Last updated: July 01, 2012

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Adelaide must be in high-speed rail loop


ON TRACK: China's high-speed passenger rail line has halved travel times. Source: AFP

SOUTH Australia should sit up, take notice and claim a seat at the table of the federal inquiry into high-speed rail.

The initial inquiry, due to report by July this year, risks freezing SA out of the picture for a major piece of nation-building infrastructure.

SA has long battled to keep pace with the more populous eastern States and a high-speed rail network that literally leaves Adelaide out of the loop would seriously disadvantage us.

This issue and others affecting SA are examined in the SA Business Monthly lifout in The Advertiser on Tuesday.

The high-speed rail project is a long way off but just as it took many decades to go from wishful thinking to reality for the Alice Springs to Darwin rail track, a high-speed rail network linking the capitals will eventually be built.

In the decades ahead, petroleum prices will soar, making car and air travel considerably more expensive. Coupled with greenhouse gas concerns, this will accelerate demand for rail as an alternative. In pushing our case, SA should enlist an unlikely ally  Melbourne.

While Adelaidians frequently compare their city to Melbourne, the Victorians' real rival is Sydney.

It should be pointed out to Melbourne that with a network extending to Adelaide, Melbourne would be a node equal to Sydney, rather than the last stop at the end of the line.

Victoria could also be sold the benefits of Horsham becoming the only stop on a Melbourne-Adelaide route. This would open up the western Victorian region that would otherwise risk becoming isolated.

SA has a proud history in the rail sector, being home to some of the most important and innovative rail organisations, such as the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

Obviously, it would cost many billions of dollars extra to include the link to Adelaide and it would not be an easy case to mount on strict profit criteria.

But if we do not get in there and stake a claim, future generations will condemn us as we get left behind when the economic benefits of the project begin to flow.


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  • Keith Posted at 10:36 PM February 01, 2011

    Some really informative material on Wikipedia under "High Speed Rail in Australia". All previous proposals for East Coast routes have failed primarily due to financial unviability. High speed rail in the UK works because of shorter distances and frequent services enabling out and back in a day for business people. The drawbacks in London are the mainline terminals, which are terminals and not through stations. The South East high speed servive is really only convenient for passengers arriving at St. Pancras station, especially as apremium is charged to use the services to Kent.

  • Gary of Blackwood Posted at 9:14 PM February 01, 2011

    People complaining about the cost and giving up health, education expenditure are talking nonsense. How about we use the $40 billion to be wasted on the NBN and stop wasting money on one off handouts, and insulation schemes etc. The way petrol is heading, travelling and worse still freight costs (food prices) will escalate. Its time we start thinking about the cost savings it will provide in future rather than current cost. The fast rail network should be built and in fact duplicated to cater for high speed intercity freight. The sooner they build it the better

  • OSOK of Everywhere Ya Can't See Me Posted at 9:12 PM February 01, 2011

    What I love about the USA - all things are possible, take a ride on their subways in Washington DC, what a rabbit warren and the ease to get from Union Station to anywhere in DC. But I sure as hell cannot say the same for us in Australia, especially Adelaide where BLINKERS are worn in doing anything for the future of the state and the nation.

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