Canberra’s light rail network should be connected directly to an upgraded heavy rail line via a rail hub located at or near the Canberra Airport. This alignment was explored by the Federal Government in 2013 and endorsed by the ACT Government in 2016.
An almost 4.5-hour train ride from Sydney to Canberra is not conducive to our vision of the National Capital as a global city. Fastrack Australia’s 2023 proposal recommends a staged approach to upgrading the existing line, rather than replacing it with a new one. Their plan offers gradual improvements in speed starting with a reduction to three hours travel time from Canberra to Sydney and culminating in a 90-minute trip after the fifth stage of works is complete.
Reduced travel times will also accelerate the growth of regional centres surrounding Canberra, like Yass and Goulburn, by increasing their felt proximity to the city, thereby making faster trains a key enabler of regional economic growth. Canberra Airport has previously offered to fully fund the construction of a high-speed rail station at a cost of approximately $140 million in 2012 dollars.