Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sydney to Canberra Hybrid Fast Train

On 12 February 2009, the UK Government announced that Hitachi trains from the Agility Trains consortium would replace the InterCity 125 trains used between UK cities. This is of relevance to Australia, as the XPT trains used between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne are derived from the old UK trains. The new Agility Trains may therefore be suitable for use in Australia

Agility Trains will run at 201 km/h and one version will be a hybrid, capable of operating on electricity and diesel. This could be very useful for Australia: the train could run on the electrical supply in Sydney, then change to diesel for the country run to Canberra. While not as fast as Very High Speed trains, such as the TGV (320 km/h) the Angel trains would not require new track or overhead wiring. It should be noted that Queensland's electric tilt train is also partly made by Hitachi.

Very high speed is not needed to make the train trip from Sydney to Canberra by train feasable. At present the rail journey takes more than four hours, at an average speed of about 65 km/h. The new trains could be run from Sydney central station, stopping at Sydney airport and on to Canberra in under three hours. If the trains were equipped with power points beside each seat for laptop computers, as is being done on the refurbished Thalys and WiFi access, as on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, it would be attractive to business and private travellers.

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Blogger Azlan said...

I've been wanting to chat with you for quite some time about your Sydney-Canberra high speed train posts, as it's been a pet project of mine for about 20 years.

One issue I see with this one is that I'm sure I've read that our tracks would not be safe with trains at even these speeds

March 27, 2009 3:51 PM  

Blogger Tom Worthington said...

Blogger Azlan said March 27, 2009 3:51 PM:

"... our tracks would not be safe with trains at even these speeds"

The railway tracks around Australia are being upgraded for freight trains. This should also make it possible to run more comfortable and faster passenger trains.

This without the high cost of electrification or specially constructed new routes for very fast trains.

As an example the trip from Canberra to Sydney is very smooth up to Golburn, as this is on track upgraded for Sydney to Melbourne freight. The track from Golburn to Canberra is slow and bumpy because it has not been upgraded.

April 02, 2009 5:05 PM  

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