Why we need a bullet train BY Benny Mac

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For my debut opinion article for The Situation, I will dissect the most important issue that gets overlooked and underrated, for not just the Hume region but the entire East Coast of Australia: the need for a high speed train service.

Living in Shepparton for most of my life, I have many times car pooled to Melbourne for a vast range of events, from family to social, sporting, and everything in-between, and I know I’m not alone in my endeavours.

The timeline of passenger rail services in Shepparton has only deteriorated over the years, and the gesture of an early morning timetabling schedule is a band-aid fix I couldn’t care less for. The rolling stock service of outdated trains and carriages used on the outdated tracks have been superseded in every other region in Victoria, and I am intrigued to know if we have the oldest trains in the country. Last time I went to the Shepp Station, I thought I was visiting the Shepparton Historical Museum. I will give them partial credit for having a digital clock tacked on the front that implies to Shepparton “Welcome to the 21st Century.” Shame it doesn’t count down till we get a bullet train.

Our so called Infrastructure Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has not constructed anything besides his own downfall. Now would be the time to show some spine in his smugglers and commit to a project that would invest in technology, jobs, and the environment all in one swoop; or is that forward thinking to high speed for our PM? Now I remember asking Santa last Christmas for a Maglev, a Magnetic Levitation Train capable of hitting speeds of up to 500km/h.Yes, I know, unrealistic, but I like to dream, and Santa knows I haven’t been that good anyway.

The list of reasons I believe Australia could benefit from ascertaining a train of such velocity stretches longer than Tony’s porky promises. House prices would soar through the corridor, as metropolitan house prices are already plateauing buyers out of the market, and the follow on effect would create investment in regional areas. Anyone that lives along the corridor could get to major cities and capitals in less than half the time, whether it be for work or pleasure, I know that I love getting to my holiday destinations as quickly and simply as possible.

A benefit that nobody can put a price on is lowering the annual road toll. Reducing the number of cars on the road by having a high speed train reduces fatalities on the road, and although fatalities can happen on the track, I will advise my readers that Japan’s high speed train has not had a single fatality since 1964, with over 10 billion passengers. No, Australia won’t get those kind of numbers coming through the gates, but is Australia satisfied being the only continent besides Antarctica to not have a high speed train? I know I for one am not.

For the immediate term, the very least I would like to see is an hourly service to link up Shepparton with Seymour’s hourly shuttle to Southern Cross Station, at least for a trial period to gauge passenger interest.

So where to from here, you ask? Well, liking the “Bullet Train for Shepparton” page on Facebook further spreads the need for it, and like any good plague, infection is essential. And when the choice for voting at the Federal Election comes around again, instead of voting for the rabble we’ve endured the past nine years, VOTE ONE BULLET TRAIN FOR AUSTRALIA!

Details about high speed rail can be found at www.bullettrainforaustralia.com.au

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