Bid for fast trains linking regional WA with Perth

Fast trains connecting Western Australia's regional cities to Perth and each other are part of a bold rail concept submitted to state planners.

Key points:A concept plan for 180kph fast trains linking regional WA with Perth has been submitted to Infrastructure WA.The plan was developed by Kevin McQuoid who says it would help deal with forecast regional population booms.A sustainability expert says the idea has potential.

The "rapid rail network" concept, which would stretch from Geraldton to Esperance with stops in major cities and small regional towns, has been submitted to Infrastructure WA by former PR executive, teacher at Edith Cowan University and self-declared "railway obsessive" Kevin McQuoid.

Under the plan, the trains able to travel up to 180 kilometres per hour could deliver passengers from Bunbury to Perth in under an hour along the Forrest Highway corridor.

Thousands of kilometres of railways would link the Midwest, metropolitan Perth, South West, Great Southern, southern Wheatbelt and southern Goldfields.

Mr McQuoid told the ABC's WA Regional Drive program a paper on metropolitan rail he published a decade ago was the inspiration for the state government's Metronet plan.

The concept plan for a rapid rail network in southern regional WA.
The concept plan for a rapid rail network in southern regional WA.(Supplied: Kevin McQuoid)

He said the idea would be an extension of Metronet into regional WA and should be built ahead of forecast population growth in the regions.

"My sole purpose is to seed this idea, which I believe is years decades overdue in the regions, and a lot of people in the regions also believe that," he said.

"I'm handing on the baton to the people in the regions if they get behind hit. They're the ones that can drive it."

Albany train 001
The Albany passenger service ceased in 1978.(Supplied: WA Museum)

Mr McQuoid said WA was built around an automobile culture.

"One of the problems is that Perth is getting so much bigger. When country people get to the edge of the metro area, it becomes a battle," he said.

"I used to live in the Darling Range. Coming to Perth, you had to pick the times because it's difficult to get around."

It comes amid a bid by some Great Southern local governments to reopen the former passenger service from Albany to Perth, which closed in 1978. Currently, the route is now solely used for freight. 

Fast rail is a better option

Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University Peter Newman
Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University Peter Newman says WA's fast-growing economy makes the fast train idea more likely.(ABC News: Laura Gartry)

Curtin University sustainability expert Peter Newman said the rapid rail network idea would make travel much quicker to Perth than using the existing freight network.

"I went on it before it closed in 1978, and it was an overnight trip," he said.

"The way through Bunbury is quicker. I would think it would have other freight benefits as well.

"The opportunity for creating it in WA is more likely because we're going to have a very fast-growing regional economy."

The state government is investigating a fast rail link from Perth to Bunbury, with a spokesperson for WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti confirming $8 million is to be spent on viability studies over the next three years.

"The outcomes of this work will help inform government around potential timing and priorities for further investigations and provide guidance about when such a significant initiative may be warranted," the spokesperson said.

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Posted 9 Nov 20219 Nov 2021Tue 9 Nov 2021 at 9:13pmShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsApp


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