More than a century ago, British engineers and their African and Indian labourers spent five years carving a railway through what would become Kenya in a bid to open up East Africa’s interior.
“Where it is going, nobody knows, what is the use of it, none can conjecture … It is clearly naught but a lunatic line.”
When the HS2 train was first announced it seemed that the BBC were all in favour if it….perhaps the thought of keeping their London pads whilst commuting up to Salford swayed their initial opinions.
Of late I get the impression that they take a more measured approach to the scheme, if anything a more sceptical tone overall.
It would be nice to have some figures though and some deeper analysis of the costs and benefits of HS2…for instance I have heard a lot recently about the government’s new claim that the train will bring in £15 billion per year…and will pay for itself in no time at all.
What’s missing is any scrutiny of those claims….at least when I’ve been listening…just how do those figures stand up to close inspection? The BBC is keen to ‘do the maths’ when it feels the need….say over immigration or crime stats.
On such a controversial and highly expensive project, in an industry renowned for never making a profit and high public subsidies even though privatised, I would expect a far more rigorous and detailed approach from the BBC.
Just for some light enterainment here is a story from the Telegraph about the last ’Lunatic Express’ built by Britain in Africa (and of course ‘massively over budget’) and now being rebuilt by China for £3.2 billion….and that includes the price of a couple of hydro-electric schemes and other infrastructure development projects:
China moves in to rebuild Kenya’s lunatic line
The Chinese are exploiting the rift between Britain and Kenya to revamp a delapidated colonial railway nework, reports Mike Pflanz