This page is a summary of the different cost classes we look at in this blog; each class listed below is explored in detail in its own post. Using the 2013 AECOM high-speed rail study as a starting point, numerous additional sources have been used to either confirm or question the reliability of the government study’s numbers. In some cases the AECOM numbers have been confirmed or supported, in others they have been found to be implausibly high, or have not been sufficiently justified. In such cases alternative cost data was sought, ideally from contemporary Australian experience, or failing that, from comparable Western economies (high-wage, well regulated, strict building code).
Cost per bore-kilometre of tunnel:
|Tunnel type||Design speed||OD||Cost per bore-km|
|High speed single track||300km/h||9.3m||$45m|
|High speed dual track||300km/h||14.6m||$75m|
|Medium speed single track||200km/h||7.7m||$36m|
|Medium speed dual track||200km/h||12.4m||$62m|
Short and generic bridges are costed according to the following table.
|Bridge type||Span (m)||unit||Cost (2013 AUD)|
|Small culvert (single)||2.5||Each||$200k|
|Large culvert (single)||10||Each||$500k|
|Pipe culvert (continuous)||1||track-km||$1.25m|
|Box culvert (continuous)||2.5||track-km||$2.5m|
Bridges requiring a longer mainspan than 50m will be classed as major bridges, and costed individually using the cost functions (Cost = AeBS) which are presented below. Note that these cost functions give cost per track-metre; multiply by 2 for dual track, and by 1000 for cost per track-kilometre. Also note that multipliers apply for “short” bridges of only a few spans; apply a multiplier of 2.35, 1.67 or 1.15 for bridges comprising only 1, 2 or 3 spans respectively.
|Bridge type||Span range (m)||A||B|
5km of mass-haul is priced into these estimates; any haul over and above this costed at $2 per m3 per km.
- Cut (rock): $31/m3
- Cut (non-rock): $14/m3
- Fill: $16/m3
- Cut (rock): $61/m3
- Cut (non-rock): $21/m3
- Fill: $26/m3
|Item||Design speed||Cost per km|
|Dual slab track||400km/h||$3.55m|
Track upgrade costs are assumed to be 67% (two thirds) that of greenfield construction.
We will use a mixture of unit costs and per-kilometre costs:
|Track crossover||$4m||Each||As needed|
|Station crossover||$8m||Each||Every station|
|Balises (transponders)||$2000||Per route-km||Entire length|
|Control Centre building||$25m||Each||At terminal stations|
|Control Centre equipment||$7m||Each||At terminal stations|
|Communications cable||$125k||Per route-km||Entire length except tunnel|
|Wi-fi/radio tower||$800k||Each||10km (average)|
An expected range of average per-kilometre costs versus design speed should be:
- Less than 120km/h: $150,000/km
- 120-199km/h: $225,000/km
- 200-299km/h: $600,000/km
- 300km/h or greater: $900,000/km
Although power infrastructure is not needed for the Hot Rails strategy, the costs below will be assumed for purposes of comparison. The costs of AECOM13 have been adapted to an average construction cost per-km cost for simplicity, and modified by design speed based on a University of Iowa study.
|Design speed||Single track||Dual track||Additional track|
|Less than 180km/h||$400k||$600k||$200k|
|Local bitumen road||Lane-km||$250k|
|Main bitumen road||Lane-km||$500k|
|Chain link fence||Linear-km||$50k|
|Noise attenuation wall||Linear-km||$4.8m|
|Level crossing (plain)||Each||$180k|
|Level crossing (lighted)||Each||$350k|
|Level crossing (gated)||Each||$700k|
|Minor grade separation (simple)||Each||$1.25m|
|Minor grade separation (complex)||Each||$2.5m|
|Major grade separation||Each||$5m|
|Site clearance and minor demolition||Route-km||$125k|
|Station type||Description||Upgrade cost|
|Operational||Currently in use and well maintained||$0.5m|
|Partly operational||Some buildings in use and mostly well maintained||$1m|
|Closed||Not in use but suitable buildings still exist||$2.5m|
|Greenfield||No existing or badly degraded structures only||$10m-$70m|
Generally costed on a case-by-case basis by looking at current real-estate prices on websites such as realestate.com.au, and assuming a 40-metre corridor (4ha/km, 8.8 acres/km). Where houses must be demolished, the entire block must be purchased regardless of size. Compulsory acquisition will be assumed, but no “compensatory uplift” will be applied.
Some typical land values are listed below (determined by casual survey of realestate.com.au and rounded to nearest $250k).
|Land type||Cost/quarter acre||Cost/ha||Cost/km (40m corridor)|