High Speed Rail 2 – Our readers comment

Last week we published an article about the high speed rail project “UK HS2” (which you can read here) and it struck up quite a discussion in the comments, so we thought we’d take a look at some of them.

David Atkinson has hopes for it to be cancelled, calling it “a vanity project”:

“Far better to make incremental improvements across a range of transport projects than to waste another penny on something designed to get provincial MPs to London a bit quicker.”

Bill Atthetill replied to this with an interesting challenge:

“If you had £50 billion in your back pocket (in Treasury) what would you do with it, to make a difference?”

He listed a few possibilities, including: eradicating child or fuel poverty, investing in another Oxford Street, paying for the education of at least two generations, invest in London (“which has the largest GDP of any capital city in Europe”).

However, John believes public money should be spent in neglected cities instead of London:

“The reason why London is so successful is because of masses of public poured into the city over the past 30 years – especially the transport infrastructure ... It created the ideal environment for the private sector to operate in. It is all based of initially public money.”

Instead, John came up with two other ideas. The first:

“If I had £50bn to spend it would be on building “eco” zero heat homes ... Construction is manpower intensive and do not forget the countless manufacturing industries that supply the materials. The ripple effect is phenomenal.”

The second (he went into a lot of detail, but we’ll try and put his idea into a nutshell):

“In June 2013 a series-hybrid plane (scalable up to 200 seater airliners) flew for the first time, using an engine generator and electric motor. The plane is very quiet and is suitable for inner-city airports.

There are then no rail lines to build, just the cost of very small airports with local metro links. The private sector can purchase the planes and run them and the public sector can build and run the small airports and rail links to them. The cost will be a fraction of the cost of HS2 running into every city centre in every major city. Even far cheaper than the existing ill-conceived super-expensive plan of having just FOUR cities directly served by HS2.

Trevor Black, however, thinks there’s a fairly simple solution:

“When the dosh runs out why not do what the Italians did when constructing motorways to nowhere. Just stop!”

And lastly, Dan managed to get a few laughs out of us, commenting:

“Could we use it to bribe America to keep Piers Morgan? Money well spent in my opinion.”

We'd love to hear more of your opinions, what would you do with $50 billion in Treasury?

First Voice

  1. Chris C:

    Revive plans to reintroduce the Great Central line from London to the East Midlands, etc – originally built to accommodate larger/Contnental trains and would ease congestion on ECML and WCML. Improve cross country rail services. Spend the rest on improving broadband infrastructure and making dangerous roads safer (not the same as faster).

    Who really wants to go to London anyway?

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