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A National Passenger Rail Operator

A detailed analysis and plan to introduce a national rail operator to provide progressively improved passenger services on long-distance routes as a national high speed rail network is rolled out.


Australia’s interstate passenger trains (other than tourist trains) are a national disgrace. Our State-based operators have no incentive to do better.  Meanwhile rail services internationally are being rejuvenated by high-speed rail, tilt trains, low carbon trains and new sleeper train services.

A National Passenger Rail Operator is needed to introduce new and faster services between Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, utilising these new developments.

The full HSR network will take decades, But we can start improvements now:

  • The first stage is to introduce fast hybrid tilt trains and comfortable overnight

  • Once the first high speed line (e.g. Sydney – Newcastle or Sydney – Canberra) is completed, full high-speed trains can be introduced, travelling at up to 320 km/hr.

  • As longer routes are completed and traffic builds up, double-deck high speed trains can be introduced to increase capacity as well as speed.

The National Passenger Rail Operator should:

  • Specify and own the new trains , which typically have a lifespan of 40 years

  • Contract the service provision to a highly qualified private operator

  • Develop a National Rail Services and Rollingstock Plan

  • Co-ordinate the cascading of State-Government-owned rollingstock from interstate rail services to improve regional rail services.

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