As airlines around the world face increasing competition from superfast train services for short-range travel, an Australian firm has thrown its thinking-cap into the ring with a bullet-train capable of hurtling between cities at up to 400 kilometres per hour – that's almost 250 mph in the old currency.
Created by Melbourne branch of Australian design firm Hassell, the futuristic concept comes ahead of the Federal Government's release in July of a $20 million feasibility study into a national high-speed rail network.
Dubbed the Australian High Speed Vehicle or A-HSV, in a nod to Australia's iconic Holden Monaro HSV high-performance car, running at top speeds on a purpose-built dedicated track the train could sprint between Sydney and Melbourne (which happens to be the world's fourth busiest air route) in less than three hours.
Hassell's out-there imaginings go well beyond the conventional dining car to a convenience store. The double-decker carriages adopt a modern and spacious open-plan design for passengers, along with private berths for business meetings or those who just want to work without interruption.
That said, it reminds us of the spacious lounge areas, bars and even in-flight gyms originally planned for the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 before the commercial reality of fitting a maximum number of bums on seats took hold.
So let's not hold our breath on any government having the sense to invest in high-speed rail to begin with, let alone the end product in some 10+ years' time looking much like these pretty pictures. But as far as pictures go, they're very pretty indeed... as is this two-minute video clip produced by Hassell to showcase their concept train.