Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney:
“Despite the lack of detail, today’s announcement offers grounds for hope we can achieve bipartisan support on this nationally significant project – a vastly faster train trip from Sydney to the Central Coast and Newcastle.
With the Federal Coalition and Labor committed to much faster rail connections between Sydney and Newcastle, we now need to see the NSW Government coming to the table.
NSW has done the work with its Fast Rail Strategy. What we need now is a commitment from NSW backed up by funding for this crucial project.
Better connections across the region, south to Wollongong, north to the Central Coast and Newcastle, and linking into Sydney’s west, would allow the region to work like a bigger global city, with more economic gravitational pull. It will give people more choice about where they work, where they live, and how they get around.
As we look to emerge from two years of disruption and lockdown, making this strategic investment and getting it right will get people inspired about the region’s future and substantially boost our economic recovery.”
This was the one major infrastructure project called for in the Committee’s recent paper setting out priorities for the next Australian Government.
It could be achieved by trains that travel 250 kph, sometimes called Fast Rail – as distinct from High Speed Rail, which is even faster (up to 350 kph).
This has been studied extensively:
- Generally, the idea is to start with a Fast Rail link from Sydney to Gosford, linking those two centres within half an hour.
- Then continue to Newcastle
- Given the challenging nature of the corridor, with difficult terrain and a lot of pre-existing urban development, incremental upgrades to the existing alignment (which sometimes go by the jargon ‘Faster Rail’) will not shift the dial on travel times.