Fast train: Keep election promises within cooee of reality
I don't think we need to get too excited about Labor's announcement of a fast train between Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle ("No mention of Woy Woy in Labor fast rail announcement", PN 535).
Announcements of a fast train always come thick and fast in election lead-ups, but these engineering masterpieces have yet to show up in the real world where, if anything, trains are slower than ever.
Nobody is going to build a fast train between Newcastle and Sydney, because the engineering problems are enormous, the costs would be astronomical and the low level of patronage would require fares so expensive that nobody could afford them.
Surely, even the most gullible voter must realize by now that these promises are completely meaningless, particularly when associated with a notional allocation of a derisory $500 million for a project that would run into the multi-billions.
A fast train isn't something you can build a piece at a time: it either exists or it doesn't.
You either commit to it and budget for it or you don't.
On the flimsiest possible analysis, somebody has decided that this ephemeral train will only stop at Ourimbah in Central Coast, so it is hardly surprising that Woy Woy is not mentioned in the Labor announcement.
Of course, if anyone can show me an affordable fast-train alignment that connects Newcastle to Sydney via Ourimbah, I'll make sure he gets the engineer-of-the-year award (make that engineer-of-the-decade).
Let us recall, also, that the State Government has already closed the old line between Hamilton and Newcastle, so that Newcastle no longer has any train connection at all: where will a fast train go to terminate at Newcastle?
Statements that a fast train would "include stops in the Central Coast ... (with) Gosford and Wyong ... obvious possibilities" verge on the moronic.
The engineering requirements of a fast train are such that stations so closely spaced are impossible: the absolute minimum distance between stations is 50 km., and this is far from optimal, as every start-stop movement detracts from the efficiency of the system.
Dr. Reid's magic train that is going to achieve speeds "over 250 kph" between Gosford and Wyong only exists in comic books: let us try to keep election promises somewhere within cooee of reality.
Email, 25 Jan 2022
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy