Sydney to Newcastle in just 45 minutes? New push for massive high-speed rail network across NSW to slash travel times and grow the regions

  • High-speed rail strategy document reveals plan for a new rail lines in NSW
  • Travel times from Sydney to other parts of NSW would be slashed
  • For example, the journey from Parramatta to Gosford would only take 25mins

High-speed rail lines could connect Sydney to Newcastle, Wollongong, and the state’s west as part of a long-term plan to boost public transport in NSW.

The project was revealed in a confidential 320-page draft strategy by Transport for NSW, and is yet to go before cabinet.

Dedicated high-speed rail lines could cut the travel time between Sydney and Newcastle in half

Under the draft plan, key interchanges to link the high-speed trains to the rest of Sydney’s rail network will be in Parramatta, Epping, and Campbelltown. 

The strategy says the hubs will help deliver ‘easy access’ to employment centres and health and education precincts.

‘The transformation will include both new, dedicated fast rail lines to enable train speeds of up to 250km/h, and improvements to the existing network to increase speeds on those sections to a maximum of 160km/h,’ it reads. 

‘It also includes new trains and new or improved stations that, combined with radically faster travel times, will deliver a step change in customer experiences.’

The strategy document estimates fast-rail trains will reduce travel times between Parramatta and Newcastle from 2.5 hours to an hour.

Parramatta to Gosford would only take 25-minutes, and a dedicated fast-rail line from Sydney to Canberra could halve travel times to 90 minutes.

However, don’t expect the project to be completed any time soon.  

The Transport for NSW strategy predicted the dedicated rail lines would have to be built in sections over more than two decades.

The cost of building the high-speed rail line between Sydney and Newcastle is estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars, and politicians haven’t made any funds available for the project.

Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport Minister Rob Stokes said the NSW Government hadn’t approved or considered the document.

Labor leader Chris Minns said the government was already struggling to run the current train network, and was skeptical about plans for high-speed rail in NSW.

‘Most communities don’t have regular trains let alone yet another thought bubble from the NSW government,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.  

Motorists could be forced to cough up a fee just to enter the CBD in a bid to reduce congestion on NSW roads and encourage the use of public transport (pictured, a cyclist in Sydney)

Motorists could be forced to cough up a fee just to enter the CBD in a bid to reduce congestion on NSW roads and encourage the use of public transport (pictured, a cyclist in Sydney) 

The same document also floated introducing a ‘congestion fee’ just for driving into the Sydney CBD.

The plan would see motorists charged just for entering the boundaries of the CBD – as drivers are in London – to encourage the use of public transport

‘Road users do not pay the true costs of driving’ and need a ‘nudge’ to reconsider leaving their cars at home,’ the document read.

The document also suggests speed limits on suburban streets in the city be reduced to 30km/h to further encourage cyclists and pedestrians. 


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