Historically, the rail freight system was extremely important for the development of the national economy of the UK and Australia. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the development of the rail freight system contributed to the accelerated economic development of both Great Britain and Australia. Today, the rail freight system still plays an important part in the economic development of both the UK and Australia, although national rail freight systems have changed consistently since their foundation.
The development of the rail freight system in the UK and Australia was closely intertwined with the emergence of national economies but, at first, the rail freight system of Australia was oriented on the transportation of products that were exported from Australia to other countries of the world, especially the UK. In this regard, the UK rail freight system was similar to the Australian one because, it also needed to facilitate the delivery of products from England to the main ports of the country to export goods abroad. However, in the course of time, as Australia grew more independent of the UK, the national freight system has started to develop internally connecting remote areas of Australia together closely that contributed to the accelerated economic growth of Australia. In fact, the rail freight system has a positive impact on the economic development of both the UK and Australia.
However, the rail freight system in the UK is consistently smaller in terms of the distance covered by trains to transport goods, although the British rail freight system is one of the densest in the world and holds the 16th place among the world rail freight systems. In terms of the density, the UK rail freight system resembles the Australian one only partially because the high density of the rail freight system is typical for the East coast of Australia, whereas the central and western part of the country are not covered densely by the national rail freight system. At the same time, the national rail freight system of Australia is clearly divided in regions, which are more distinct than in the UK, where the physical characteristics make the separation on different region, such as Welsh region, rather conditional, while in Australia, regions cover huge territory. In such a situation, the infrastructure of the UK rail freight system is denser compared to the Australian one. On the other hand, the national rail freight systems of the UK and Australia are well-developed and link together different regions of the country maintaining the transportation of goods throughout the countries, while today, a large part of goods is still directed to ports to export them to other countries. However, it is worth mentioning the fact that the UK has started the close integration into the European rail freight system. For this purpose the Channel Tunnel was open in 1994 to connect the UK and the continent (Kaminski, 1999). In such a way, the UK rail freight system becomes closely integrated within the European rail freight system, whereas the Australian rail freight system still remains bound to national frontiers, whereas its connection to other countries is physically extremely difficult, if not to say impossible.
Today, the accessibility of the UK and Australian rail freight systems is very important for the development of the national economies and their progress. In this regard, both the UK and Australian rail freight systems are private and they operate effectively (Stopford, 1997). The rail freight systems are available to customers and provide their services to customers en masse. The rail freight systems provide ample opportunities for customers to use rail freight systems in the UK and Australia. In addition, today, rail freight systems of the UK and Australia develop online services, which can make rail freight systems’ services more available to customers and facilitate the development of the positive relations with customers.
In addition, the introduction of new technologies make rail freight systems of Australia and the UK flexible, but the UK rail freight system is more flexible due to the denser network and smaller territory, whereas for the Australian rail freight system it is more difficult to provide services to customers.
At the same time, today, both the UK and Australian rail freight systems are focused on the sustainable development. The public in the UK and Australia grows more and more concerned with environmental issues. As a result, rail freight systems of the UK and Australia has to introduce new technologies, which aim at the wider use of electricity and alternative fuels instead of fossil fuel. In such a way, rail freight systems of the UK and Australia attempt to become safe for the environment.
Thus, in conclusion, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the development of rail freight systems of the UK and Australia was closely intertwined but the physical differences between the countries determine the difference in national rail freight systems. Today, the UK rail freight system is closely integrated into the European one, whereas the Australian rail freight system still remains oriented on the national market.
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