The CLARA plan for high-speed rail, costing $200 billion and creating eight new inland cities, depends on unrealistically large numbers of houses being sold for unrealistically high prices while interest rates stay unrealistically low. Hot Rails is not impressed…
We use a variety of different sources to estimate the captured and induced demand for the proposed regional high-speed rail link, and find much higher ridership than projected by previous studies due to serving a large number of regional stations.
The geography between Moss Vale and Mittagong presents a significant barrier to infrastructure development, both due to the built up areas of Bowral and Mittagong and also the imposing topography of Mt Gibraltar. For this reason, re-use of the existing corridor is the best and probably only option here.
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.
The existing alignment out of Goulburn has a minimum radius of 600m, yet it should be possible to increase to 1000m or possibly 1500m with only small modifications to the existing corridor. Geography, other transport corridors and existing development impose substantial constraints beyond this; any faster deviation will be very expensive and should therefore be deferred until higher-speed operations are required.