Friday, January 06, 2012

HS2 is insane - but then so's much of govt policy

I've had a great trip with my kids down to Montpelier on Eurostar and a double deck TGV. The SNCF train was better than the ageing Eurostar. There was room to move about - even with a sofa area at the end of the carriage for those who can't last 5 secs without making mobile phone calls.

The kids loved it. It took slightly longer than the flight, but thanks to the French tax payer and their recognition of cheaper fairs for children it was far cheaper (for me) than flying ( all the cheap Easy Jet tickets having gone ). Very civilised.

So don't get me wrong - I loved it.

But the current plan for high speed rail is insane. There is no ( repeat no) need for the HS link to Birmingham. Maybe Leeds or Manchester could try to make a case ( undermined by trains that have to divert via Birmingham and probably stop there ), but it would be very marginal.

Who benefits ?

Well mostly MPs and civil servants who get back and forth a bit quicker and won't have to pay. This won't be a peoples transport system anymore than Concorde was. (At least not unless you take into account paying for it ;-) ). It will ensure that MPs and civil servants don't give a monkey's about the trains that run from Euston and Kings Cross north.

In Spain they found the High Speed rail pulled more companies into Madrid away from the centre, 180' opposite of the apparent objective here.

This is one of those high prestige monument building projects like the Sheffield or Edinburgh tram systems.

Its not needed, and paying for it will ensure the railways that tax payers used are neglected.

If you want to help the economy don't put down a high speed rail track - build a new motorway. ( Run it through the Chilterns if you must ). That would make sense. The M1, M6,M40 can't take the strain and we know more motorway capacity will lead to better regional growth and economic prosperity.

But the naked self interest groups won't like it.

So I'm guessing we will end up borrowing more billions from our children to waste building something that will actually hurt the country and destroy the regions.

What's needed is a new motorway - why does no one campaign for that ? ( Oh yes I bet the MPs concerned - except perhaps Chris Huhne MP who's a alleged user of motorways - prefer first class rail. )

PS If you move the 2 one character to the left you get a gas that's 25% as toxic as Hydrogen Cyanide ... H2S.


James Higham said...

I took a 1st class Eurail and used it to the full - it was fabulous and many was the time it was better in second - the company and more room. glad you enjoyed it. If rail wasn't so dear over here, I'd do more of it.

Wyrdtimes said...

More folly from the UK parliament. I despise the institution and its inmates.

Don't forget to add the Barnett Bribe consequentials to the bill.