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LETTERS


How does handing investment pounds sterling to the German economy and taxpayers’ money to British non-workers look like bet- ter value to the British taxpayer? Only to an accountant.


From: Glenn Lambourne Subject: HS2 consultation


I live in Ruislip, Middlesex. Ruislip is a wonderful area, one of the few that are left in our outer London boroughs. I cannot understand why our Government would want to waste billions of hard-working taxpayers’ money just to save a few minutes on a journey and in the process wreck not only Ruislip but other communities which are equally cared for. I can say that I have always voted Conservative in the past and I can say that I will never vote for them again if this goes ahead. Things have gone too far in our beautiful world. They say our country’s in debt and that


they want us all to be green and eco-friendly and then they decide to spend money we haven’t got en- couraging people to travel massive distances!


From: Dave Hitchman Subject: The north-south divide


HS2 the way to close the gap be- tween north and south? Rubbish.


Several things; first, there is not a gap between north and south, there is a gap between London and the rest of the UK (have you visited the backwaters of Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Wales...?)


Second, spending money on Ger- man rails, German sleepers and German trains is not going to do anything to regenerate anywhere apart form Germany. In fact, tak- ing billions from the UK economy and spending it abroad will again shrink the UK economy. I would have thought that lesson should


be painfully obvious by now. The ‘money’ made by ‘the City’ was obviously an illusion, the crash showed that; the only way to wealth is to make things…and to do that we don’t need to spend money abroad.


The real answer to many of our country’s problems is substantial investment in the railways – re- verting to the reason they were built in the first place, and their main use in the rest of the world – transportation of GOODS. The benefits are enormous: less traffic and pollution on our roads (those slow lumbering lorries won’t be needed). The lorries especially won’t be needed in all our towns and villages shaking the buildings apart. What is needed is the rapid reinstatement of the goods yards that existed on all our stations, the rebuilding of the stations demol- ished by Beeching so that every town and village on or near a rail- way has a rail link without driving


to the next city and clogging up the already congested roads.


Eventually, the rail network could be expanded again. Each of these station goods yards needs to be able to load and unload container traffic. Each will need a local deliv- ery vehicle capable of taking a con- tainer to the local shops (like Tesco etc). Start this investment with the money put aside for HS2, finish it off by progressively increasing lor- ry taxes. Make sure the cost of rail- freight is cheaper – not just com- petitive but substantially cheaper – than lorries (and it MUST be cheaper: rail wagons, engines and infrastructure last better and long- er than lorries, a single driver can shift several hundred containers instead of the one per lorry driver, if you think it costs even 10% of the price of a lorry you are clearly do- ing your sums wrong!)


The Channel Tunnel has also shown another important thing; people can be loaded and unload- ed from car transporting trains simply and quickly. Let’s get that going: I should be able to drive on a train near Cambridge, get off again near Bristol or Birmingham. HS2 will not provide this, it will be for seated people. If my meeting is not within 100yds of the station then frankly it will be too much hassle to drive into Cambridge, find a parking place, take a train to London, go round London on the Underground, wait for HS2, get on it and be whisked to Man- chester, get off, find a taxi, travel to the customer...this will take longer than driving direct, and will cost far more. I should be able to catch a train with my car. This has several effects, first it reduces pol- lution, second it reduces the size of car I need (reducing pollution), and lastly it actually makes electric vehicles possible (I could even re- charge on the train!)


TELL US WHAT YOU THINK opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com


rail technology magazine Jun/Jul 11 | 19


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