Sydney Central to Canberra Civic in 91 minutes, for less than $5 billion: A new strategy for high-speed rail in Australia which will have it built sooner, cheaper and at no net cost to the taxpayer.
A 10km dual-track tunnel takes us to Central Station at 200-plus km/h – this is the most expensive sector of the railway by far, but by using existing infrastructure to a far greater extent than previous proposals, the total cost to access the Sydney CBD is the lowest of any proposal to date.
In our look at the possible corridors we could use to access inner Sydney, we identified two possible contenders that could get us to within about 15km of Central Station before we had to go underground. The first was to use the East Hills corridor until Revesby or soon after, and subsequently using a long tunnel (15-17km) to Central. The other main option was to use the Cumberland and Inner West corridors via Liverpool and Cabramatta…
The existing rail corridor between Campbelltown and Glenfield was rejected by the 2013 government study due to having insufficiently large radius for their unrealistically fast 400km/h design speed. However, the corridor actually has fairly good geometry, with only two curves of relatively gentle radius; the one at Leumeah has radius 1000m, while the one between Minto and Ingleburn has radius 1800m. This is sufficient for tilting trains to achieve 200km/h…
Access to Sydney’s city centre has always been one of the major challenges of previous high speed rail concepts. The density of existing development, the lack of suitable transport corridors and the formidable terrain mean that there is no easy way to access Central Station on a high-speed alignment. There have…
The last sector before we reach metropolitan Sydney presents few design difficulties, or at least no more so than the adjacent Hume Highway. A couple of bridges and moderately deep cuttings are all that is needed to bring the high-speed railway back to the Southwest Rail Corridor, where the prevailing radius is about 1800m.
Now we are really getting into the heart of the Southern Highlands, with its beautiful rolling pastures, cute hamlets, manicured golf courses, and of course the Shoalhaven Escarpment on the southeastern side. The existing railway between Bundanoon and Moss Vale is pretty windy, so we will need to build a completely new track through moderately difficult terrain.
The existing track between Wingello and Bundanoon winds its way along the northwestern escarpment of the Shoalhaven, making for a dramatic but winding railway. Unfortunately there are only limited opportunities to re-use the existing alignment, so a substantially new alignment will be needed.
The Marulan sector consists of about half existing alignment and half new alignment around Uringalla. The country is undulating, meaning that significant earthworks and possibly some tunnelling and structures may be required.
This sector involves some difficult terrain, with the Wollondilly River winding between hilly country. The eastern part of the alignment approaching Marulan is unproblematic; curves are minimal and there is even a former trackbed on the north side of the tracks that can be reutilised for most of the length.