A JOINT STATEMENT BY
4 August 1998
The Prime Minister, John Howard, today cleared the way for a new era in transport in Australia with the selection of PEEDRAIL as the successful proponent to build and operate a very high-speed train service between Sydney and Canberra.
SPEEDRAIL will use the commercially proven and leading edge TGV technology now used to link major capitals throughout Europe.
The $3.5 billion Sydney-Canberra Very High Speed Train project will deliver 15 thousand new jobs during three years of construction - due to commence in the year 2000.
SPEEDRAIL - selected on merit ahead of strong competition - will now pass through an intensive confirmation process with the Federal, NSW and ACT Governments to determine final arrangements before construction can commence.
Based on current information fast trains will operate between Sydney and Canberra by the end of 2003 - with billions of dollars injected into the regional economy in the interim.
Nine TGV trains, each of eight cars, will travel up to 320 kph to provide a world class train experience every 45 minutes each way - taking just 81 minutes to make the journey.
SPEEDRAIL will build, own, and operate the Sydney to Canberra Very High Speed Train before transferring the railway to public ownership after 30 years.
Mr. Howard said the very fast train would rival airline flight as the preferred means of travel for countless millions of Australians for decades to come.
"Our national transport vision is one free of State boundaries and differences where passengers and freight can move at lightning speed in complete safety.
"This nation building project is concrete proof of my Government's determination to harness the latest proven transport technology and Australian ingenuity to deliver ourselves - and our children - a visionary new transport system of which we can all be proud.
"The test is whether we work together putting aside parochial differences - to invest wisely in our nations future.:
Addressing an audience of hundreds gathered at The Great Hall at Parliament House, in Canberra, the Prime Minister paid tribute to the standard of all the consortia;s bids.
"It was impressive that Australians were being offered the latest in rail technologies from around the world," Mr Howard said.
"Transrapid, Inter Capital Express and Capital Rail are to be commended for their professionalism and the quality of their bids."But there can be only one winner."
Mr. Howard said SPEEDRAIL would now move to a "confirmation" process to finalise details with Governments and to undertake necessary environmental processes.
The Prime Minister said SPEEDRAIL was chosen ahead of the competition because:
The project will see construction of new railway stations in the Southern Highlands, at Goulburn and Canberra Airport, and the station at Campbelltown is to be refurbished.
In Sydney, SPEEDRAIL will use the East Hills and New Southern Railway track, providing a direct link to Sydney Airport.
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