Berejiklian government urged to support Sydney to Newcastle fast train
A rapid rail network that would move passengers between Sydney and Newcastle in an hour is part of a case to better connect the region surrounding Australia’s largest city.
The Sydney committee is calling on the NSW government to prioritize building infrastructure to reduce travel times in the ‘sandstone mega-region’ encompassing Sydney, Wollongong, the central coast and Newcastle.
The chief executive of the urban policy think tank, Gabriel Metcalf, wants the Berejiklian government to release a business case for a Sydney to Newcastle rapid rail project by the end of the year.
“We think a funding commitment for at least the first part of this – which would probably be between Sydney and Gosford – would be a good thing to put on the table ahead of an election,” Mr Metcalf said.
“I know they are planning to do it.
“What we are doing is trying to provide a favorable context to move forward and do it even though there are so many competing interests coming from Covid-19.”
Taking a train from Sydney to Newcastle currently takes around two and a half hours.
The idea of a rapid rail network to the greater Sydney area and to Canberra has been around for at least a decade and is part of a key re-election promise for the Coalition in 2018.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian has since pledged to accelerate to 200 km / h on four key regional roads.
Ms Berejiklian has indicated this year her interest in a rail capable of reaching even faster speeds, but details on the scope of this work and which routes will be prioritized are not yet finalized.
The Sydney committee said new infrastructure capable of supporting train speeds of between 200 km / h and 250 km / h would be needed in order to reduce travel times to Newcastle to one hour and about 30 minutes up to ‘in Gosford.
The Committee for Sydney predicts the continued relocation of people from Sydney to surrounding coastal hubs, as the ‘forced experience’ of the Covid-19 pandemic will make working from home the norm.
The think tank compared the greater Sydney area to the Boston-New York-Washington corridor in the United States, where cities are too far away for daily travel but close enough to be economically and culturally connected.
A spokeswoman for Transport for NSW said the state government’s next Fast Rail strategy will include a plan for the delivery of a rapid rail network.
“A strategy outlining the economic and social benefits of high speed rail in NSW is being finalized and, when completed, will kick off the next phase of this transformative regional development program,” the spokesperson said.
NCA NewsWire contacted the prime minister’s office for comment.