Naturally I was most interested in railways and took a trip from Beijing to Hangzhou on a high-speed train which zipped along at 300–310kmh. Including several stops at cities on route, the total time for the 1279km journey was just over six hours.
I could have taken a faster service which would have completed the journey in four hours and 18 minutes. On that basis a Melbourne–Sydney high-speed-train journey, even with a couple of stops, would take about 4.5 hours from city centre to city centre.
The Chinese service was clean, smooth and on time. A food trolley service made several runs through the train and there was also a dining car. The only downside was a shortage of luggage space but that was probably because of many tourists using the train with large cases.
Surely it is time that Australia moved to join the rest of the world and work towards building a high-speed rail (HSR) line or lines.
There is no point in repeating all the advantages of HSR, which are many (not the least being environmental issues), but what is needed is action. We could take the first step by reserving the land for an HSR corridor between Melbourne and Sydney with a spur line to Canberra. It would be a truly nation-building project.