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JR Central and Australia high speed rail

bikkuri bahn

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bikkuri bahn
Gen Okajima is waiting for a train. He knows it will not arrive soon, not even in the next few years, but he is not feeling anxious or impatient. He says it will come once Australia is ready for it.


Mr Okajima, general manager of the Sydney office of Japan's biggest railway company, is waiting for the day Australia builds a high-speed rail line between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the subject of a federal government study.

It is his job to see that when or if that happens, Australia uses shinkansen, the ''bullet trains'' that carry millions along Japan's great network of high-speed rail lines.


Mr Okajima said Japan was proud of its shinkansen technology, which was a world-class system. ''And Australia is such an important friend to Japan, we are looking to share its benefit.''



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I received the latest Railway Gazette in my inbox today.  It provides the following link to the latest report on Australian High Speed Rail:




I read part of the summary.  Apparently, those Australians in good health might live to ride from Melbourne to Brisbane by HSR in 35 years time.  What do Australian members think about this plan?

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Mudkip Orange

"Once operational (from 2065)"


Yeahhno. Realistically even with ridiculous US contracting/environmental regs it should only take about 10 years. 2 for design, 3 to get through the EIS process and make design revisions, 1-2 to deal with random crap NIMBY lawsuits and 3-4 to build.


Anything that far out is vaporware.

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My impression is that the 2065 date is when the complete Brisbane to Melbourne line will be completed and I assume it would be opened in stages like the Shinkansen lines have been. I still can't see myself ever riding on it, even as a 105 year old on day release from my nursing home because it's still not set in stone that it's going to happen, the politicians have only started yet another round of discussions to make the voters who want it think they are doing something and those who don't want it think they aren't.

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I have reviewes some of the documents.  I have to comment at this time.


First, I am surprised that it will be subway throughout capital cities.  Surely it must be quicker, easier, and cheaper to build overhead.


Secondly, I am surprised at so few stations between capital cities.  Sanyo shinkansen has station approximately every 30km.  What are the distances proposed for Australia?


Next, I glanced at some of the maps.  I am surprised that many of the station are proposed in isolation.  For example, small town station can be many km from the town.  Another example:  Sydney North station appears far from a local station called Hornsby.


Finally, relay service is ignored.  I am very surprised for this.  For example, Southern Highlands (pretty name) is located on opposite side of town to local railway.  This seems crazy to me.


In the meantime, I am still interested to read more of this report if I can find the time.  But remember, Japan, China, and some other countries are developing MagLev.  I remain surprised that Australia appears ignorant of such technologies.

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It's got to be underground because NIMBYs wouldn't want an ugly overhead railway viaduct through their suburb. The reason there aren't many stations between capital cities is that there is not much between capital cities in this wide brown land to need stations. As for the rest, maybe they don't want it to look too attractive?


Other countries are devloping MAGLEV to be sure, but they have been for decades, including Japan where some of their earlier attempts are already in museums, and we have yet to see a practical application for long distance services so I'm still a bit skeptical of it and think steel wheel on steel rail is still the way to go if you want to get something done while your great grandchildren are still alive.

Edited by westfalen
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The wheel is a better invention than MAGLEV.


For Australian shinkansen: I agree with Mr E6系.  In its current form the project will fail.  Australian enjoy the convenience of a car.  If they must drive to get to the shinkansen, then they will drive to an airport instead.  Relay and local rail must be developed in conjunction with this project.  Also, what thought has been given to the impact on future housing?  Shinkansen means that people living 250km away are now just an hour's commute from the capital and other major cities.

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bikkuri bahn

Regarding commuting patterns, typically the pricing structure is devised to discourage large scale patterns of commuting by HSR, if it takes away seat space intended for the (more profitable) business traveler market. Of course, if your system has the capacity, you can encourage commuters.



Back on topic in general, it seems the time scale is rather long, and even makes North American projects seem more viable, if that is possible. I have come across theories that large scale infrastructure projects such as HSR are hampered by the commom law legal systems in place in former British colonies. Food for thought.

Edited by bikkuri bahn
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What do Australian members think about this plan?


It's bulls*it - and it will never be built.

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Sorry if I my reply seemed a bit abrupt! :)


The thing is, this is about the third big expensive study into building HSR we've had here and I imagine that like the other two nothing will come of it. There's a federal election due in September - refer to Westfalen's comments above. What he says is an accurate summary of the reasons for this third study.


As for the ridiculous suggestion that it would require lengthy tunnels through the capital cities, Westfalen is again spot-on. The line from Epping to Chatswood in Sydney was planned to cross the Lane Cove River on a viaduct, but the local NIMBY crowd made so much noise in protest that instead we got a riotously expensive, operationally-limiting tunnel that's always full of water instead.


If you want to see just how vocal, disonest and irrational the Sydney NIMBYs can be have a look at this webpage:




Ohcanomizu is correct as well - most Australians are too besotted with their cars to ever seriously consider travelling by HSR, let alone be willing to pay for it.


All the best,



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Mudkip Orange

Oh that's really, really bad. "encourage a sense of community by connecting people, ideas and resources." They talk like the planners do!!

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I think most Australians other than railfans over the last couple of generations have also gotten used to the fact that intercapital rail travel equals usually one train a day departing and arriving at rather inconvient and ungodly hours of the day, and taking all day or night to get there into the bargin, and find it impossible to envision anything else.

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