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HS2 and transport of the future

I have been blowing hot and cold about HS2 and rather sitting on the fence regarding it, but reading various posts on this subject and my own observations as to how the air quality has improved since lockdown has opened my eyes and convinced me that our society now needs to concentrate on getting HS2 finished and to work on more projects and rail improvements of this nature.  Only then will we really start to put the brakes on excessive air and car transport, particularly for long distance travel and freight haulage that is destroying the environment.

Rail travel is the way forward for long distance, with electric vehicles for local travel/haulage, and cycling/walking for commuting where possible. Looking to the future I can see the need for a further channel rail tunnel(s) to link further into the mainland Europe network.

Air travel/freight will still be required for intercontinental travel. Similarly fossil fuelled ships will still be required but need to be phased out as more research is made into the newer breeds of wind driven and hybrid ships where cargoes are non perishable. Once a “conveyor belt” system of wind driven ships is up and running customers will be able to buy goods already at sea without having to wait months for delivery.

This is the only way we are going to make a positive and SUSTAINABLE change for reducing carbon emissions.

My only concern still is that I do not trust the corrupt Torie government not to just exploit the HS2 project to line their own pockets. In my opinion if HS2 does fail it is simply because of Torie greed and nothing else.

What do you think?

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  1. I’d like to see H2s be about connecting the UK to Europe, having commuted to Europe via plane I’d love the option of a high speed rail link, I think rail does need both mainline and local infrastructure improvements.
    I can recall being at Schipol train station in Holland and seeing frequent Europe wide connections that’s what we need to tap into.

  2. HS2 is yesterday’s concept. Covid has revolutionised wfh. Even businesses that “knew” it couldn’t work have made it work.
    as others have said HS2 is about servicing London and is at best a vanity project.
    The justification for business travel has evolved over the past 3months and we now have large swathes of the workforce who have retooled for home working. I’m hearing some companies are looking to reduce office capacity and convert their office to meeting hubs.
    Companies are seeing the cost savings of having a smaller office and travel footprint. Employees are seeing the benefit of not having to travel or pay for travel. I think we are in a transformation stage.
    And as for mass air travel…..

  3. HS2 – Isn’t that really a facilitator for the likes of the Captains of Industry who work in Canary Wharf and the City of London to have a nice house in the countryside within commuting distance of work? If you really want to increase the capacity of the whole system, how about upgrading the existing rail network from the (inefficient) track occupancy method to a moving block system. It has been used by LUL to increase capacity of its network (where it has been adopted) but generally hasn’t been adopted by Mainline Rail. But then London is a special case in term of investment in infrastructure. Upgrading the existing nationwide infrastructure could have many times the benefit of one headline project but doesn’t have the political bragging rights. I accept that a high speed rail link has its uses, but London to Birmingham isn’t one of them.

  4. There are better ways to spend the money for HS2 which will give us more scope for the future.
    HS2 is all about servicing London, it’s not about making the “Northern Power House” better, it’s about getting people into London, so they can do the menial job and then travel out of London to their cheaper homes.
    It doesn’t increase capacity massively, and it saves 20 – mins from Brum to London, so what?

  5. Never been convinced by HS2, listening to some of the commuters talk about their journeys in some of the Northern cities (Manchester, Leeds etc) I’ve always thought the money would be better spent improving the connections between those cities rather than getting people to Birmingham 20 minutes quicker.
    Agree about the need to improve the ways and means of people travelling in general but I really hope that in the near future people will continue to work from home and travel less.

  6. I’d be surprised if the improvement in air quality which you have noticed is much to do with a reduction in air traffic, unless you live or work near an airport.

  7. The thing I really want to see (as well as HS2) is for us to follow Germany and the Netherlands and get our city public transport and cycling infrastructures up to scratch.
    That means trams/trolleybuses in smaller cities and underground systems in larger ones – for instance, Manchester Metrolink could be converted to run in tunnel in the city centre instead of on-street – that’s been done in a number of places. So never mind a Leeds tram/trolleybus, that’s big enough for a proper U-Bahn, but the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Lancaster, Coventry etc (smallish cities) need the wires up and the rails down as well as dedicated cycleways on every vaguely busy road.
    More nice big infrastructure projects to create jobs.

    • I’m Manc and don’t agree with that. Manchester city centre is tiny, you can walk from one side to the other in half an hour, the length of Deansgate basically.
      Putting it underground would (I’m assuming here …) way more, and unnecessarily, expensive and would have set it back some time. Plus the centre section links up easily with existing trackbeds outbound,, with it being overground
      Plus 1 for HS2.

    • There have been repeated ‘underground’ projects mused in the past in Manchester. Just look at the Picc-Vic line (now superseded by the Ordsall Chord). It’s a no go, the city centre is like a Swiss cheese and geologically unsuited to such endeavours. Besides which, we have plenty of disused railway lines that can be recommissioned first.

      • Fair point.
        Another city that has a dire need of a proper, electrified, rail transport network is Bristol – and you’ve got two great pieces of pre-prepared infrastructure that would have good coverage to start with – the Severn Beach line curves around a fairly large chunk of the west of the city (but is presently a bit infrequent), and the Bristol-Bath Railway Path to the east and could easily be converted back to a tramway, perhaps with a cycle lane still alongside (it’s quite wide in most places and street trams are normally narrower than trains by about a seat width). No point taking it all the way to Bath as it duplicates the existing line, but the Bristol loop section would have very good coverage of that part of the city.

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