There is currently a global high speed rail explosion with many first world countries expanding or developing high speed rail networks.
This week, the Chinese government awarded a $4 billion contract to build 80 high speed (236 mph maximum) electric train sets for the new 3,700-mile-long high speed train network it is building. Half of the contract went to Bombardier Sifang, a Chinese joint venture with Berlin-based rail giant Bombardier Transportation. The company will begin delivering the trains in 2012 and finish by 2014— boom, done.
Russia is taking the plunge into high speed rail as well, spending nearly $1.5 billion to upgrade 401 miles of track between Moscow and downtown St. Petersburg, and buy eight electric Sapsan trains made by German conglomerate Siemens (ETR: SIE) with a top operating speed of 217 mph. Four runs a day will make the trip in less than four hours, compared with an average five hours to make the trip by airplane, including the time wasted getting to and from the airport and running the check-in and security gauntlets.
France already has the wonderful 200 mph high speed TGV network, with 1,100 miles of track, more than 400 trains, and the third-highest ranking of rail passengers per year, behind Switzerland and Japan.
Perhaps the population in WA does not warrant a high speed rail network just yet but as we expand our population along the coast between Kununurra and Albany we should expect to see a high speed rail network emerge as the longest single high speed rail network on the planet. The potential for powering the network with clean energy sources such as solar, wind, wave & geothermal is a reality too.