High Speed Rail Plan

Australia could have high speed rail from Melbourne to Brisbane within a decade powered entirely by clean renewable energy.

Travelling long distances is an unavoidable part of living in Australia, with approximately 1,800 towns spread thinly over an enormous 7.7 million square kilometres.

Travel is so much a part of our lives. It accounts for one quarter of Australia’s total energy consumption, and 15% of greenhouse gas emissions.

As Beyond Zero Emissions’ High Speed Rail Report (2014) demonstrates, high speed rail between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane would provide clean, efficient, affordable and comfortable transport that would reduce travel emissions and service 80% of Australia’s population who live along the east coast.

Twenty one stations between Melbourne and Brisbane would connect 11 regional centres, paving the way for development.

This report was produced in collaboration with University of Melbourne – Energy Research Institute and German Aerospace Centre.

Key findings

The study’s key findings include:

  • 45% of Australian regional travel is contained within the proposed High Speed Rail network corridor
  • Journey times of less than three hours from the centre of Sydney CBD, to the CBD of Melbourne or Brisbane
  • 60% of Australian population is within 50km of a High Speed Rail station on proposed network
  • Three million fewer domestic passengers at Sydney Airport in 2030 than current levels, removing the need for a second airport in Sydney
  • 40 year capital repayment from operating profits
  • 100% renewable energy powered HSR allows zero emissions journeys
  • Internationally, comparable HSR projects have been delivered in less than 10 years
  • $7 billion estimated fare revenue when fully operational in 2030.

“The High Speed Rail report helps to confirm that this is a transport system which we should be implementing without further delay.”

Dale Budd

Reference Group Member, Commonwealth Government 2010-2013 high speed rail study

“High speed rail is an intergenerational project that will transform our nation…High speed rail must become a reality in Australia.”

Bryan Nye

CEO, Australasian Railway Association

Examples of costs, travel share and other projections throughout the report:


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