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You may recall a series of posts I wrote on high speed rail in Australia, especially as proposed by the Greens (originally here, followed up on here). Before the election, the Federal Labor Government had conducted a feasibility study and found the idea wanting (for rather obvious reasons explained in my first post). After the election, with the Greens holding the balance of power, they pushed the idea harder. Several lobby groups began issuing free reports on the issue from a pro-rail POV. My critiques of these reports are in those earlier posts.

But the whole issue was dealt with by sending it off for an expert committee to release a report. And we never heard from them again.

Today, the SMH has an article about the benefits of trains over planes (in the context of Europe). As I’ve said consistently, trains are a very good idea in areas with constant population centres, such as Europe or New England in the US. However, they become economically infeasible when travelling long distances without many passengers getting on or off between your major destinations (a la Sydney-Melbourne or most places in the US).

The article itself isn’t that interesting. But they’ve clearly chosen a route which is most favourable to trains (given that there isn’t even an economy class plane fare, so the cost ends up being at least $463 for a plane and $110 for a train.

What’s so interesting is that the article is so biased towards trains that it makes me think that the committee is about to release its report and the Greens are pushing for publicity and awareness ahead of the report.


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