The National Railway Program awarded with 10,000 million Australian dollars (€ 6,832 M) for a period of ten years is aimed at improving and extending both urban and regional railway networks.
The federal government included, among its priority points for 2017-2018, the impetus given to the metropolitan urban transport, as well as the improvement of local and regional networks. In particular, there are several specific items for this purpose. On one hand, the “National Railway Program” awarded with 10,000 million Australian dollars (€ 6,832 M), with a validity period of ten years. On the other hand, the investments in the states with greater population are reinforced. In addition, a program is approved for a faster railway network, which includes the analysis of a possible high-speed line.
National Railway Program
The National Railway Program awarded with the amount of 10,000 million dollars for a period of ten years aims to improve and extend both urban and regional railway networks. These initiatives aim to give an impetus to the promotion of public transport, the improvement of urban planning and a regeneration of sustainable mobility.
High-Speed on the Eastern Coast
The list of priorities includes the future project of a high-speed railway network of 350km/h. Its route would be along the Eastern Coast, linking its most important cities and regional centers. For now, the most suitable route of 1,748 kilometers is already defined. In a first stage, it would link Sydney, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Albury Wodonga, Shepparton and Melbourne. In a second phase, the line would go from Sydney to Central Coast, Newcastle, Taree, Macquarie Port, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Casino, Gold Coast and Brisbane. This area concentrates great movements and that is why this high performance network has been designed as an alternative to highways and airplane. The Sydney-Melbourne air route fluctuates between the 3rd and 5th busiest air corridor in the world. As pointed out in the feasibility studies carried out, if the high-speed train network will be fully operational by 2065, the forecasts indicate that it would reach 83.6 million passengers per year. The proposed route includes four stations in the city center and four other peripheral stations and 12 regional stations. ARA believes that the Canberra station should be located at the city’s airport and consideration should be given to the possibility of linking the network to the Airports of Sydney and Melbourne.
The first stage of the project would require 49,900 million dollars (€ 33,501 M). Of that amount, 23,000 million (€ 15,436 M) would be allocated to link Sydney, Southern Highlands and Canberra with a 64-minute travel time on the Sydney-Canberra route. This stage would also require an additional amount of 26,900 million Canadian dollars (€ 18,045 M) to extend the line towards Melbourne, linking Australia’s two largest cities and four key regional centers with a 2 hours and 44 minutes travel time on the Melbourne-Sydney route. The highest cost of construction, 29% would be for 144 kilometers of tunnels, almost half of which (67km) are required to travel in and out of Sydney.