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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Hyperloop and Self-Driving Transport - More Reasons to Scrap HS2

Two separate articles have recently appeared which give different reasons why HS2 would be obsolete before it could be completed. The most recent article, in the Spectator (1st July), refers to the inevitable advent of driverless cars and lorries. The earlier articles describe Elon Musk's Hyperloop, which is intended to provide a similar service to HS2 but much faster and at greatly reduced cost.

"Those who built the Channel Tunnel never saw the low-cost era of airline travel coming. When the tunnel rail link, or HS1, opened in 1997, Brussels’ bureaucrats were busy putting the final touches to the Single Skies initiative, which created a common market for European air travel. It wasn’t long before Ryanair, easyJet and the other low cost carriers took off... The problem with such big endeavours as the Channel Tunnel, and now HS2, is that they take a long time to plan and construct. In the meantime, the world has a habit of changing... Even if HS2 is completed on time, the big question remains: will customers materialise in the numbers anticipated? Given the revolution in self-drive technology, does Britain really need all this extra railway capacity? ... with billions being ploughed into self-drive research, fully capable self-drive vehicles (most likely electrically powered) will be on sale long before the London-Birmingham phase of HS2 opens. There are good odds that HS2 will find itself facing a stalled or even declining market – hitting the buffers before it is even built."

Full article:



This is yet another good economic case for scrapping HS2.

If HS2 were to be built, and if Hyperloop is also built, then Hyperloop will be providing a service which is 4 times quicker than HS2 and also at a cheaper fare to passengers. Would anyone at all use HS2?

There is a report that Elon Musk is planning to build a very high speed transport system between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Scotland. The system is known as Hyperloop. It would operate at 1,000 km per hour. The journey time between Birmingham and London would be 14 minutes. It is claimed that this can be built at one tenth of the cost of conventional high-speed rail.

The system is claimed to be faster, safer, cheaper, and use less land, than conventional high-speed rail.

Recent report in the Daily Mail:

Also under consideration, by the Department of Transport, is a second Hyperloop route termed the Northern Arc, linking key cities in the North of England:

More about the Northern Arc here:

These two videos have been produced by BMW Germany (why are British companies not at the forefront of this research?):

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