August 27, 2013 | Graham

What is the longest promised rail system in Australia?

Kevin Rudd announced yesterday that he would build a very fast train between Melbourne and Brisbane by 2035. As the idea first surfaced in 1984, it would be a promise 61 years in the honouring. He must feel very safe from leadership challenges to make such a longterm commitment.

Which made me wonder how long it was between first promise and delivery for other rail lines in Australia.

My local favourite is the Redcliffe to Brisbane rail line, now being built, but first promised in 1895 (so that’s 118 years).

A colleague pointed out that the Darwin to Adelaide Railway took from 1858 until 2003, and that’s 144 years.

Any additions to this list?

John Howard got good leverage for his uneconomic Darwin to Adelaide Railway. He contributed $190m to the entire undertaking, making its subsequent bankruptcy surely more bearable. Kevin Rudd is spending $52m just on a study (although spending that amount of money on the NBN could have saved us all a lot more).

Posted by Graham at 3:04 pm | Comments (6) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Every election this subject is trotted out.
    If it had been done in 64, the cost would have been 5-6 billion! Today 100 billion! Ten years from now, guess what, 200 billion?
    It never ever gets cheaper.
    Delaying the inevitable simply costs additional penny wise pound foolish billions.
    Building the thing now will save some money, given it will relieve much of the air travel traffic and negate the need for a second Sydney airport. It, as an investment, can be done off budget!
    The best system is the magnetron. The Chinese, who have the expertise, could build ours, saving us billions!
    The fact that it floats on a magnetic field and has few if any moving parts, means no bearings to fail at high speed, the cause it seems, of most of the rare high speed train accidents?
    Never ending loop or loops, eliminate head on crashes.
    All the traffic travels in one just way, clockwise or anticlockwise! And radar will ensure no train gets to close to the one ahead of it, on the loop!
    It will need to be built underground or in shallow trenches, which will allow it to continue to operate through the worst heat waves, and completely safe from traffic or wandering stock etc.
    CNG and ceramic fuel cells, will allow the usual very expensive overhead and dangerous wires, to be avoided. Thereby saving billions!
    Underground construction, will allow inherently stable banking that would be necessary to turn safely, at very high speeds!
    Built properly the first time, such a system will serve us and our economy for centuries!
    Buying our own tunneling machines, will ensure costs are kept to a minimum and be able to be rolled out for other essential future projects!?
    The thing would all but pay for itself, if some of the resumed land could later be rezoned as urban and sold to new home buyers.
    This would also work to return affordable housing! Thirty year self terminating bonds would provide enough start up funding.
    The first link between Canberra and Sydney, will be the most profitable; and virtually pay for the rest?
    The fact that our eastern seaboard is the fifth busiest air route in the world, guarantees a successful business model.
    Moving passengers by rail is the most cost effective and profitable model per unit!
    When trains lose motive power they merely roll to a stop, whereas planes fall like stones. (Its not the fall that hurts, but the sudden stop at the bottom.)
    Vested interests, airline and airport owners, will find all the risible reasons it shouldn’t be built.
    But mostly, their loss of business and trade!
    Some domestic air services will likely be completely curtailed, and the Canberra/Sydney link, will add another airport option for Sydney commuters.
    Particularly those Sydneysiders sick of the current exorbitant parking fees at Sydney’s airport!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — August 29, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

  2. I think that no matter what all you can do is take anything a politition says with a grain of salt and hope that one day one of them may actually do as they promise but dont hold their breath.

    Comment by Wayne — August 29, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

  3. […]… […]

    Pingback by Tutorial Week 6 | loveisallyouneedsite — August 29, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

  4. The Spanish run a reasonably profitable fast rail service. The numbers using it are comparable to those flying up and down our eastern seaboard?
    Last year the AVE, (the name of the rapid rail service) carried 900,000 passengers.(A number set to rise and rise.)
    Fares are between $40.00-$50.00.
    The time between Madrid to Seville, around 750klms i.e., is around 2.5 hours.
    Average speeds are around 300klms.
    Currently, the rock and roll train trip between Sydney and Canberra is over three hours.
    A very fast train service would likely reduce that to under thirty minutes, and likely over booked during peak times.
    It would also allow Quebean/Canberra residents to commute to Sydney for work or study, i.e.
    Doing productive work or study on the laptop on the way in or out!
    The first consequence would be some reduced demand for ultra expensive Sydney housing, the second would be far less road traffic and carbon pollution.
    Powering the train with inboard CNG and ceramic fuel cells, with an energy coefficient of 72%, (coal fired power, around 20%) would eliminate the need for expensive and dangerous overhead wires.
    Further, energy costs would be less than a third of that supplied by profit gouging state power authorities?
    We do need therefore, to dedicate some of our gas reserves for domestic use only, instead of trying to export all we can, simply to make a bunch of price gouging foreigners richer!
    Moreover, inboard CNG>ceramic fuel cells, would produce mostly water vapor as the exhaust product, and still able to run even during power failures!
    An underground system, would also be a convenient escape route in the even of any emergency, (fire, flood, storm or tempest!)
    Or the quickest way out from some future ground zero.
    Why, the system could even include some convenient internal power points to recharge the laptop or the fold up E bike during the commute?
    Alternatively, bikes could be carried and recharged in a separate carriage or carriages, for an additional small charge.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — August 29, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

  5. Correction, the fares on the Spanish AVE are in Euros, not dollars, apologies to one and all!

    Comment by Alan Goulding — August 29, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

  6. Self funded retirees and super funds would just love the predictable certainty of Government guaranteed, self terminating thirty year bonds! [Foreign capital, minus the usual price gouging foreigners and or, foreign control!]
    And rapid rail is just one of many income earning infrastructure projects, we could build, using this method of finance; very popular overseas, but strangely, yet to be tried here!
    And, we do need to think of the economy beyond the current mining boom or election cycle!

    Comment by Alan Goulding — August 29, 2013 @ 8:19 pm

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