It has been 40 years since I, along with colleagues including management and CEOs of GEC Traction Combine, lobbied Parliament for the electrification of the Midland Mainline.
Our arguments included the use of car taxes to pay for electric trains, passengers and freight, as well as subsidized rapid transport systems i.e. trams etc. which would use renewable energy. .
The government of the day was the Thatcher “loadsamoney” administration with its ideology of greed before need, so our ideas were dismissed out of hand.
It seems strange to me that politicians are now running around claiming that the planet could fry us all because of our actions, or should it be their inaction.
I believe our ideas then are still workable now. The auto industry, including its supply network and car use, represents billions in revenue for governments, but if a good public transport system is built using this revenue, car use would decrease.
At 75 and retired, I don’t need to use my car to get around, but a lot of people do. I know when I was working a 20 minute car ride took 1 hour 40 minutes by bus.
The green ideas of biking or walking are just not an option for many people. The ideas put forward by so-called environmentalists, catalytic converters, lean-burn engines, E20 fuels, have cost manufacturers and motorists millions and yet are today considered insufficient.
Over the past 40 years, however, due to fashion and public demand, car specifications have grown with modern engines working overtime to support creature comfort, power seats, windows and mirrors, heated seats with memory, GPS, etc.
It has been believed for decades that the optimum economy for cars is achieved at 55/60 mph, a fact recognized by authorities on clean air stretches of highway, yet the national speed limit is 70 mph and so you are traveling at a constant speed of 70 on most highways you will be overtaken by any number of vehicles over 90 resulting in up to 20% increase in fuel consumption. How serious are we in solving our problems?
We need to tackle the other issues first; an electric freight train can take 40 to 60 trucks off our roads, if it delivers to local hubs that would allow delivery drivers to work with electric vehicles to transport freight to their local destination.
It is time to first solve the problem of large polluting vehicles and build an efficient, reliable and sustainable public transport system that people are sure they can use, cars can provide this income even when parked.
The future of this planet is a serious question that deserves a real debate and not just in the realm of what seems hysterical to me of people shouting blah blah blah or sticking their heads to the road.
The people of the United States that we call the Plains Indians believe that the land does not belong to us, we belong to it, and it is Mother Earth who will determine our future. Worth thinking about!