10° 40' N, 61° 30' W

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Rails of Fancy

In a leader last July about airport expanson in the UK, the Guardian wrote:

Getting people to re-examine how they travel is vital for sustainable development. The case for replacing internal flights with high-speed rail links should be embraced by ministers.

Now another leader in the same paper on Wednesday says:

[T]he size of the bill is simply prohibitive. The north-south price tag is more than 3.5% of the country's output - three times the annual transport budget. Even the 70 miles of Channel Tunnel rail link will cost more than £5bn. We may face such ludicrous sums because the bean counters cannot add up, or because the costs of 220mph trains in Britain, where train travel was invented, are simply too high. Evidence suggests it is the latter.

Now, I like trains as much as anyone, but I am afraid I must concur.