Imagine travelling from Wilton to Canberra in just 20 minutes.
If innovative planners CLARA get their way, this won’t be a dream but a reality.
The consortium – Consolidated Land and Rail Australia – has a proposal which would see a high-speed rail line link eight interconnected ‘smart’ cities between Sydney and Melbourne.
They hope one of those cities will be greater Wilton.
Community stakeholder manager Geoff Kettle recently met with Wollondilly Council to discuss CLARA’s “ambitious, nation-building” plan.
“It will be revolutionary,” he said.
“I am meeting with all councils along the line – I’ve already met with Goulburn, Wingecarribee and Yass and will meet with Camden next week.
“This train and cities plan would mean people could live in the country and still work in the city.
“You don’t have to live in one of the smart cities to feel the benefits.”
The train line would start in Sydney – whether it starts at Central, Badgerys Creek or somewhere else is still being discussed – stop at Wilton, pass through the Southern Highlands, stop at Canberra and continue south through Wagga Wagga, Albury and on to Melbourne.
Mr Kettle said the plan would be privately funded by the collection of individuals behind CLARA and investors from Asia, the US and other overseas countries.
He said there would be no need for government investment.
What is required, however, is support from councils, states and the federal government.
Mr Kettle is pleased with the level of support that has been received so far.
“There are lots of people excited by this,” he said.
“Though you also have your sceptics, people who don’t want to live in modern cities.”
Wollondilly mayor Judy Hannan said the high-speed rail would be a great move for the shire.
“It’s a very exciting prospect,” Cr Hannan said.
“Wilton would be placed in a pivotal position – people would only have to travel 20 minutes to get to Canberra.”
Mr Kettle said the “population decentralisation strategy” of the smart cities would relieve pressure from major cities, which could not cope with the projected Australian population boom.
He said there were ideas to make the cities “carless” and “driverless technology” was also being explored.
He said the train line would be built at a six-metre elevation and would have little impact on the landscape.
CLARA staff hope to see construction begin on the first stretch of rail – between Melbourne and Shepparton – by 2021.
The organisation is still determining exactly which high-speed rail design would be best, but are looking closely at networks in France, Japan and China.
For further information on CLARA’s plans visit clara.com.au.