Publication Details

Michell, M., Martin, S. & Laird, P. (2014). Building a railway for the 21st century: bringing high speed rail a step closer. Conference on Railway Excellence, Proceedings (pp. 612-621). Australia: Railway Technical Society of Australasia.


High Speed Rail (HSR) operating at maximum speeds of above 250km/h with electric passenger trains are now operational in at least 11 countries. As the feasibility of building an Australian East Coast HSR network between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane is once again being examined, governments at Federal, State and Local levels need to develop complementary transport infrastructure and services to ensure the long-term financial and operational success of HSR. The lengthy time frame currently envisaged for completing the first stage of an Australian East Coast HSR network by 2035 provides a 20-year window for improving and upgrading urban and regional rail systems to make them 'HSR ready'. This paper explores an incremental approach to providing a HSR network that will allow progressive enhancements rather than the currently recommended 'big bang' approach and identify changes required to produce a healthy intercity rail network to complement a successful HSR network.