Tuesday, 10 January 2012

High speed rant


I find the proposal for the new high speed railway link between London and Birmingham quite breathtaking. We are in crisis; school and hospitals are desperate for funds; and if it's trains we're talking about, in our neck of the woods it would be nice even to be guaranteed a seat, never mind a clean carriage and a punctual train. But no matter. Those lucky (relatively) few who want to whizz from London to Birmingham (in less time that it takes to have root canal treatment) may soon be able to do so. In clean new carriages. Sitting down. In comfort.

How large a percentage of the population are actually going to want to take advantage of the link? It connects just two cities. Personally, I shall probably never need to travel (extremely fast, or even slowly) between London and Birmingham. At a time when it's never been easier to work on a train (even our humble, dirty, overcrowded trains have intenet links. If you can get at them), why the hurry? And then there's the destruction of the contryside, too, but since when have we ever cared about that?

As for the billions being spent on just the opening ceremony for the Olympics...

I think I need to go and lie down in a darkened room.

9 comments:

  1. Problem with such prestigious projects is: if the money is not spent on them, it won't go into social housing, school improvements or any other such worthy cause. It will simply go elsewhere, where it makes even less sense.
    And as far as protection of the countryside goes... I think the UK is still, all things considered, doing tons better in that area than Germany, where cars are holy.

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  2. I agree with you, Frances. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard about this. I think it's a kind of showing-off thing, to the international community. As you say, if only the ordinary railways could be improved instead!

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  3. It just proves - yet again - that this government doesn't take climate change seriously. The only reason for this rail line is to boost economic growth (according to some politician on R4 this morning) and the one thing we need to avoid if we're serious about global warming is growth which depends on the carbon economy.
    So we can buy green light bulbs and insulate our houses and try til we're blue in the face to reduce our own carbon footprint and the government basically couldn't give a ****.
    Cross? Way beyond cross and out into despair.

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  4. I'm sure if it were put to the vote, the majority would think like you do Frances. But we have to go along with the powers that be and just hope they get it right. I wonder what the headlines will be in 2015 when it's built and has cost us so much more than we budgeted for. The same debate went on before the Channel Tunnel, but would we be without it now?

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  5. I think you're onto something with your proposal for high speed root canals:) Birmingham must be a mecca for something? Do such trains reduce cars/roads/pollution etc. to balance the equation?

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  6. I'd expect nothing less, Teresa!

    Librarian, perhaps you're right...

    Good for you, Olivia!

    Another very good point, Alis.

    Maggie, another good point. Of COURSE it will cost more. It always does.

    English Rider, perhaps we could run creative writing courses/groups on trains as well as the root canal thing. Throw in a few boob jobs as well. 32A in London becomes 38D by the time we reach Birmingham. (Only they'd have to be very, very quick.)

    Thanks, Gail!

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  7. When my home town municipal government decided to spend billions on overpasses, so that commuters could get home faster, I felt the same way. Schools were, and are, struggling to raise funds through such disparate ways as casinos (!) and bake sales, and hospitals were pleading for better equipment. How does a bridge rank higher than that??

    Laughed out loud at your reply to English Rider!

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