Trains running on a high-speed rail network would be louder than a jackhammer, federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says.
The second stage of a government report into the feasibility of a network along Australia's east coast is due to be released before the May 14 budget.
Mr Albanese says high-speed rail required a wide corridor, major tunnelling and would have significant noise impacts.
That is the equivalent of a hand drill or slightly louder than a jackhammer.
Mr Albanese said trains would travel at 350 km/h on a proposed 1750km network from Melbourne to Brisbane.
The network would require 144km of tunnels, with most in Sydney.
"(It) is the only way a high-speed rail network can be built through a city such as Sydney," he said.
"And that's before we consider the significant economic costs.
"I predict that when I release the high-speed rail study in coming months, some of the strongest opposition to the reality that such an ambitious proposal represents, will be from those who embrace the abstract idea of high-speed rail."
Some estimates for a high-speed rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane run as high as $20 billion.
But Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt is not optimistic about high-speed rail being built by a Labor government, noting Australia and Antarctica were the two continents without such a facility.
"I worry if it is up to Labor, the penguins are going to beat us to it," he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.
The first study, released in July 2011, found a high-speed rail line would cost between $61 billion and $108 billion.