Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

THE HS2 DEBATE

The thing is going to cost an awful lot of money. When it got high on the media interest list I decided against it because I can’t see that getting to Manchester from Euston thirty minutes quicker is very significant – especially in view of the elaborate boarding procedures which will reduce the advantage by half. It also strikes me that if people really want to go to a place they won’t be put off by sub-optimal journey times. Perhaps the money might be better spent endowing Manchester et. al. with facilities and attractions that put them on the MUST-GO list. Historically, towns have grown up in locations that were convenient and offered some advantage. That can be anything – natural resources or skilled labour or a healing spring. I think more consideration should be given to that angle.

And then Boris Johnson took the floor. He made me realise that I had been looking at the issue from an insular viewpoint. So I tried to put myself in the position of some foreign plutocrat looking at England as a place to establish a major industrial activity. Such a person is not going to be impressed by our present rail service (or airport). He may well conclude that this is a backward country quite out of touch with the modern world. The next thought was that speed is not the only issue. Maybe the quality of the experience matters as much or more – Comfort – Decor – Facilities – Service etc. At the present time a traveller from Euston to Manchester does NOT feel a superior person enjoying a luxury environment.

Thought number three was that there are some similarities with promotional work in business. One is often doubtful if what you spend is really having an effect. But if you stop doing it, and others continue, you soon see a difference. To be competitive you have to be doing what others are doing. So I am now on the side of the infrastructure enthusiasts. But we should recognise that speed is not the only form of quality. There might be less expensive ways of doing this than imitating China.

One Response to “THE HS2 DEBATE”

  1. I’m not in favour of Hs2 I think as a ‘developed’ society we would be better spending the money ensuring that every child has access to basic and higher education. To maintain the lifestyle that everyone has become accustomed to we need people with a good education and common sense. 30 minutes on the journey is neither here or there. If you are on business you could be in first class plugged into wifi and working.


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