August, 2011

What does the new HSR feasibility study say?

, Aug 04, 2011

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I’ve had an admittedly rushed look at the Executive Summary of the High Speed Rail Study – Phase One, released today by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese. I’ll have a closer look at the full report shortly, but for now here are a few initial thoughts. Today’s report is Phase One. It […]

Do Tiger Airway's woes mean we need HSR?

, Jul 06, 2011

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I guess it was only a matter of time before someone would see Tiger Airway’s current troubles as evidence Australia needs High Speed Rail (HSR) between Sydney and Melbourne. That someone is a Mr Peter Appleton of Brown Hill, who wrote to The Age saying “with the halt of flights, we are back to Third World […]

Would we build another Opera House?

, May 23, 2011

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An argument I see frequently in relation to massive infrastructure projects like High Speed Rail (HSR) is that we should simply get on and build them because they’re ‘visionary’ and ‘nation building’. For example, a commenter recently likened investment in HSR to the decision to build the Sydney Opera House. If cost-benefit analysis had been […]

Are we too smart for High Speed Rail?

, May 02, 2011

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Fairfax’s on-line publication, The National Times, posted a feature on High Speed Rail (HSR) on the weekend under the heading, Is Australia too big for a high-speed rail network? The paper gives space to four viewpoints: Peter Moore and Stephen Byron are unashamed HSR boosters, Gary Johns is sceptical and Saul Eslake sits on the fence. […]

Is High Speed Rail the new NBN?

, Nov 03, 2010

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The Federal Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese, released the Terms of Reference on the weekend for the High Speed Rail (HSR) study promised during the election campaign. I’m very disappointed with Mr Albanese’s approach. He says the first phase of the study, which will be completed by July 2011, will: focus on identifying possible routes, corridor […]

HSR feasibility study: what should it address?

, Sep 18, 2010

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There’s a long history of rent-seeking in Australia over major projects. Business puts a lot of effort into lobbying government and the media to subsidise projects the private sector wouldn’t otherwise touch with a bargepole. So when IPA (Infrastructure Partnerships Australia) – the nation’s peak infrastructure lobby group – releases a new study calling for […]

Does Labor's Sydney-Newcastle High Speed train make sense?

, Aug 05, 2010

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I watched Anthony Albanese foreshadow on Lateline on Wednesday night that the Government, if re-elected, would fund a $20 million feasibility study of a high speed rail connection between Sydney and Newcastle as part of a Sydney-Brisbane route. The Minister’s subseqent announcement on Thursday puts more emphasis on an east coast Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne HSR but it […]

High speed rail – are the Greens as shallow as the rest?

, Aug 01, 2010

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The Greens call for a high speed rail connection between Sydney and Melbourne is populism at its worst.

Forecasting patronage: it's easy, isn't it?

, Jul 04, 2010

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California's High Speed Rail project provides another instance of the high level of risk involved in forecasting patronage

The VFT and Green's preferences

, Jun 19, 2010

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Gary Johns thinks the Very Fast Train might be the price the Government pays for Green preferences at the next Federal election

Has the very fast train run out of steam?

, May 26, 2010

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The idea of very fast trains on the Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne corridor seems to have run out of steam after an initial flurry earlier this year when the CRC for Rail Innovation and the Greens both called on the Federal Government to fund a major concept study. There has been very little in the popular media since […]

Do the numbers support the Very Fast Train?

, May 03, 2010

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I’ve run some numbers on how a Very Fast Train in the Sydney-Melbourne corridor would stack up against planes in order to flesh out the questions I posed last week (Is the VFT all huff and no puff?).  I used a simple “back of the envelope” methodology adapted from that used by Harvard’s Edward Glaeser […]

Is the Very Fast Train all huff and no puff?

, Apr 27, 2010

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The idea of a very fast train (VFT) connecting Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne is gaining momentum (again). The CRC for Rail Innovation launched a pre-feasibility study earlier this year; veteran journalist Brain Toohey expressed his enthusiasm for the idea on Insiders on 11 April; and now the Greens are calling on the Federal Government to […]