Wednesday, February 07, 2007

3rd world Oz

Here is a link to story from the Sydney Morning Herald. To give you the quick version, Vietnam, yeah that very poor little divided country we fought against, is going to build a high speed rail line from Saigon to Hanoi.

While there is plenty of Japanese money going into the project, the Vietnamese government has enough faith in the project to enure they are heavy investors. Now I wonder which European 'sacre bleu' country will supply the trains?

Work is well underway in Saigon on an very, very extensive part underground light rail system.

I have heard, but the statistics are questionable, that the busiest air travel route in the world is between Sydney and Melbourne.

But we don't even have a fast train between the two major cities in Australia.

It will take Japan a long time to realise a benefit to its foreign aid. It will take Vietnam a long time before their investment returns a profit.

But they are investing for the long term future, something Australia seems at times being incapable of doing.


  1. Hmm. My best friend has been living there... I shall question her.

  2. Is she still in Hoi An?

  3. Oh, and there was a spill from a ship in Hoi An a few days ago. I fogot to follow it up.

  4. She is in Sweden, actually. Left Hoi An and Vietnam for greener pastures.

  5. I have heard, but the statistics are questionable, that the busiest air travel route in the world is between Sydney and Melbourne.

    I believe it is the 4th busiest domestic route in the world. Substantially behind many European and Asian air-routes that cross national borders. European studies suggest that trips less than 1000km are suitable for high speed rail (over air travel), but they often have intermediate stops (as presumably the vietnamese railway will. Sydney-Melbourne had an extensive study done on it five years ago, which suggested it was not economical given the travel times. Some of the assumptions (the number of proposed stops, the in-city speed, the route taken, the number of travellers, the cost-benefit of that versus airport expansion, etc.) can be questioned, but that is the current state of high speed rail in Australia.

    It would be nice though...

  6. Whiter pastures perhaps Rosanna.

    I reckon it needs to be about five hours Russ. That would be serious competition to airlines if the price is reasonable.

  7. Interesting you say that Andrew. The study made an assumption that trip would need to be three hours door-to-door to be competitive with airlines.

    This was pre-Sept.11 which meant it assumed shorter waiting times than are now realistic. It also ignored the advantage of having wireless/mobile access on a train, giving just a 20min 'comfort bonus'. The 'best' time for a train (actually maglev) couldn't get close to that, so they did their economic comparison based on country passengers. Stupid! No wonder it was uneconomic.

    You are underestimating the train speeds, although the study does the same thing. A fair comparison (ie. a route that doesn't have to stop in Canberra, but only optionally could) and French times of >240kmh (which given the flat terrain we should be able to manage) would give 3.5 hours.

    It will only get cheaper, and any carbon taxing will hurt the airlines considerably. Give it 5-10 more years I'd say.

  8. I just think of the extra time involved in a one hour flight compared to a tram ride to the station. Although obviously not if the terminus was at Dandenong. If one is to be built ever, it may as well be a top notch ultra fast model.