Sydney-Canberra Rail Connectivity and Capacity - Latest News and Updates


Priority Status: Priority Initiative

Inter-State Initiative

Cities affected: Sydney to Canberra

Sydney-Canberra rail connectivity and capacity Project Plan

  • Project Type: Rail
  • Length of Job: 320 km

Sydney-Canberra rail connectivity and capacity Construction Details

This initiative centres on improvements that will facilitate a quicker Sydney to Canberra rail service. With current service time running at over 4 hours travel time by rail, a very small proportion of those transiting between the cities chooses to travel by train. The upgrades would aim to improve the overall experience for travellers, offer an efficient alternative to car and air travel and improve efficiency of passenger movements between Sydney and Canberra. The various improvement methods may include the following:

  • upgrades to signals and electrics
  • replication and straightening of existing tracks
  • additional train stock
  • improvements to existing track-work

Co-ordination across key stakeholders will be pivotal to the success of this initiative, as the Federal Government, NSW and ACT governments and the Australian Rail Track Corporation will be required to participate. With the preservation of a corridor for an east coast high speed rail line being earmarked as a High Priority Initiative on the Infrastructure Priority List, it would be prudent for the Sydney - Canberra project to consider high speed rail integration for the future.

Sydney-Canberra rail connectivity and capacity Jobs & Community Plan

While an important regional transport route, the Canberra to Sydney corridor is not operating at the level of efficiency that it needs to. Hampered by old infrastructure, the requirement of track sharing between passenger and freight services and difficult geographical terrain, travellers currently experience lengthy journey times due to slow train speeds. By way of comparison, current rail travel time for the 320km Sydney - Canberra service is over four hours, while air travel is approximately 1 hour and car travel approximately 3 hours. This leads to the use of the rail service being severely under-indexed with around only 1% of people electing to travel between the cities by train. With a projected population growth rate of Sydney and Canberra of 1.5% per annum through to 2036, an improved rail service will offer more travel options for people, improve reliability of travel time and reduce the pressure on the road and air network between the cities.

Sydney-Canberra rail connectivity and capacity Upgrade Timeline

Sydney-Canberra rail connectivity and capacity - Timeframe: 0-5 years.



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