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TRAVEL & LEISURE

The NSW Government's Proposed High-Speed Rail Network Would Get You to Canberra in One Hour

The Fast Rail Network Strategy aims to better connect Sydney with regional cities.
By Samantha Teague
December 04, 2018
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The NSW Government's Proposed High-Speed Rail Network Would Get You to Canberra in One Hour

The Fast Rail Network Strategy aims to better connect Sydney with regional cities.
By Samantha Teague
December 04, 2018
  shares

A trip to Canberra — to visit the Heath Ledger exhibition, perhaps — isn't something you'd usually consider doing in a day, but it could be if the NSW Government's proposed Fast Rail Network Strategy goes ahead. Announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian this morning, the rail network would see a typical four-hour train trip — or three-hour drive — to Canberra cut down to just one hour.

The speedy Canberra trip, called the Southern Inland Route, would only be one arm of the network, too, with plans for a total of four potential routes travelling to popular cities within 300 kilometres of Sydney.

The Northern Route would travel through the Central Coast to Newcastle (in 45 minutes) and Port Macquarie; the Western Route would take a quick trip out to Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange; and the Southern Coast Route would bolt down to Wollongong (in 30 minutes) and Nowra (in 45 minutes). To reach these destinations at such speed — an estimated 75 percent faster than current NSW trains — new rail networks would allow for speeds of over 250 kilometres per hour. For comparison, Japan's Shinkansen (bullet train) reaches speeds of around 320 kilometres per hour.

The proposed fast rail network.

While this all sounds great, for the next stage of planning to go ahead Ms Berejiklian needs to be re-elected at the polls on March 23, 2019. If Ms Berejiklian is re-elected, the next stage of the fast rail network would be confirmation of the best routes, train speeds, station locations, cost and timing by a panel of infrastructure experts. After that, the project would kick off with the upgrade of existing rail routes and new trains, before dedicated high-speed lines were erected.

Ms Berejiklian has denied that the high-speed rail is an 'election stunt', but it's possible she is looking to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for inspiration. Mr Andrews was re-elected just last month, after promising high-speed trains and a $50 billion underground railway network, amongst many other high-stakes projects.

At this stage, it's also possible that the Liberal party — and the newly appointed Opposition Leader Michael Daley — could put forward its own high-speed rail network plan, too. We'll be sure to update you if that ends up being the case.

We're hoping, if it does go ahead, that the rail network's build is as speedy as its name suggests — and it's not quite as delayed (and over budget) as the NSW Government's embattled light rail project.

Published on December 04, 2018 by Samantha Teague

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