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The Forum > General Discussion > Does anyone care about trains any more?

Does anyone care about trains any more?

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Well lets hope we never see very fast trains in Oz. We have enough loss making government funded enterprises now. Very fast trains would scoop up billions in running costs in Oz, very little of which would ever be returned in earnings.

The airlines do a pretty good job in fast long distance travel, & it is their money, not tax payers at risk.

Would tilt trains be that much better than the current offerings, & would they attract the extra custom required to cover the extra cost, let alone their whole cost? It's hard to say. The tilt trains in Qld are a great success with passengers, but no help to the taxpayer. They offer a good travel experience, but are hard to get a seat on, as they are full of pensioners taking their free rail trip.

Perhaps the NSW regional lines would not be as successful as the Qld Cairns line in attracting free tourists, & could earn a living with real paying passengers. Have you looked into the demand for rail travel in these areas Sylvia?
Posted by Hasbeen, Sunday, 2 June 2019 12:33:22 PM
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I share the view we should have fast trains
The recent NSW move to driverless trains on the Sydney network seems to be good
Just as the red rattlers went today's trains will too, good thread
Posted by Belly, Sunday, 2 June 2019 1:09:26 PM
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If the private sector can't make a profit with such utopian schemes, then governments have no business giving it a whirl with taxpayer money, just because some wankeroo likes the idea.
Posted by ttbn, Sunday, 2 June 2019 1:36:10 PM
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Hasbeen, the financing of railways has always been a problem, everywhere. They're pretty much incapable of being self supporting. Sydney Trains needs an injection of about $billion 1.3 per year, compared with ticket income of $billon 0.77 per year (2016-2017). NSW Trains, which covers the non-suburban "Intercity" services as well as the regional services, does worse, needing a subsidy of $million 650 on ticket revenue of $million 124.

These subsidies are justified partly out of considerations of social equity, providing transport to those who cannot, for whatever reason, use a car, and partly because they reduce the demand for road transport, and therefore reduce the expenditure required on roads and the costs of congestion on those roads. There are also side benefits, such as a reduction in road trauma, and the social and financial costs that arise.

Indeed, this creates a dilemma for governments - if they improve services, those services will be used more, and the subsidy costs will rise.

In deciding whether the government should finance an improvement in regional rail services, one cannot therefore just look at whether it's financially viable - because it almost certainly is not. But if NSW is not just to consist of Sydney and its commuter suburbs, and the rest, then regional NSW needs to be better connected than it now is, and if that means that regional NSW gets a bigger slice of the subsidy pie, then so be it.

In practice, of course, the government is more likely to be looking at where the votes lie. Regional NSW does itself a disservice by voting so strongly for the National Australia Party, because the government looks at the results, and concludes that money spent on those places is wasted because they'll vote for the Nationals regardless.
Posted by Sylvia Else, Sunday, 2 June 2019 1:43:57 PM
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I can't help thinking that gradually building a Monorail system would be the most viable option all up.
1; free up more land,
2; no need for bridges,
3; no rail crossings,
4; no train collisions
5; other vital services such as cabling could be built-in
6; hardly any environmental damage
7; no impact from flooding
8; limit the need for tunnels
9; de-railing largely eliminated
10; more enjoyable for passengers
Cost would probably be no more than traditional rail in the long run.
Posted by individual, Monday, 3 June 2019 7:53:51 AM
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That's fine Sylvia, but aren't you just building another group, paying more tax to provide fast rail to a very limited percentage of the bush, while leaving that group the majority with nothing for the extra taxes.

We saw that here in Queensland when Goss was premier. He cut passenger rail services to many country towns, as uneconomical, which they were. They also carried very few passengers. This left many small towns with no transport facilities at all. None with in the town, or out of town.

He also cut the practise of a passenger car on freight trains. The railways hated having to run freight trains to a time table, & welcomed the move.

It is all a bit chicken & egg really. Not enough custom to justify the current expenditure, but would better trains attract more custom.

There are just so many things any society can afford to provide to any citizen at a loss. I saw figures recently that the top 10% of earners pay 56% of the taxes, & the bottom 40% pay no net tax, receiving more in subsidies than they pay. I'm not sure about this, as there was no reference to things like GST & fuel excise, but it does mean we are subsidising too many for too much money. We hear a lot about sustainability today, but this level of public welfare is definitely not sustainable in even the moderate term, & will hasten a crash, the one Belly is talking about.
Posted by Hasbeen, Monday, 3 June 2019 9:07:33 AM
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