Tag Archives: HS2

Hyperloop is not an alternative to HS2

It’s being suggested that Elon Musk’s Hyperloop could be built in the UK anf give journey times from London to Manchester in 18 minutes.

But to suggest that HS2 should be abandoned in favour of a Hyperloop system is clutching-at-straws nonsense from the wingnuts and moonbats who have always opposed HS2 from the beginning.

At the moment Hyperloop is pie-in-the-sky stuff that hasn’t got past the theoretical concept stage. They’ve yet to build a working proof-of-concept prototype, and its viabilty as a mass transportation system is still decades away. In contrast HS2 can and will be built with existing off-the-shelf technology, and can be up and running years before Hyperloop has got beyond experemental toy systems in the Navada desert.

Hyperloop is an interesting concept, but its a long, long way from being ready for prime time. And we will need the extra capacity from HS2 well before that.

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George Osborne’s enthusiastic support of HS2 may just be a case of a stopped clock being right twice a day. Unfortunately Osborne is so discredited and so widely loathed by the majority of the British public that his stance risks undermining public support for the project.

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HS2 – It’s not about speed, it’s about capacity

Intermodal freight on the West Coast Main Line

Good piece in the New Statesman by former Labour transport minister Andrew Adonis on why it would be an act of national self-mutilation to cancel HS2.

For the key justification is not speed but capacity. There will be an acute shortage of transport capacity from the 2020s to convey freight, commuters and other passengers into and between the major conurbations of London, the West Midlands, the East Midlands and South and West Yorkshire. Since there is no viable plan, let alone political will, to build new motorways between these places, or to dramatically increase air traffic between them, this additional capacity must largely be met by rail or Britain will grind to a halt. Rail is, in any case, the most efficient and green mode of transport for mass passenger and freight movements.

He goes on to explain how cancelling HS2 would be as short sighted as the 1970s cancellation of the Channel Tunnel (eventually revived two decades later) and the third London airport at Maplin Sands. The one “big project” that the 1970s Labour government didn’t cancel was the one that did turn into a massive white elephant: Concorde. Britain should not make the same mistake again.

Debates about the benefits of faster journey times to Birmingham, and whether or not business travellers work productively on trains, are beside the point. If the additional capacity is required, it ought to be provided in the most cost-effective manner.

This is something I’ve not seen a single opponent of HS2 address. Yes, there are still points up for debate over the route, such as why it doesn’t join up with HS1.

And like Adonis, I would dismiss that recent anti-HS2 report from the Institute of Economic Affairs. The IEA is a right-wing think tank that has long been anti-rail and pro-road; for them, the private car symbolises personal freedom and individual prosperity, while any form of public transport represents socialistic collectivism. Don’t forget they’re connected with the late Alfred Sherman, the ideological moonbat who wanted to pave over the entire railway network to convert them into roads. They are simply not to be trusted on this issue.

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