Transport economist Matt McInnes sets out to debunk the myth that high-speed rail is not viable in Australia because of our size and small population. He says we should look to Spain – a more recent convert to HSR with a population of 47 million people and a relatively low population density – as a better comparison overall. Of most interest are the services between the individual connected cities. Spain’s HSR network links, among others, Barcelona and Madrid, with populations of 1.7 million and 3.3 million respectively – both smaller than Melbourne and Sydney.
Downer Rail is ramping up its fleet management service deal with national freight operator Pacific National (PN). Under the agreement – announced in February but which actually started on 1 January – Downer is providing a full range of asset management services for 317 PN locomotives. This will include scheduled and unscheduled maintenance services along with a state-of-the-art computerised 24-hour “fleet control centre” now being built at Cardiff, New South Wales.
In an increasing trend by companies to control their own transport needs, specialist agribusiness trader Fletcher International Exports had started its own container freight service between Dubbo and Port Botany in New South Wales – a distance of 480km. the Central West NSW company has launched three 132-tonne C44Aci locomotives to move farm produce to port. The initiative is part of the Fletcher’s aim of creating an inland container port. In December last year the company took delivery of 62 Chinese-made freight wagons.