Visitor essay by Eric Worrall
Even the 30,000 flights per 12 months which join the 190 mile Singapore to Kuala Lumpur route weren’t sufficient to promote a excessive velocity rail mission to traders. However Professor Bent Flyvbjerg of Oxford College thinks Elon Musk’s Hyperloop may be the reply.
Is high-speed rail journey on a observe to nowhere?
By Tim McDonald
BBC Information, Singapore
It was alleged to be a slick, gleaming piece of transport infrastructure that would shuttle passengers from Singapore to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur in 90 minutes.
However initially of this 12 months, the $17bn (£12.5bn) 350km (217 mile) high-speed rail hyperlink between the 2 cities was cancelled for good.
Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad first hit pause on the proposed line after he took energy in 2018, as a part of a monetary belt-tightening push.
A subsequent coronavirus-fuelled funds crunch then made the mission all however irredeemable, with each nations utilizing a joint assertion final month accountable “the affect of Covid-19 pandemic on the Malaysian economic system”.
Malaysia had proposed cost-cutting adjustments, however Singapore wouldn’t agree, and the deal fell by way of.
The UK’s HS2 scheme – which is being constructed from London to Birmingham, after which on to Leeds and Manchester – was initially anticipated to value £56bn, however that determine has since nearly doubled to £98bn.
The affect of the pandemic on each the UK authorities’s coffers and rail passenger numbers has led to opponents of the scheme saying it’s not justifiable.
Prof Flyvbjerg says one other downside with large-scale high-speed rail tasks is that they take so lengthy to finish that higher alternate options may be accessible earlier than completion.
For instance, the primary stage of the HS2 isn’t attributable to open till 2028 on the earliest.
He’s hopeful that Elon Musk’s Hyperloop – whereby pods containing passengers journey at nice velocity by way of vacuum tubes – may grow to be a greater, more cost effective different to high-speed rail.
Learn extra: https://www.bbc.com/information/business-55624103
To be honest, BBC contributor Tim McDonald mentions elsewhere in his article that there are 21 worthwhile excessive velocity rail routes in China (15 essential routes + 6 lesser routes). Japan additionally has worthwhile routes. However just about no person else appears in a position to repeat Japan and China’s trick of constructing typically worthwhile excessive velocity rail tracks.
As for Hyperloop, I’m completely satisfied to present Musk a Covid cross for not hitting his 2020 / 10km prediction, however a couple of hundred metres of Hyperloop within the Nevada desert is just not precisely proof the expertise is able to resolve the world’s transportation issues.
Nevertheless Hyperloop fares, I feel we are able to safely conclude that the Inexperienced New Deal imaginative and prescient of excessive velocity rail in every single place is a non-starter.
I assume local weather champion John Kerry must maintain his personal jet in spite of everything.