The New South Wales Government has revealed its plans for four potential fast rail routes to better connect regional centres to each other and Sydney.
If re-elected, the Berejiklian Government will go ahead with the project, which proposes four routes within 300 kilometres of Sydney:
- Northern Route including the Central Coast and Newcastle.
- Southern Inland Route including Goulburn and Canberra.
- Western Route including Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange / Parkes.
- Southern Coastal Route including Wollongong and Nowra.
According to the NSW Government, the delivery of fast rail on the routes has the potential to cut travel times by up to 75 per cent.
“We know a fast rail network will transform NSW unlike any other project and we will make it a reality,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
“We need to make it easier for people to consider moving to regional NSW and there is no better way to do that than building a fast rail network.”
High speed rail expert Professor Andrew McNaughton has been appointed by the state government to confirm the most appropriate routes, train speeds and station locations.
The advice from Prof. McNaughton will pave the way for the NSW Government to take a new approach to the delivery of fast rail by identifying immediate improvements to existing rail corridors, while undertaking long-term visionary planning.
NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said this approach allows for improvements in travel times for customers in the coming years, while at the same time delivering the building blocks for a high speed dedicated rail network.
“In the immediate future, faster rail would see upgrades along existing rail alignments and provide services of at least 200km/h, slashing travel times by one third,” Mr. Constance said.
“Ultimately, in the long term, high speed rail would see the development of new alignments and lines, providing speeds of over 250km/h, with examples overseas travelling up to 350km/h and higher – giving the potential to cut travel times by up to 75 per cent.”
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) welcomed the NSW Government’s investigation into fast rail, with CEO Danny Broad outlining the benefits it could bring to the region.
“Fast Rail reduces travelling times, allowing transformation of regional centres,” Mr. Broad said.
“It can facilitate decentralisation and revitalise regional centres, complementing effective integrated transport options within and between our cities.
“Other key benefits include easing of road congestion, and reduction of carbon and other polluting emissions. “