It used to take one hour and forty five minutes to get by train from where I live in Canterbury to central London. Now, as a consequence of HS1 and the rather annoyingly named “Javelin”, it takes a little over fifty minutes. There is not the remotest doubt that the new service has greatly improved the prosperity of the area, and made life more pleasant for the likes of me. An entire swathe of south-eastern England has been suddenly rendered commutable as a consequence – a good thing, seeing the cost of housing in London. (I don’t commute, as it happens, I ought to add.) The trains are frequent, reliable and jam-packed. This is the thing; once a new rail line is built, the complaints melt away and it seems incredible there could have been objections in the first place. This is the precise opposite, of course, in what happens with new motorways and new runways. God speed to HS2.
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.