You’re doing it wrong: Why the regional train network in Australia sucks

3 Oct

European Virgin high-speed train: Shits on Australian trains from a great height and at speed.

Let me clarify for starters that this is not a ‘smugly poke shit at the Australians’ post, because, well New Zealand’s regional train network is almost non-existent.

BUT, I was interested to listen to this Background Briefing podcast from Australia’s ABC Radio, introduced thus:

All political parties agree that trains do it better, but who will make it happen? Meanwhile, thousands of trucks are about to churn up the roads trying to get a huge wheat harvest to city ports, and two million tourists choke Byron Bay with cars. The rest of the world – even France – is joining its regional areas with high speed trains, and it works.

“Even France”..?!  Enough with the racism Australia – sheesh.

The point remains that, with its population and layout, Australia should be a sitter for high-speed train travel.  When I was there recently, I caught the train to my sister’s in the south of New South Wales.  Well, Actually I only caught it half way, because the line stopped at Nowra.   My sister had to pick me up, which was lovely, but a bloody major hassle for her I expect.

And on my previous visit to Australia I caught a “tilt” train (??) from Noosa to Brisbane and it was…um…gross.  It felt distinctly third class (Tim you snob).  I just don’t think it should be though right?  The podcast above talks about much of the world entering a “Second Golden Age” of train travel.  Yet to reach our part of the world unfortunately.

Just looked it up, and a “Tilt Train” does, in fact tilt, so that it can go around corners without slowing down as much.  I didn’t notice, but it all ties into the whole thrust of things.  They had shit sandwiches.  I remember that.

Ok, so listen to the podcast (if you have time), which highlights the “historical anomaly” that has resulted in the Australian (and by extension New Zealand?) regional train networks eat it.

If you don’t have time for a podcast or a too challenged to make it work (admittedly the link will be dead in a week – around the same lifespan of a moth), it can be summarised by the following exchange:

Interviewer: “Is there a solution to Australia’s current train network?”

Train Buff Guy: “Yes…A bulldozer”.


One Response to “You’re doing it wrong: Why the regional train network in Australia sucks”

  1. mc1100 April 12, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    Apart from a couple of poorly constructed sentences that did NOT make any sense at all, this article was most entertaining.
    Having travelled on the high speed rail from Hamburg to Munich many years ago, and having the absolute joy of driving on the autobahns around Munich I can honestly tell the motoring public of Australia that WE WAS ROBBED, when it comes to decent carriage ways and decent railways. Our transport systems wouldn’t even rate as “arterial” let alone world standard.

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