Totally correct. Passenger volumes are the issue.
While working in the industry a few years back I and afew colleagues, over a few Scotches (as you do), worked out that - like European HSR - similar projects in Oz would only work if they were "air alternative" (ie: an alternative to air travel in both time and or cost).
We calculated that travel Sydney to Melbourne, using latest tech 350km/h HSR, would be approx. 3.5hrs Sydney Central to Southern Cross Melbourne, including stops at Macarthur, Canberra and Albury.
This might sound like a lot, but when you consider that it would take 45mins to get from CBD to Mascot Domestic, min 45mins prior to departure, with flight time and 'wheels down' of 1hr 15mins, plus the 45min drive from Tullamarine to Melbourne CBD means "air travel" is currently approx. 3.5 hrs door-to-door.
Even if you could do the last minute run-on with only a briefcase (which most don't allow anyway) it would still be a minimum of 2hrs 45 door to door, and that with lots of frantic rushing about.
So the idea has merit from a practical perspective.
But as business people mostly fly late-booked economy (ie: most "business travel" is not the CEO up in 1st Class, it's the workers back in cattle class) at prices around the $250-450 mark, the question goes begging as to whether HSR could capture enough of the air shuttle market to make a quid.
Brisbane time slots are much the same, but with a shorter time to CBD from Airport and a longer track distance, the time factor doesn't stack up quite as well. Nor, I suspect, would the volumes.
As the XPT takes around 11 hours for the journey at present, this would be a considerable time saving, but would be around 2 to 3 times the cost.
In Europe, HSR has taken over about 20% of total travel along shared corridors. Thi is set to increase as jet fuel (and fares) rise, as the HSR is mostly electric.
Posted Saturday 3 Jul 2010 @ 7:40:57 am from IP #