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong as a “game-changer”. The two prime ministers gave the green light to South-east Asia’s first HSR project two years ago. Once operational, the 300kmh train service will significantly reduce travelling time between the two capitals to 90 minutes, shorter than that of even low-cost air carriers.

Most of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore transit stations, based on the current masterplan, are located away from the city centre. Moreover, the terminal in Kuala Lumpur will not be KL Sentral, and at the Singapore end, the terminal will be in Jurong East and not downtown.

I am personally quite excited about this project.  I have used high speed rail in other parts of the world and think it is very very reasonable and efficient.

Why it works for me (well when I worked internationally) was the ability to take the train downtown to be delivered down town.  This is especially so in Japan and especially between Tokyo and Osaka which I have done numerous times.

The concern for me is the distance from the city centre for the stations being proposed.

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  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I am personally quite excited about this project.  I have used high speed rail in other parts of the world and think it is very very reasonable and efficient.

Why it works for me (well when I worked internationally) was the ability to take the train downtown to be delivered down town.  This is especially so in Japan and especially between Tokyo and Osaka which I have done numerous times.

The concern for me is the distance from the city centre for the stations being proposed.
bevans
Having spent a bit of time in Malaysia, 100km south of KL and Singapore with inlaws. I can see why they are not running from CBD to CBD and by-passing the intermediate city/town CBD's along the way. Its costs a friggin fortune, will add delays to the project and opens up a huge can of worms and NIMBY's.

Even Paris doesn't have one HSR station, rather a number of them surrounding the city, depending on your direction of travel.

Drag this back to Australia and one wonders how HSR will be viably pushed to Central more than 50km from outer fringe on SW and further on north side. Only be a tunnel at $250/km.
  Draffa Chief Commissioner

Drag this back to Australia and one wonders how HSR will be viably pushed to Central more than 50km from outer fringe on SW and further on north side. Only be a tunnel at $250/km.
RTT_Rules
It won't be, because we're not going to build it.
Even it it cost $50bn instead of $100bn, we wouldn't build it.
Even if it cost $20bn.
Hell, even if was completely free to the taxpayer (private consortium purchases the land, builds the formation and track, purchases and maintains the rolling stock, and doesn't ask for an operating subsidy), I still doubt we'd approve it.

Because this country is run by small-minded imbeciles who can't see further ahead than the next opinion poll or quarterly P/L statement.

"Have a go" my smeg.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Australia, is a large country with  very low population density. It appears all current countries using high speed rail have very high poulation densities, ie a large number of people in a relativly small area, so are far more likley to have sufficent funding for such things.

Its very unlikely Australia will be able to justify such a high cost fro so small a number of users. Particularly when so much work is required to bring existing roads and railways into the current century.

woodford
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
I equate HST with the availability of flying to regional areas in all States and when you try to do so, you will find none available and the reasons are the same for having a HSR network, too few people over too long a distance and vehicle ownership.
Without looking too closely at all the details, it would be feasible to run a HST from Melbourne over the Standard Gauge as its not part of their Metropolitan Network but getting into Sydney, once your inside Liverpool (wherever) you part of that network and have to fit into the system.
Another problem is there are those who think having a HST capable of traveling at 300KPH is going to stop ALL Stations which just isnt possible.
A HST goes from A to Z, not stopping at b,c,d,e,f etc,etc.
And of course the COST which will be astronomical even if budjeted by the meanest tightest bean counters on the planet and those costs WILL blow out as they always do so can we afford it, I genuinely dont believe we can at this time.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Because this country is run by small-minded imbeciles who can't see further ahead than the next opinion poll or quarterly P/L statement.
Draffa

Elected by a crowd of illogical whingers who think funding is limitless, and are immune to reasoning.
  Draffa Chief Commissioner

Elected by a crowd of illogical whingers who think funding is limitless, and are immune to reasoning.
ZH836301
*rabble rabble rabble rabble* Very Happy
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
*rabble rabble rabble rabble* Very Happy
Draffa
@Draffa, HSR is not being built because the maths have been done, done again and done again, and you know what, they have all come to the same conclusion. HSR in Australia is not viable. Certainly passengers here will not pay fares that would meet even 15% of operating costs, judging by what happens in Victoria with V/Line Customers!!


Michael
  Draffa Chief Commissioner

@Draffa, HSR is not being built because the maths have been done, done again and done again, and you know what, they have all come to the same conclusion.
mejhammers1
You seem to be replying to me under some misunderstanding about my (and most others) position on the subject?
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
If a HSR network was in any way viable, I believe the Private sector would be lined up waving their checkbooks and lobbying State and Federal Governments for the right to build it but they aint are they and that to me speaks volumes.
I wont pretend to know who funds what and why in those countries who are the leaders in these systems and I will apologise if I am mistaken but excluding China who is all Government or nothing basically, I am under the impression that the majority of HSR networks are State funded/controlled.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
If a HSR network was in any way viable, I believe the Private sector would be lined up waving their checkbooks and lobbying State and Federal Governments for the right to build it but they aint are they and that to me speaks volumes.
I wont pretend to know who funds what and why in those countries who are the leaders in these systems and I will apologise if I am mistaken but excluding China who is all Government or nothing basically, I am under the impression that the majority of HSR networks are State funded/controlled.
gordon_s1942
I believe you are correct except for Japan where things are a bit different.

However, because the govt won't commit taxpayers dollars to a project that has no hope what so ever at ever running at a profit, the govt gets labled, "they have no vision","cannot see past next election" etc

We all have plenty of vision when we don't care how or where the money is to come from.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
It won't be, because we're not going to build it.
Even it it cost $50bn instead of $100bn, we wouldn't build it.
Even if it cost $20bn.
Hell, even if was completely free to the taxpayer (private consortium purchases the land, builds the formation and track, purchases and maintains the rolling stock, and doesn't ask for an operating subsidy), I still doubt we'd approve it.

Because this country is run by small-minded imbeciles who can't see further ahead than the next opinion poll or quarterly P/L statement.

"Have a go" my smeg.
Draffa
You have mixed reality with dreaming.

Reality is building something with real people hard earned money. Whether it be the money they earned last month or the month they and their children will earn in the future.

Dreaming is building something in your head based on a ideology that how it is paid for is irrelevant.

When you try to connect the two without working paying attention to the detail and how it will be funded or simply don't care, real people loose their own dreams of having the basics in life because they can no longer afford them as they are stuck paying for a white elephant.

People with a vision based on reality are running airlines on a commercial basis that contribute to the economy.

People with a vision based on reality are not promoting HSR unless they can convince the govt to pay for it.

If HSR is so good and will add so much value to the country, then why are the private sector not raising their hands?

As the time saving for HSR Syd to Mel over flying is marginal, whats the big deal?
Why do we need it?
What is the problem we are trying to solve?
How will our/my lives be better off?
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
You have mixed reality with dreaming.

Reality is building something with real people hard earned money. Whether it be the money they earned last month or the month they and their children will earn in the future.

Dreaming is building something in your head based on a ideology that how it is paid for is irrelevant.

When you try to connect the two without working paying attention to the detail and how it will be funded or simply don't care, real people loose their own dreams of having the basics in life because they can no longer afford them as they are stuck paying for a white elephant.

People with a vision based on reality are running airlines on a commercial basis that contribute to the economy.

People with a vision based on reality are not promoting HSR unless they can convince the govt to pay for it.

If HSR is so good and will add so much value to the country, then why are the private sector not raising their hands?

As the time saving for HSR Syd to Mel over flying is marginal, whats the big deal?
Why do we need it?
What is the problem we are trying to solve?
How will our/my lives be better off?
RTT_Rules
It is also as much a Technical Issue as a Political and Financial. Where is the expertise to build High Speed Rail in this country? Hell we cannot even get Melbourne - Albury Rail corridor right. If Governments will only pay $500 Million (well less because $285 Million was paid by the ARTC) lets just say on that basis HSR will be a non-starter and the sooner this is put to bed the better.

Michael
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
It is also as much a Technical Issue as a Political and Financial. Where is the expertise to build High Speed Rail in this country? Hell we cannot even get Melbourne - Albury Rail corridor right. If Governments will only pay $500 Million (well less because $285 Million was paid by the ARTC) lets just say on that basis HSR will be a non-starter and the sooner this is put to bed the better.

Michael
mejhammers1
HSR will also be contracted out to suitable technical/engineering companies for both infrastructure and trains, which means the Ozzie based employees will be excluded from numerous senior and technical roles.
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
"If HSR is so good and will add so much value to the country, then why are the private sector not raising their hands?"

.
They did. Twice. In both cases they failed because govt of the day refuses a tax treatment similar to that already offered to mining companies. After these failures, I would be surprised if any private organisation would put their own money forward.
Cheers.
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
Woodford wrote: "Australia, is a large country with  very low population density. It appears all current countries using high speed rail have very high poulation densities, ie a large number of people in a relativly small area, so are far more likley to have sufficent funding for such things.Its very unlikely Australia will be able to justify such a high cost fro so small a number of users. Particularly when so much work is required to bring existing roads and railways into the current century.
woodford"

I personally don't like this argument, since Australia's population density is hugely lopsided and concentrated in the south and east. A look at the regional densities of France, Spain and Germany where HSR has been constructed reveals similar densities as along the proposed Sydney - Melbourne line.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Woodford wrote: "Australia, is a large country with  very low population density. It appears all current countries using high speed rail have very high poulation densities, ie a large number of people in a relativly small area, so are far more likley to have sufficent funding for such things.Its very unlikely Australia will be able to justify such a high cost fro so small a number of users. Particularly when so much work is required to bring existing roads and railways into the current century.
woodford"

I personally don't like this argument, since Australia's population density is hugely lopsided and concentrated in the south and east. A look at the regional densities of France, Spain and Germany where HSR has been constructed reveals similar densities as along the proposed Sydney - Melbourne line.
arctic
France and Germany have roughly the same area as Victoria and NSW (1000 sq kilom as compared with 1045kilom) but have something like 12 times the population. This gives such countries a much greater tax base so large scale projects are MUCH more likely. Another point is such high population densities mean, the people are more in tune with alternative transport whereas for most  Australian's its the car or nothing basicly.

While Aus is a very urbanised country the major urban area's are quite large compared with Europe, they also are far apart, the country as a whole is having difficulties raising enough funds just for basic roads and rail improvements, Real high speed rail will likely always be a dream for us.

woodford
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
"If HSR is so good and will add so much value to the country, then why are the private sector not raising their hands?"

.
They did. Twice. In both cases they failed because govt of the day refuses a tax treatment similar to that already offered to mining companies. After these failures, I would be surprised if any private organisation would put their own money forward.
Cheers.
arctic
Yes back in the day when Ansett was flying B727s between Syd and Mel. Times have changed, airfares are much lower in proportion these days. No company would attempt today because even with a tax concession they would not be viable.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Woodford wrote: "Australia, is a large country with  very low population density. It appears all current countries using high speed rail have very high poulation densities, ie a large number of people in a relativly small area, so are far more likley to have sufficent funding for such things.Its very unlikely Australia will be able to justify such a high cost fro so small a number of users. Particularly when so much work is required to bring existing roads and railways into the current century.
woodford"

I personally don't like this argument, since Australia's population density is hugely lopsided and concentrated in the south and east. A look at the regional densities of France, Spain and Germany where HSR has been constructed reveals similar densities as along the proposed Sydney - Melbourne line.
arctic
No the SE corner is not comparable to Europe as you have pointed out and this has been demonstrated numerous times in RP. There are also other factors to consider as the average European car is something the size of a Suzuki Swift and fuel is much more expensive and outside German speaking countries you have high road tolls.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Sydney - Melbourne is the tenth-busiest air route in the world so the numbers are not insignificant. I don't see it getting up in my lifetime though.
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
France and Germany have roughly the same area as Victoria and NSW (1000 sq kilom as compared with 1045kilom) but have something like 12 times the population. This gives such countries a much greater tax base so large scale projects are MUCH more likely. Another point is such high population densities mean, the people are more in tune with alternative transport whereas for most  Australian's its the car or nothing basicly.

While Aus is a very urbanised country the major urban area's are quite large compared with Europe, they also are far apart, the country as a whole is having difficulties raising enough funds just for basic roads and rail improvements, Real high speed rail will likely always be a dream for us.

woodford
woodford

Sorry Woodford you completely miss my point. Even large areas of the combined NSW and VIC are largely unpopulated and for the purposes of this discussion may as well be ocean. I refer to the population density along the route between Sydney and Melbourne.

No one is proposing a HSR between Broken Hill and Bourke.
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
No the SE corner is not comparable to Europe as you have pointed out and this has been demonstrated numerous times in RP. There are also other factors to consider as the average European car is something the size of a Suzuki Swift and fuel is much more expensive and outside German speaking countries you have high road tolls.
RTT_Rules
Ummm, I live in Zurich, the average car size is more like a BMW 5 series or bigger. Most of my colleagues are driving large AWD BMW, Audis etc.

The real reason PT use is high is that it is fast, reliable and safe.
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
Yes back in the day when Ansett was flying B727s between Syd and Mel. Times have changed, airfares are much lower in proportion these days. No company would attempt today because even with a tax concession they would not be viable.
RTT_Rules
In the mid to late nineties the last proposal for HSR was being promoted. Widebodies in service at that time with the 727 almost gone.

Once again, comparing the *cheapest* airfare with the *average* needed for HSR is another argument full of holes. Most people are paying far above the "tiger" fare.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The real reason PT use is high is that it is fast, reliable and safe.
arctic
I understand Zürich has about the highest Public Transport % use of any City In the World (over 50%)
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Newsrail October 1986 (edited): " GHD-Transmark and Japan Railway Technical Service have been awarded contracts by the VFT Joint Venture  to undertake a study of the passenger market for a fast rail service between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.
The study is a major component of the VFT pre-feasibility study, which is aimed at establishing the viability of the project. The study is scheduled for completion for mid 1987.
The VFT proposal is for the construction of an entirely new high speed railway . . . to carry both passengers and freight. Projected transit times are 1 hour, Sydney to Canberra and 2 hours, Canberra to Melbourne, giving a through time of 3 hours for trains stopping only at Canberra. The railway would be built and operated by the private sector. If the outcome of the pre-feasibility study is positive, a full feasibility study would follow and the target date for operation of the railway would be 1995."

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