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Victorian railways and HS2

A short film comparing the reaction to the proposed new HS2 railway line with the way the very first London and Birmingham Railway was received.

Interesting that the Victorian railways were all built by private investors who expected fabulous returns.

It’s also interesting that the attitude of the Victorian railway builders led to the creation of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that we all enjoy today.

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2 comments to “Victorian railways and HS2”
  1. Now—pot holed roads,water shortages,super slow broadband,inadequate gas and diesel storage,street lights turned off,major housing shortage,etc,etc so lets borrow 32billion and build a railway to cites that are already well connected

    • “Potholed roads” lack of a universally available supply of clean water and sewerage services, waste collection, gas supply and electricity generation and supply – not to mention a universal postal service even to remotest places- all of these have required intervention by state or local government to provide and maintain so as to give a decent service across the country.

      Do we really wish to return to the era of local Turnpike trusts whose efforts were quite unable to provide an adequate national network at dawn of motoring? It was a service that only the Ministry of Transport and the County Councils could provide; any “business case” would have been at best incidental.

      History will judge on whether or not the subsequent selling off of these national services and utilities – to create a “healthy” competetive environment or perhaps to get the government off the hook and give a short term boost to the economy- eg North Sea oil – was or wasn’t a good idea.

      How much we value the Chiltern route as mentioned in the film.But it came so close to closure as a direct through route as recently as the 1980s.

      Had it not been for the dogged determination of those appointed to run down what remained of this former trunk route, it would have been lost and trains via Banbury and Leamington would all have had to use the original route via Didcot and Oxford. Instead, they convinced cash strapped B.R. to rescind the closure and to begin the restoration and development of the line, which has now become Chiltern Main Line.

      This railway was conceived as part of a network, linking and connecting into two related main lines to the East and West Midlands and acting as a bypass around congested parts of existing routes- just as happens on the main road network- and as Hs2 could serve.

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