Two-hour train ride between Canberra and Sydney on the cards
Canberrans could be nipping up to Sydney in just two hours if a new high speed railway project gets the green light.
Executives from Spanish train-building company Talgo arrived in Canberra on Wednesday to discuss running their high speed passenger trains between the two cities.
Spanish company Talgo are proposing to run their state of the art trains (pictured) between Canberra and Sydney.
Spanish company Talgo are proposing to run their state of the art trains (pictured) between Canberra and Sydney. Photo: Steven Trask
Commercial director Guillermo Martinez told The Canberra Times the state of the art trains would halve the current four-hour rail journey between Canberra and Sydney.
The trains would run on the existing tracks between the two cities with little to no modification needed to railway infrastructure, he added.
"We have looked at the current track between Sydney and Canberra and it was not as bad as we thought," he said.
"There is no problem running our trains on the existing railway tracks.
"For us, this is one of the main reasons to put in our train set. Because we don't need to invest as much on the tracks."
The full proposal would cost less than $100 million, Mr Martinez said, with Talgo understood to be seeking contributions from governments in New South Wales and the ACT.
Mr Martinez said if the government committed to the project, Talgo would have the trains up and running in "12 months or less".
Talgo would also lend a demonstration train to Australia free of charge just to prove their technology worked before the government committed a cent.
"There would be no cost associated with the trial," Mr Martinez said.
"All of the initial cost for the trial would be borne by us."
The Indian government is currently running trials of Talgo trains between the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi.
In initial trials, conducted last September, the trains shaved more than four hours off the typical railway journey time of 16 hours.
Project manager Salvador Flores said the primary reason the trains travelled so fast was because they used a "tilting" system that allowed them to maintain speed on corners.
"Mainly it's the passive tilting system that allows the train to run faster. It's a difference in technology," he said.
Mr Martinez said it was too soon to tell exactly how quickly the units could travel on Australian tracks, although Talgo trains are capable of reaching speeds as fast as 200 kilometres per hour.
They would have a similar passenger capacity to the trains currently running on the Sydney to Canberra line, Mr Martinez added.
Fenner MP Dr Andrew Leigh is expected to meet with the Talgo delegation to discuss the project on Thursday.
"Although it is early days, Talgo's visit to Canberra highlights the range of affordable options available for the NSW government to shorten rail travel time between Sydney and Canberra," Dr Leigh said.
"The current journey of four hours puts the train behind the Canberra-Sydney bus line, but with a modest investment from the Berejiklian government, Talgo high-speed trains could make the trip in two hours and be competitive with air travel."
A public meeting has been organised to discuss the project on Thursday evening. It will begin at 6pm at 1 Balmain Crescent in Acton and will include presentations from Talgo representatives.