Investor ready for action on high-speed rail

An example of a high-speed railway train in Beijing.
An example of a high-speed railway train in Beijing.
  • 355 million east coast trips forecast by 2050 without high speed rail.
  • Our cities, highways and airports are alredy congested today.
  • The east coast will be gridlocked.
  • All airports will need additional runways.
  • Sydney will need a third airport.
  • The 800km Hume Highway will need duplicating again.

THE head of the Australasian Railway Association has confidently predicted overseas investment is ready and waiting to build a $114 billion high-speed rail system with a stop in Albury-Wodonga.

Chief executive officer Bryan Nye addressed a gathering of councils including Albury and Wodonga on Thursday night and revealed overseas financial backing could be the breakthrough needed to advance the $114 billion project linking Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

He said yesterday “political will” was the only hurdle standing in the way of making a start and urged councils to begin “agitating” for high speed rail.

The proposed $70 million Albury-Wodonga station would be built at North Barnawartha near the Logic industrial hub.

“There are enough overseas investors interested in investing in high-speed rail in Australia to make it happen today,” Mr Nye said.

“I know this to be case from recently travelling in Asia.

“The Chinese and Koreans have already done their high speed rail and would like to invest elsewhere.

“The Japanese have negative interest rates and an interest rate of 1 per cent is nearly double what they get now.”

Mr Nye said there was nothing stopping the federal government preserving the high-speed rail corridor and calling for expressions of interest to build it.

“What I am trying to do is get the councils to agitate and advocate to make it happen ,” he said.

“The biggest impact will be on regional Australia.

“There is no reason why Albury-Wodonga shouldn’t be a city of two million people.

“If you are travelling at 380 km/h you are only an hour away from Melbourne.

“Melbourne either becomes a city of 8.5 million people or we build up regional Australia where it is cheaper to do so.

“It cheaper to build hospitals, universities and for people to live in regional Australia.

“Melbourne and Sydney are suffering massive congestion issues.”

Albury-Wodonga, Wagga and Shepparton are part of a proposed stage one of the high speed rail system between Sydney and Melbourne.

“I certainly know of interest not only from Asia, but also Europe,” Mr Nye said.

“There is no doubt it would be viable and government studies show that.

“Even if we start today it would be still 10 years away, but councils have an incredibly important role in this.”