Australia has long toyed with the idea of a high speed rail. While the positives, in the form of increased convenience and ease of access, lower costs and reduced emissions, have always been evident, the high initial costs have long been a dampener. But this may be set to change as a new report released by Beyond Zero Emissions finds high speed rail to be a genuinely feasible option.
The Zero Carbon Australia: High Speed Rail report, prepared over two years in collaboration with the University of Melbourne’s Energy Research Institute and the German Aerospace Centre, finds that ticketing for the rail service would be able to cover both operational and construction costs. In the model that sees the service being fully operational by 2030, the estimated revenue of $7 billion from that year alone would be in excess of annual operational costs by $4.6 billion.
Alongside the cost analysis, the report also sees carbon emissions being significantly reduced by 150 million tonnes over a 40 year period as a result of the high speed rail, which would be powered 100% by electricity and not require the imported fossil fuels needed for air or road travel.
Effect on other Infrastrucure:
Additionally, the rail service would also significantly help in easing the constraints on current airport and aeroplane infrastructure by serving as a viable, affordable, comfortable and convenient transport alternative along the highly concentrated eastern corridor that connects the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. If operational by 2030, the resultant relaxation of air travel demand could alone reduce current flight numbers by 82 at the Sydney Airport.
With this report coming at the back of another released last year by a special advisory group that saw no real impediments in its development and in the midst of some visible government interest, high speed rail might just be that much closer to becoming an actuality in Australia.
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