Rail infrastructure development as an instrument of greenhouse strategy: e.g. The proposed 'GATR' network

Actions to reduce the production of greenhouse gases in a bid to stem the adverse effects of climate change are becoming important elements of government policy. Transport is a major user of energy in Australia, most of that produces high levels of greenhouse gases. Adjusting the transport system to minimise greenhouse gas production while still fostering economic development should therefore be a major instrument of government policy. The most dramatic reduction of transport energy usage can be brought about by changing to modes with high energy efficiency. Rail is typically the lowest energy consumer per tonne kilometre yet it under-performs in Australia. One reason is that in the busiest corridors rail routes have not been upgraded like road routes have, so their mode share is falling. Current approaches to rail upgrading, which tends to mean putting good track on bad alignment in yesterday's network, would keep rail in a competitively weak position because there will be too many classes of freight for which road remains the preferred land transport option. A bold new approach is needed to rail investment. Its optimising function would include maximum mode shift to rail, minimum rail greenhouse emissions, and minimum above- and below-rail capital outlay. An example of this approach is the GATR (Great Australian Trunk Railway) proposal for a trunk rail network which is optimally located and built both to serve the largest general transport tasks and to operate without speed restrictions. A new Melbourne-Brisbane inland route is its main new element. ARA is urged to promote this approach in its future submissions, on the basis that this is the best way to minimise greenhouse effects in the transport industry while promoting economic development.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 9p.
  • Monograph Title: AusRAIL PLUS 2008, capacity, climate & culture, 1-2 December 2008, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01516833
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 4 2014 7:54PM