Ripping off Timmy:
Laptops and mobile phones mean that at least a modicum of work can be done while travelling. So the value of time saved by fewer hours travelling should fall. In fact, we can almost certainly go further. Sitting with a laptop, a phone and a decent internet connection in a comfy seat on a train is, these days, almost as productive as being in a nice office in a comfy chair with a computer, phone and decent internet connection.
In which case the value of the reduced transport time for these very important people collapses down to almost nothing. Something which rather explodes the cost benefit analysis of having the fast trains at all for the benefits rely so heavily on the high value of the time of these very important people not doing anything.
In short, forget making the trains faster and just install decent in carriage Wi-Fi. We get the same benefits at vastly reduced cost: and what can be bad about that?
Having just travelled through the lovely near-Wendover countryside to Princes Risborough, I have a vague interest in this. But I’m also deeply suspicious of HST II. This looks to be one of those Ego / Boondoggle projects that are doomed to go ahead whilst other more useful things languish (example: running moderate speed sleeper services through the chunnel would have been far more use to me, and I suspect many others, that the big-willy fast trains, no matter how pretty and thrusting they may look).
I had a quick look at the HST II website, in the hopes that they might tell me why they were doing it. But all I found was them saying that ministers had told them to. So I’ll guess: this is a flight-replacement thingy. Well, maybe. But there are lots of problems: running high speed trains through peoples back gardens does rather tend to annoy them. And as Timmy points out, a rather more honest assessment of costs and benefits might well show that the costs exceed the benefits. High speed trains throw out lots of CO2, too (especially if you’re going wobbly on nukes), so it isn’t some majick fix for that problem either.
stophs2.org – The Other Side. I ripped off their logo. Pity they can’t spell.