British High Speed Rail? – Or a better railway for Britain

Editor’s note: I personally and professionally am quite happy to continue to bash the feckless and  ill-gotten British High Speed Rail (“HS2”) proposal and its variants that we and others have discussed in these pages previously at http://wp.me/psKUY-1lg.  It is such a juicy target of avarice, gross incompetence and intellectual laziness. One has to ask oneself what do the cheering advocates have in mind — not only those in the industry and other interests that will benefit largely from this railroading (!?!) of hard earned taxpayer money, but also in the three main political parties who have lined up most irresponsibly to support the proposal. If only they could turn back the clock and it were 1965 — and Britain were France, or 1990 and they were Taiwan, or anytime they chose and Chinese, then they might have a decent shot at it. Continue reading

Support for High Speed Rail in Britain

Strange as it may seem when you do the basic arithmetic, there is strong support from the three main political parties in the UK for the HSR proposal, and if our first article in this series argues that the reasoning behind it is heavily flawed, it is important in these matters to present the arguments of those who may not agree. Here you have some extensive extracts from a group, Greengauge 21, that have aggressively argued for the HSR proposal. We leave it to your attention. Beyond what you see here they have a more detailed leaflet outlining their arguments which you can have here – “HS2 — why the critics are wrong“. And once again, we welcome your comments. Continue reading

UK High Speed Rail: Going very fast in the wrong direction

In the field of transport, no matter how straight-forward the issues may seem to be to the busy citizen, merchant, reporter or policy maker, when it comes to making wise policy it really does take a certain level of time and attention to detail to come to grips with the underlying issues and priorities that shape the outcomes. The awful conundrum encumbering the mobility issues of our new century from a policy perspective is that just about everything turns out upon study to be unobligingly complex, interdependent, complicated and time lagged – no matter how simple it may appear to be on the surface. In the article that follows, the authors  have a go at a lot of the too-easy thinking that is the main currency of the High Speed Rail discussions in places like Britain and the US, where the only experience with these technologies and operations has been that of a far-away time-lagged dream machine. Let’s embrace a bit of complexity here. Continue reading