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This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

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Failing to do Arithmetic

I've created a blog article on the lack of numeracy amongst high-speed train fantasists obsessed with spending other people's money at A Bullet for Canberra.

It's a pseudo-political movement engaging social media sites (lots of Farceboek), promoting their cause. They want seats in territorial government which, with SIFs will result in huge public debts and destruction, should they gain a seat.

Their "plan" included the purchase of 80 high-speed train sets to run the distance between Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. A huge capital outlay; serving a catchment of about 10 million people. For comparison, Germany has trouble keeping about 35 ICE trains running, providing for the needs of 80 million Germans in a catchment area one third of the size.

Amazingly; they expect private industry to fund it.

There is almost no suitable track infrastructure in place for the proposal... and coal-fired power stations are being shut down due to taxes and CO2 "efficiency" regulations, so no reliable electricity supply within the medium to long term.

Re: Failing to do Arithmetic

Germany actually has over 200 ICE train sets, not 35. That's also an underestimate of service availability as a lot of the international services are provided by neighbouring countries high-speed trains. DB sends lots of ICEs on services to Switzerland and Denmark but not so much France and Belgium. It's not unusual to take a seat on a Thalys or SNCF TGV for a domestic trip within Germany.

The problems in keeping them running are pretty much limited to air conditioning breakdowns (someone didn't realise that the temperature here exceeds 30°C most summers).

They also run at pretty much full capacity most of the time and are the only part of the rail service that receives no direct public subsidy. It's a popular and generally functional service.

You are welcome to some ICE-1 at knock-down price in a few years when they get decomissioned, no need to buy your own brand spankers. Alternatively please take Eurostar's increasingly-decrepit rolling stock off their hands so they can build something with comfortable seats.