Is it time for Australia to embrace high speed rail?

With the recent Federal Budget committed to enhancing the country's infrastructure, is it time that Australia embraced a major redevelopment such as high speed rail?

A June 30 article from the Australian Financial Review highlighted the differences between these rail systems and the ones currently crossing the nation. Writer, Angus Grigg discussed the positive aspects of his journey on China's equivalent, contrasting it with a trip his sister made from Brisbane to Sydney.

The potential for a high speed rail line to create construction jobs is huge, especially if plans to use the system as a link the country's capital cities get approval.

What does high-speed rail offer?

Mr Grigg described in this particular article how the trip between Shanghai and Beijing – a total distance of around 1,200 km – took just under five hours with only two short stops. To do this, the train sits at an amazing 302 km/h for most of the journey.

The story contrasted this experience with a trip between Brisbane and Sydney. Recently, Mr Grigg's sister made this journey, which is 280 km shorter than the Shanghai to Beijing haul.

Despite this, it took Australia's trains almost 16 hours to ferry passengers from one state to the other, travelling at a measly average of 63 km/h​. The service also experienced delays after hitting a cow on more than one occasion.

Clearly, there is potential for infrastructure investments in these areas to help put Australia on the world map when it comes to long-distance rail travel.

According to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the issue is currently under investigation, with ambitious plans to link Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and nearby regional areas with one high-speed network.

Currently, the various state bodies are in discussions with the Federal Government to address the feasibility of the development. As of 2012, the estimated cost of construction was set at $114 billion, a figure that will demand collaboration from all involved parties.