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No case for SYD-CBR fast rail — report

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 4, 2012

Sydney Airport's planned terminal overhaul is seen as an effort to stave off construction of a second airport.

The NSW infrastructure authority has dismissed the idea of a fast rail link between Sydney and Canberra as an expensive and impractical solution to overcrowding at Sydney Airport.

The group’s State Infrastructure Strategy, published yesterday, instead argues that a second airport should be built in Badgery’s Creek in Sydney’s west, an idea that has been ruled out by both the state and federal governments.

The federal government is moving ahead with a study of a second airport site in Wilton, while NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has opposed a second airport anywhere in Sydney and has instead pushed the idea of a fast rail link to an expanded Canberra Airport.

But Infrastructure NSW said the rail link was a risky and unproven idea.

“A commitment of this scale requires a high degree of certainty that it will achieve its identified objectives,” it said in its report. “To date, Infrastructure NSW believes the case has not been made as to why a rail option would provide such transformative benefits that it would compete with aviation, even with a heavy subsidy.”


The cost of an east coast high speed rail network from Brisbane to Melbourne has been estimated at between $68 and $108 billion.

Sydney Airport welcomed the Infrastructure NSW report and called on the state government to improve public transport and road links to the airport.

“Infrastructure NSW has rightly recognised Sydney Airport’s importance to the state’s economy and that it will remain the state’s primary airport now and into the future,” Sydney Airport CEO Kerrie Mather said in a statement.  “The report recognises that the NSW government needs to improve access to the airport, by enhancing public transport options and making changes to the road network.”

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Comments (2)

  • John Harrison


    I’ve lived in Australia since Jan 1980, first in Sydney and now Perth. As long as I can remember there has always been talk of High Speed Rail network. It should have been built way back when, and from Melb to Syd.
    There again there was talk of a 2nd airport back in 1980s as well. Some things just don’t change.

  • John Reid


    When the first TGV was built from Paris to Lyon, that was among the busiest air links in the world – now there are few flights. SYD-MEL is now the 4th busiest air corridor in the world, and the distance is not much greater than Paris-Lyon, and there is a major traffic generator midway (Canberra) which already has an airport with serious runway length etc and also significant air traffic to both Sydney and Melbourne, and ATC separation from both.

    I know that a very Fast Train would cost a ton of money, but so would a second Sydney airport. I think Barry O’Farrell has a sounder vision than Infrastructure NSW, because among other reasons, I think the latter have not given due weight to greenhouse-gas reduction issues.

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