Thursday, March 11, 2010

What was wrong with the horse drawn carriage anyway?!..

With the announcement of a new HSR network, that's short for High Speed Rail, by Lord Adonis in parliament today we'll all soon be able to slip up to Manchester in a matter of minutes, Birmingham in a few seconds and Canary Wharf in a nano second! Do we actually want all this at a huge cost to the nation? Is it necessary and vital for Britain's infrastructure in the 21st Century to be able to travel at 250 light years a second? Will it signal the beginning of the end for the motor car after all those billions spent on our roads? Surely not, surely we love our independence too much. Should we, after all, have listened to the likes of John Betjeman and kept all those branch lines, closed in the 1960s and now mostly low speed, but very picturesque, cycle routes? I dunno, life just seems to keep going round and round as each generation of politicians have different ideas and then, in turn, ideas which are remarkably similar to those of previous generations. One of the HSR links I think will be from the Chunnel to Stratford/Canary Wharf so how will this effect sleepy old Tonbridge? Any thoughts anyone?...


The Tomahawk Kid said...

There is already a high speed rail link (since December 2009)from Ashford and the Kent coast to Stratford and St Pancras, and very impressive it is too. There are no plans as far as I know for any high speed trains via Tonbridge, but let's face it, the service from Tonbridge to London is already pretty good (35 minutes for the fastest trains).

I think the high speed trains should have a positive impact on Kent, and in particular the Kent coast. I can't see it having much impact, positive or negative, on Tonbridge.

I think expanding the high speed rail network is a good thing. The population is expected to rise and the roads can't cope with the current population, so lets try and get some more onto the trains.

The public transport network in this country needs some serious improvement, so hopefully this could be the start of something.

Paul Bailey said...

Seeing as work is not scheduled to start until 2017, we won't be slipping anywhere soon. This idea sounds good on paper, but smacks of blatant electionering to me. I'm all in favour of rail travel, but with the country broke, who is going to pay for this grandiose scheme?
To put the record straight, it wasn't just branch lines that were closed back in the 60's; a large part of the Great Central Railway was also closed. This was the last main line route to be built (having been constructed during the 1890's). It was built to a very high standard, and was designed to accommodate wider, continental trains (the plan was that it would eventually link up with a proposed channel tunnel). Unfortunately these attributes din't save it from closure; a combination of jealousy that was was carried over into British Rail from the pre-nationalised rival comapnies (LMS, LNER), contributed to its demise.
I haven't seen all the plans for the proposed route, but I did hear a rumour that part of it may follow the old Great Central line. Talk about history repeating itself.