HS2: High-speed rail route phase two details announced

HS2One year ago today the details of the proposed high-speed rail network were released.  My question is why do we need to go so fast.  Is half-an-hour off the journey to Birmingham going to make a difference to anyone, especially at a likely cost of £40 billion plus?

This is written as a rondeau.

(As an aside, spooky to hear that after I’d posted my blog yesterday Pete Seeger died)


The Pace Of Life

In the pressured pace of life the golden age of steam is passed
but do we have to go so fast?
Do we really need the high-speed train,
the HS2, perhaps someone can explain.
No choice, I fear the die is cast.

Who can recall the whistle’s blast,
the stench-filled smoke that billowed past?
Romantic times but now we live in new terrain
in the pressured pace of life.

We’re expected to succeed, exceed, surpass
but the gap with quality of life is vast.
Public transport should surely take the strain,
but give us time to talk, share, shallow breathe again,
laugh, sing, live life in colours to its full contrast
in the pressured pace of life.


28th January 2013 – headline from the BBC

Notes:  “HS2: High-speed rail route phase two details announced”.  Speeds of up to 250mph on HS2 will reduce a Birmingham to Leeds journey from two hours to 57 minutes, while phase one will cut London-Birmingham travel to 49 minutes, from the current one hour and 24 minutes.  More than 70 groups oppose HS2.  StopHS2 argues the project is “fundamentally flawed”, saying the majority of journeys will be to London so England’s North and Midlands will lose out rather than benefit, and that projections do not take into account competition from conventional rail.  StopHS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: “Fifty-five percent of the economic benefits are based on the cash value of time, no-one works on trains and every business user is worth £70,000 a year – it’s basically a train for the rich that everyone else is not only going to have to pay for the construction of but also have to subsidise throughout its lifetime as well.”


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