Australia’s Race to Get its Own High-Speed Rail

Plans to readjust Australian traffic, commute and transport landscape with a transformational new approach have been in the pipeline for decades, nothing so far materializing. Australia has been in talks introducing the high-speed rail on its transport terrain for sometime but it remains the only continent apart from Antarctica that does not have the high-speed rail on its terrain so far. This has been cited as a serious shortcoming interposed by many political and infrastructural stumbling blocks from the country.

$125m in today’s dollars has been spent on high speed rail investigations, but not one kilometer of corridor has been reserved for the construction of high-speed rails, according to a research from The University of Wollongong. The result of all the study has been nothing, Australia doesn’t even have a fast rail, let alone a high speed one.

This has been eating at some infrastructure and technology evangelists like former managing director of Hitachi Consulting, Gary Fisher. Hitachi has been closely associated with high speed rails since it was introduced in Japan, an involvement spanning close to 6 decades now. A lack of vision and political will, short-termism, genuine concerns about viability and vested interests are the main impediments.

However, in recent news, both the state governments and a handful from the federal as well are pushing the envelop on the same realizing how it may get in infrastructural balance much needed for Australian cities.

The high-speed rails could help in many ways. “Gosford, the southern highlands and Wollongong could be 15 minutes from the center of Sydney and Newcastle, Goulburn and Nowra 30 minutes”. You are uplifting the value of that land enormously to compete with one of the most expensive markets in the world. You can reduce the number of cars coming into Sydney and you can strategically rebalance our settlement, “says the Liberal MP John Alexander, who has chaired several inquiries into the future of cities.