Long-distance rail freight in Australia: towards 2000 - the role of capital investment

The movement of general freight over distances longer than around 500 kilometres is commonly regarded as the type of business which an efficient and customer driven rail system should be able to handle profitably. Such freight movements are also considered suited to rail from a national economic perspective. This is mainly due to the additional externalities imposed by road based heavy vehicles, particularly in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and accidents. This paper is divided into two main sections. The first examines the role which capital investment can play in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of long-distance rail freight in Australia. The main areas of track upgrading, rolling stock requirements, modernisation of terminals, and information systems development, are discussed in the context of future capital requirements. The second part of the paper develops the theme of an appropriate appraisal methodology to be adopted for rail capital investment from a national perspective. The main issues identified and discussed include: the unique position of rail systems as owners of the `right-of-way'; quantification of benefits (eg. `double-counting' dangers, interactions between inter-related projects; elasticities of demand with respect to transit times, reliability and price); economic versus financial evaluation; and consistency with road appraisal techniques.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 683-92
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 18
    • Issue Number: Part 2

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01434004
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • ISBN: 0646154206
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2012 5:59PM