Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Blot on the landscape - and what for?
How modern transport should blend in!
My in box has been full of stuff about the laughable Cambridge Guided Busway. This extraordinary white elephant has still not been opened, and costs are still spiralling. Will we ever know what this idiocy was ever about? Or perhaps it's just a very long-winded way of preserving the trackbed without letting the Peak Oil cat out of the bag?
The simple fact is that this piece of essential transport infrastructure needs to be rebuilt as, preferably, a heavy railway or, at the very least, a modern interurban tramway. The cost would be around 30%/15% and ridership would be far higher. Fuel use would be around 25% of that for the buses and who knows what the maintenance costs are going to be?
This is why cold hard economics needs to be applied to transport investment rather than agenda-laden posturing by idiotic politicians who are desperate to keep Peak Oil below the radar.
We all know that buses are considered to be the most unpopular form of public transport. It is almost impossible to prise people out of their cars to use them, whereas many car drivers are happy to switch to trams which are seen as modern, clean, fast and efficient. Buses even try to disguise themselves as trams to tempt people out of their cars by being given smart modern lines, but it won't work. Passengers need the added security of a FIXED route to convince them that the new transport system is here for the foreseeable future, rather than buses which use pubic roads. Okay, the concrete tram-like tracks of the guided busway suggest a similar commitment, but we can see that they are just a stage towards modern transport - ie the eventual replacement of the method of propulsion to overhead wire (trolleybus fashion) and the eventual replacement of concrete by steel rail (giving a 75% fuel, efficiency and cost saving). But why not just build the railway/tramway in the first place?
People locally HATE this monstrosity and will boycott it until they get their trams or trains. I fully expect to be reporting on the replacement of this joke by a modern tramway or railway within ten years.
The extraordinary thing is that this lunacy is being threatened on two other essential rail routes - Fareham-Gosport and Luton-Dunstable!!