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High-speed trains 19th January 2009

Andrew Adonis’s argument (January) for a high-speed line from London to Birmingham and Manchester does not justify its £20bn cost.

Trains to Manchester already take under two hours. Once trains get this fast, demand for greater speed is relatively small, but it costs a lot, as more wind resistance requires much more powerful engines. Adonis notes that Japan is building high-speed trains to increase capacity. But trains with 19,200 seats leave Tokyo full every hour for Nagoya; trains with just 2,640 seats leave London for Birmingham and Manchester. The Japanese would laugh at building a…

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