Australia’s dream of a high speed rail network from Melbourne to Brisbane could be one step closer to reality if Labor wins the federal election on May 18.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese announced the Labor Party would commit $1billion towards purchasing crucial land for the railway.
The network would link Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane – with a 1750-kilometre corridor already proposed for the bullet train, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
In a statement Mr Albanese said the plan would overturn ‘six years of inaction’ from the Coalition Government regarding high speed rail.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese (pictured) announced the ALP would commit $1billion towards purchasing land for the rail corridor
Mr Albanese said the project would ‘revolutionise interstate travel’ and be the best way to link together cities along the east of Australia.
A trip from Melbourne to Brisbane would take just three hours using the railway.
The shadow minister joined ABC Radio on Friday morning to explain the plan in further detail.
He said the pledge of $1billion to start was designed to help ‘advance the project’.
‘The first thing that has to be done is ensure preservation of the corridor, we know this project stacks up, we did a two stage study when we were last in government that showed an economic return to it,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘A lot of the work has been done, that will obviously need to be refined and when you’re doing construction of a project of this scale you can’t do it purely academically.’
Mr Albanese said the project would not be competed under one government because it would require long term vision and commitment.
‘I am very confident it has community support,’ he said.
The trains would be expected to reach speeds of up to 350km/h between the major cities and would have a positive economic impact on smaller communities along the route
The rail line going north from Sydney would stop at the central coast, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Lismore before heading into the Tweed Heads and Gold Coast regions before finally stopping in Brisbane.
The trains would be expected to reach speeds of up to 350km/h between the major cities and would have a positive economic impact on smaller communities along the route.
‘It would bring these communities closer to capital cities, allowing for increased commuting while also strengthening the case for regional business investment,’ he said.
The $1billion dollar pledge is a step toward the $114 billion estimated cost of the entire project.
For the plan of purchasing private land for the rail corridor to work state governments would also need to get involved.
Labor would also employ high speed rail experts from overseas to help create the rail network.
The dream of high speed rail closing travel distances between Australian cities and regional centres has been the focus of a number of past proposals from foreign companies.
US based company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies submitted a hyperloop plan in October of 2018 in response to a government inquiry into automation and land-based mass transit.
The proposal was for an ultra high speed hyperloop system between Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, reaching speeds of 1,1223 km/h, The Herald Sun reported.
‘A Hyperloop serving Australia’s Eastern seaboard and connecting Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane addresses a population of over 10 million people,’ the submission read.
According to the submission, the tube will be optimised to transport freight and better connection regional towns.
The proposal was ultimately dismissed by the federal government as it had no ‘business case’.
Meanwhile in April it was revealed Virgin Hyperloop One wanted to establish hyperlink routes across the world by 2030.
Their hyperloops would use emerging technology to reach travel speeds of up to 1200km/hr, slashing travelling time across Australian cities.
While no plans have been set in stone, a spokeswoman for the company told Daily Mail Australia: ‘The government have shown interest’.
Hyperloop is a system that involves tubular pods gliding at airline speeds through low-pressure tubes that have had the air removed to create a vacuum.
The tube is suspended off the ground to protect against weather and earthquakes, and uses an electromagnetic propulsion system to accelerate levitating pods through a vacuum tube.
Ryan Kelly, a spokesman for Virgin Hyperloop One, told the Newcastle Herald that the company was open to building a network in Australia if it had the support of the federal government.
‘We haven’t had a major new form of transport in 100 years,’ Mr Kelly said.
‘We’re due for one, especially one that is ultra-fast, on-demand, direct to destination, emission-free, energy efficient, quiet, safe and reliable.’
The Labor party would also employ high speed rail experts from overseas to help create the rail network