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The Forum > Article Comments > Reviving long-distance passenger rail in Australia > Comments

Reviving long-distance passenger rail in Australia : Comments

By James Page, published 2/12/2013

Finally I want to suggest that in order to progress the revitalization of long-distance passenger rail transport in Australia, we need to abandon the more utopian dreams of very fast rail in Australia.

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While I love travelling by train, the increasing trend for spread in cities without sufficient public transport puts them more in competition with airlines than other forms of transport. Given the speed and price of plane travel, rail is only ever going to be a niche market in our modern time pressed world.

A possible way they could compete is by providing a package that includes both the travellerís tickets and a car so that holidayers could have the convenience of a car without the downside of the drive. Reasonable priced packages of this nature would open up many more areas to tourism while reducing carbon emissions, reducing wear on road infrastructure and reducing the travellerís chance of becoming part of the road toll
Posted by Grumbler, Monday, 2 December 2013 8:02:39 AM
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When was the last time you crossed the country east west by rail? Its a truly wonderful experience but you'll need to take out a mortgage to buy the ticket.
Posted by renew, Monday, 2 December 2013 8:28:50 AM
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I agree with the sentiments expressed by the author.
I would point out that the XPTs run at 200Km/hr in the UK, not 150Km/hr.
To watch a motor bike rider or a Porche racing the train on an
adjacent motorway and losing illustrates the point. I have seen this.

Those of you who have traveled the east coast run London to Edinburgh
will know what I mean.
I believe there was one modification to the XPTs here in that the
gearing was changed because of the climb from Hawkesbury to Cowan in Sydney.
The lines were laid out in the late 1800s using horses and scoops so
with modern earth moving machines really fast track could be laid.
We will have to start work on the railways before the airlines
become unaffordable. QANTAS's present troubles are just the writing on the wall.
Posted by Bazz, Monday, 2 December 2013 10:25:16 AM
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Thanks, Baz, for that information on the XPT. I wasn't aware of this. As I write, I am listening to the House of Reps on ABC radio, with the depressing news that the Abbott Government in abandoning funding of rail, despite much-vaunted declarations prior the election that his would be an "infrastructure Government". James Page.
Posted by Dr James Page, Monday, 2 December 2013 10:35:49 AM
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An excellent article. I'd love to travel to Brisbane by train, I adore train travel, but not if it makes me bankrupt. That trip costs more then twice as much as a car, and double that if there are two of us; no one can afford it. The Sunlander takes cars, but you can only load and unload them in Brisbane and Cairns. Too bad if you live in Maryborough. And the curves are so sharp wherever there are hills the train slows to a crawl and screeches so loud on poorly maintained rails I often see the passengers with fingers in their ears, even on the so-called luxury "Fast train".
Supermarkets discovered fifty years ago that high turnover and low profit margins work better than high profit margins and small turnover. It's time the Railways understood that
Posted by ybgirp, Monday, 2 December 2013 11:53:34 AM
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An excellent article. I'd love to travel to Brisbane by train, I adore train travel, but not if it makes me bankrupt. That trip costs more than twice as much as a car, and double that if there are two of us; no one can afford it. The Sunlander takes cars, but you can only load and unload them in Brisbane and Cairns. Too bad if you live in Maryborough. And the curves are so sharp wherever there are hills the train slows to a crawl and screeches so loud on poorly maintained rails I often see the passengers with fingers in their ears, even on the so-called luxury "Fast train".
Supermarkets discovered fifty years ago that high turnover and low profit margins work better than high profit margins and small turnover. It's time the Railways understood that
Posted by ybgirp, Monday, 2 December 2013 11:53:35 AM
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