High speed rail on table

Grafton has been named as one of 12 major regional towns a proposed high speed rail train between Melbourne and Brisbane would stop at.
Grafton has been named as one of 12 major regional towns a proposed high speed rail train between Melbourne and Brisbane would stop at.

IMAGINE jumping on a train in Grafton to arrive in Brisbane or Sydney within the hour.

Stephen Bygrave, CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions and co-author of an independent report into high speed rail, says investors are ready and willing to co-fund a high speed rail route between Melbourne and Sydney.

All that's needed is the political will and $84 billion in funding for the project.

Mr Bygrave was in Brisbane earlier this week to share his vision, which he says will open regional areas like the Clarence Valley to development.

"Rail presents a zero-emissions transport solution that's cleaner, cheaper, and in many cases, faster than air when you take into account travel time to and from airports," he told The Daily Examiner.

He said there was a demand for the service along the Eastern Seaboard, with 60% of the Australian population living within 50km of the proposed rail corridor.

The report, a collaboration between BZE, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the University of Melbourne's Energy Research Institute, has been two years in the making.

It recommends an alignment broadly similar to the previous federal government's study. The rail link would see trains travelling at up to 350kmh to connect 12 major regional towns, including Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Newcastle, to the cities of Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said while he was not familiar with new report, he was familiar with the previous study into high speed rail undertaken by the previous federal government.

Cr Williamson sees high speed rail as a positive for the Clarence Valley.

"I think it would have tremendous potential," he said.

Beyond Zero Emissions is a climate change think tank.

Topics:  rail transport

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