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Water, Climate...and a Transport System for the 21 st Century (The short version) BG Urban Solutions

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Presentation on theme: "Water, Climate...and a Transport System for the 21 st Century (The short version) BG Urban Solutions"— Presentation transcript:

1 Water, Climate...and a Transport System for the 21 st Century (The short version) BG Urban Solutions

2 Do you think Nature is trying to tell us something? –Black Saturday Bushfires (2009) –La Nina’s back in town (western Pacific at least) –Queensland’s 2011 “Summer of Disaster” –Lake Eyre and The Coorong have inflows again, two years in a row! –Does it really matter, precisely, whether the historic or expected increase in extreme weather happens every two, ten or twenty years? –We need a plan and infrastructure design for the next century, that can cope with anything, no longer based on “she’ll be right, for now”?

3 Do you think we should take the hint that we live in a land of drought and flooding rains? If we want to be practical about Climate Change, best to be less vulnerable to floods...

4 Do you think we should be taking the lead set by earlier generations, who achieved great things with much less? -Photo with permission Stephanie Jackson: Railway Bridge at Gundagai

5 ...then there’s Peak Oil If we want to be practical about Peak Oil, best lose our addiction to petrol based transport...and leave the rest of the world to fight over the last three barrels of oil! (Oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico at sunset. Photo: Larry Lee/Corbis)

6 Then there’s drought and extreme heat: a Sunburnt Country

7 The High Cost of Train Derailments (Social Planner as Economic rationalist!) Difficult to confirm annual cost of rail derailments across Australia. Australasian Railway Association (ARA)? Australian transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)? Bureau of Transport & Regional Economics (BTRE)? QR National? Most recent national data on cost of rail derailments appears to be that compiled by BTRE - Rail Accident Costs in Australia (BTRE, 2002). Table 4.4, page 44 of this report, for the year 1999, shows a total cost for Australia of $29.3m. QR National Annual Maintenance Cost Report for 2010/2011 provides a tally of $5.6m for the financial year, for derailment repair costs to five sections of the Goonyella and Blackwater lines in central Qld. (QR National, October 2011)


9 Time for some proper cost – benefit assessment, or else we’re condemned to Einstein’s definition of insanity! Einstein’s def’n of Insanity: Keep doing exactly the same thing and expecting a different result! Below: “Widespread damage to Queensland's rail lines from January's floods… The rains damaged 3800 kilometres of the state's rail network, initially affecting an area stretching from Emerald …to Cairns, … to Quilpie. ” 14:49 AEDT Sun Mar 13 2011 p.s. Did “the Feds” really give Qld $5.6 Billion to rebuild roads and rail in exactly the same place?

10 Introducing Self-powered, solar powered rail – Prov. Patent #2012901019 aka “Ethel and O’Malley’s Dream” Mitigation of Greenhouse Emissions & Adaptation to Climate Change Acknowledgement: there’s absolutely nothing inventive about solar power, or electric rail. Rather, the innovation lies in the shape – design maximises solar access across hemispheres and latitudes. Note: Design accommodates either conventional panels or new solar cell/skin. See: power-producers/533918.aspx?utm_source=20120328&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletters A network of modular structures to generate and distribute power, as well as protect the tracks from extreme heat from the sun, from mid morning to mid and late afternoon. Design also minimises coal dust escape, prevents “train-surfing” by leaving no space to do so.

11 Hang on: Who’s Ethel and who the heck’s O’Malley? O’Malley: Only one of the founding fathers of Canberra, amongst the most persistent advocates of a Trans – Australian Railway, as one of first Ministers in one of first Australian Federal Parliaments, who would never have made it without the kindness of Coowonga and the health giving breezes of Emu Park c 1880s

12 Introducing Ethel, who in 1995 insisted on train to Longreach: After her husband rolled the car on the first night of their honeymoon (1948) Ethel was never a fan of car travel, hence the trip on Spirit of Outback which, due to the state of the rail track, often crawled at 30kph west of Emerald!

13 Solar panel positions for East West route, South of Tropic of Capricorn, e.g. Melbourne to Perth.

14 Solar positions for East West routes, North of the Tropic of Capricorn, e.g. Townsville to Mt Isa…to Tennant Ck? Alternative, clean and green route for coal exports from Bowen and Galilee Basins, via Longreach, Mt Isa to Darwin – thus safeguarding the Great Barrier Reef.

15 Solar panel positions for North-South orientation e.g. Adelaide - Darwin or, potential, links such as Canberra - Townsville via regional centres of Forbes, Dubbo, Charleville, Emerald and Clermont.

16 Perspective view of Open Modular Section to facilitate coal or grain loading: Remembering economic, env’tl and social benefits of rail over road freight

17 Wind Turbine* (indicative design only) feeding electricity into the Rail Grid - potentially National Grid too. (*or geo-thermal inputs where avail.)

18 Map illustrating existing regional rail network in Australia (Design can apply to metro-rail network too) Note: Time to plan across State boundaries: Need for an integrated Strategic Land Use, Social, Energy and Defence Plan for whole of Australia

19 “Australia Lags in High Speed Rail”...The Age, 16 January 2012 This is not a race but... ' 'Australia is the only continent apart from Antarctica that doesn't have a high-speed rail network,'' (ARA’s chief executive, Brian Nye). ''The time has come.'' Again, in the face of Peak Oil and Climate Change, we can do two things at once!

20 High Speed Rail would be great but.... It needs a solid sturdy track base, issue of quality construction; Derailments not just caused by track alignments at grade across flood plains, or melting metal / metal fatigue: helps enormously if track is laid properly in the first place, which takes competence and a proper budget allocation (I hear Twiggy Forrest is very good at building good sturdy railways!); –“The money spent in Australia on building and maintaining rail infrastructure is appallingly abysmal compared to road funding and this is the prime cause of rails buckling. I have been following the saga of the dreadful job done on converting the Seymour to Albury broad gauge line to standard gauge – there was insufficient funds and so the job was done on the cheap and now the line is riddled with mud holes and speed restrictions – this on our most important interstate rail line.” (Trusted ‘sounding board’, rail expert and esteemed Victorian strategic planner #3) And also: ABC TV 7.30 Report 6, 7 April 2011:

21 High Speed Rail would be great..... High speed, solar powered rail is a feasible alternative for a century facing Climate Change and Peak Oil, for vast sundrenched continents like Australia, China, India, Spain, especially given associated volatility of price and supply issues for oil and the broader economic and socio-political consequences that will come from that; Yes, High Speed Rail (HSR) will be “astronomically expensive!” : However... – it’s not just about cost, it’s about measuring the Cost : Benefit ratio, compared to the alternatives –And how do we know “it’s too expensive” if we don’t even have good data on the current cost of derailments...and current and future energy cost? –It’s also “astronomically expensive” to keep bailing out State governments who keep rebuilding railway lines across floodplains: “false economy” to think we can’t afford “more expensive” bridges and routes above flood plains rather than through them.

22 High Speed Rail: Who’s going to pay for it? Well, at present, we are / have wasted $billions Probably a good idea but where was the Cost benefit assessment of the NBN? Cost and implementation (debacles) of MYKI for Melbourne? Cost of Desalination Plants that are now left idle? Savings from Afghan Retreat and expensive submarines...and...ahem...all those taxi vouchers? Opportunity cost of not switching economy and transport systems to solar rail? Mining Tax + Carbon Tax + Public and Private Sector investment Coincidence with new rail infrastructure for coal freight anyway, could invest in regional strategic planning and population growth. Other advantages : JOBs, safeguarding Australian Manufacturing industry.

23 A word on water resource mgt – lessons from expensive follies “ Water revolution would turn roof-tops into catchments” (The Age, 23/4/12) “MELBURNIANS face the biggest overhaul in the supply of household water in decades with a new plan to change the cost of water and where it comes from. A ministerial advisory council report ….recommends dramatically altering the city's approach to water including … "As much water falls on Melbourne as we actually use... Why on earth are we allowing all of that to go straight down the drain and into the bay?“ Finally, we have some sense: while some used to laugh at the role rainwater tanks could play in metro water mgt.... Victoria, at least, now “ gets” that it makes more ecological and financial sense to harvest from all commercial, industrial and residential roof tops: –save money, save and redirect to ground all that rain water (thus preserving moisture content of the soil, pre- requisite for making rain and safeguarding building foundations) and prevents pollution being washed into the bay – What’s not to like about all that? Why was it so hard to work out? –If you take an ecological approach, not an engineering one, could have saved all those $billions on desal plants!

24 High Speed Rail: Like water, the community is ahead of the policy makers Railing for better way MOST of Annabel Crabb's totally justified complaints against air travel in Australia have an antidote - High Speed Rail (HSR). HSR would offer a CBD-to-CBD journey as fast as air. It would also provide: larger seats, all with a window view; baggage stored inside your carriage; catering options; real human-size toilets; and Wi-Fi and laptop charging at all seats. The East Coast HSR project - Melbourne-Canberra-Newcastle-Brisbane - should get Annabel's wholehearted support. JOHN McPHERSON, Collingwood

25 Sometimes wonder: Have we gone soft? Lost the plot? Become a shadow of our grandparents’ fortitude and foresight?

26 Who will be the Next King O’Malley? Time for a new Legend for a new century – Advocate for a solar powered, high speed Trans Australian Railway!

27 Thanks and Acknowledgements Chris Bird, Allens Arthur Robinson Ben Mott, Wadesons Otto Molnar, Patent and Design Drawings Marcus Spiller, SGS Economics and Planning Engineers Australia

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