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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1269 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

There will be discussions around the route and there will be discussions around where it stops and so on, which is all very good, but it would have been much better had we been able to say, "Yes, we support this choice", as Mr Stanhope has done. I cannot say that because I have no idea why this choice was made. All I can say is that I hope it was the right choice. I would not know, so I cannot compare it.

MR QUINLAN (4.15): Mr Speaker, I reiterate some of the things that were said earlier. This side of the house is equally excited about the prospect of the VFT. On the other hand, we would have very much preferred to have seen the Maglev option considered further, particularly as it represents tomorrow rather than today and because, in the ultimate, it represents far less threat to the environment overall.

Mr Humphries: That is not necessarily the case.

MR QUINLAN: It is not? Apparently, they put fences around the Speedrail but they let the little critters run underneath the Maglev. We certainly endorse the project and hope that it can be brought to fruition. We hope it will not be used by the Federal Government in any way, as the Alice-Darwin train line was used, as a political ploy when the support that had existed before an election all of a sudden evaporated immediately after the election. I notice in the GST tax package that railways, pipelines, et cetera, attract an increase in price of 5.6 per cent. We are very concerned that that 5.6 per cent GST should not accrue to the VFT project because the GST is going into the States and Territories pool. I really cannot see the other States and Territories that are not affected by the VFT supporting the tax break that might otherwise accrue. So, we had better do away with the GST so that we can have our VFT to Canberra. I certainly hope and trust that we get it and we get it soon.

MR BERRY (4.18): The advent of a very high speed train for the ACT will be an extremely important event for this region, and indeed this city. There are some visions, of course, about how this city might perform some sort of a dormitory role for bigger cities to the north and how it might enhance the future of our city. I would like to relate a few experiences that I have had with three different examples of high speed and very high speed trains which I had the opportunity to examine about a year ago. The first was the TGV, the French high speed train. I was able to travel from Waterloo Station to Paris and from Paris to Brussels on that train and later from Paris down to Spain. Fundamentally, the train relies upon the tracks upon which it travels. That is why a new alignment for a very high speed train is very important. For example, when the Eurostar travels in Britain, it travels just as any other train in Britain would, at about 80 kilometres an hour. Essentially, it is not a very fast train anymore. It is restricted, of course, by the lines at stations and protection and security for the track which exists in the United Kingdom. It has to be designed to deal with the various electricity sources which the train uses as a power source and, of course, that varies from place to place. For example, in Britain electrically powered trains use a three-line system and the Eurostar has to deal with that. It has a special provision to pick up its source of electrical energy from the third rail. When it proceeds into France on the high speed line, it switches to a new arrangement where it uses overhead lines. A pantograph goes up, connects with the overhead lines at 25,000 volts, and off it goes at speeds of up to 300 kilometres an hour. Of course, going into the city of Paris it slows down again, and so on.

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