Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Jerry Marshall - HS2 and the Future of Transport

Jerry Marshall, a resident of Burton Green and campaigner against HS2, took part in a discussion on the Sunday Politics show on BBC2 on Sunday (2nd March). The context of the discussion was a proposal to create an engineering centre in the Birmingham area.

A video of the 5-minute discussion been posted on YouTube by StopHS2. You can watch that video here:



Also taking part in the discussion were Tristram Hunt, Labour Transport spokesman, and Paul Uppal, a Conservative.

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Editorial Comment

Some useful insights into the future of transport, and the place of high-speed rail, if any, can be gained from America. The debate about high-speed rail in America has also become politicised.

You may find the following selection of articles interesting; many of these stories are still developing:

High-speed rail in California runs into a low-speed process
"With teleconferencing a reality and driverless cars on the way, bullet trains don’t seem so cutting-edge anymore... one reason we don’t have national high-speed rail, and probably never will, is that this is America."

How Republicans Killed America's High-Speed Rail Plan

Obama Replaces Costly High-Speed Rail Plan With High-Speed Bus Plan

As cities improve rapid transit, buses get a new look

CNN Exposes Obama’s High-Speed Rail Boondoggle
A 'boondogle' is an American term meaning "an unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulent project": Boondoggle (Wikipedia)

Elon Musk Says California High-Speed Rail Is Backwards

Elon Musk's Original Blog Article on High-Speed Rail
"When the California high speed rail was approved, I was quite disappointed. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?....."

Is Hyperloop a Realistic Alternative to High-Speed Rail?

The successful Victorian railway system, that Britain exported to the world, was not the product of a mediocre state bureaucracy. It was developed and financed by private entrepreneurs, who were able to assess the costs, rewards and risks involved; people like Elon Musk


Where would these trains be designed and built?

The BBC program seemed to suggest to viewers that the intention was to design high-speed trains in the UK, possibly at a site near Birmingham.

Many people had previously thought that the intention was to purchase the technology, and possibly the trains, already built, from the Chinese. David Cameron has already made approaches, of some form, to the Chinese.

It has also been suggested that, legally, any contract to build the trains would need to be put to an open tender, and that that would be likely to be won by the French, who would be in a position to make the most competitive bid.