COMMERCIAL operations began on Sunday on the 3.5km extension of Melbourne’s suburban rail network from Epping to South Morang.
The $A 498m ($US 515m) project also involved track-doubling on the 5km Keon Park – Epping section, construction of a new station at Thomastown, upgrading and expansion of the depot at Epping, and relocation of Epping station.
The extension was delivered by an alliance between the Victoria State Department of Transport, Metro Trains Melbourne, VicRoads, Aecom, and John Holland. Major construction began in October 2010, and work between Keon Park and Epping, including the second track and new stations at Thomastown and Epping, was completed by the end of 2011.
The Ministry of Transport has appointed Japan Railway Technical Service (Jarts) and Yachiyo Engineering to conduct a pre-feasibility study for a public-private partnership scheme to build a 144km 210km/h line between Jakarta and Bandung.
Trains using the existing 1067mm-gauge line take around 3 hours to complete the 173km trip.
THE CEO of the Australasian Railway Association, Mr Bryan Nye, wants the Australian government to consider high-speed rail as part of the solution to solving congestion at Sydney airport. Nye says plans for a second Sydney airport make it clear that airport capacity constraints must be addressed.
The Sydney - Melbourne air route transports 7.9 million passengers a year, while another 1.1 million people fly annually between Sydney and Canberra.
"A 350km/h Sydney - Melbourne high-speed rail link with a 2h 50min travel time would see 60% of air travellers change to rail," says Nye. "This shift to rail would free up the desperately-needed air paths and runway slots at Sydney airport."