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HomeNewsTrainspotting exclusive – we put HS2 to the test

Trainspotting exclusive – we put HS2 to the test


February 10, 2041: TCW Defending Freedom’s Railway Correspondent, Albert Gricer, was one of the first to travel on the HS2 line. This is his report.

AS A railway enthusiast, I have always wanted to be one of the first to travel on HS2. I had planned the trip for 2026, and then for 2030, but I suppose a  further 11-year wait is not unusual for an enterprise such as this.

It was only two weeks ago that Her WEF Excellency, Dame Greta Thunberg, came over from the NWO HQ in Geneva to open the line to great fanfare at the terminus in Old Oak Common. She enthused about how the expenditure of 135billion of the old pounds was great value for money, and extolled the tremendous environmental benefits of the project. 

I was rather taken aback by the cost. A one-way ticket of 420 Carbon Credits (three weeks’ worth of travel allowances) was rather steep but some may feel that shaving 15 minutes off the journey time from Birmingham to the capital is well worth the expense.

The train was not as full as I had expected. In my carriage I noted two other members of the Ian Allan Railway Enthusiasts’ Society, someone who might have been a civil servant, and three striking teachers on their way to another demonstration.

The seats were rather firmer than I had hoped but the designers must have thought that was acceptable because of the reduced journey time. The ride was very smooth but the frequent tunnels disrupted the view. All the carriages had names. I was in Green. Others were called Trans, Gay, Migrant, Peace, Gates, Adonis, Hope and Believe. There was no buffet, only self-service machines selling the usual insect-based products and fizzy drinks. Fortunately, I had brought my flask.

Because of a maverick cow on the line near Brackley, and speed restrictions because of high winds, we arrived in Old Oak Common 20 minutes late. The journey time was a couple of minutes better than that which the LMS was achieving to Euston in 1937 with its Coronation Class ‘Pacifics’.

I must admit that although I have visited London several times I had no idea where Old Oak Common was. I was sure that it must be an exciting place and a ‘must-see’ venue. On exiting the station, I was greeted by a light drizzle. I have to say I was not overly impressed by the area. I didn’t have enough credits to get closer to the centre of the city, so I ate my egg-substitute sandwich and finished my cocoa on a bench near Wormwood Scrubs prison.

The return journey in the almost empty Hope carriage was uneventful and I entertained myself studying some Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway timetables from 1912. 

I arrived at Curzon Street Station at 7 in the evening and within an hour I had walked back to my pod in the north of the city.

My verdict

Unless you are travelling to the capital to visit a prisoner or have carbon credits to spend before they disappear, I regret to say that a trip on HS2 is not good value. On the plus side the ride was good and the engineering was impressive. The stations are large and airy but lack character. On the other hand, the value for the credits you need to use was poor, the time saving was minimal and the destination was disappointing.

The return trip also needs more than six hours of precious release time from your Zone and you are required to use one fifth of your annual carbon allowance.

In summary, I am glad I took the trip, but would I repeat the journey? I am afraid the answer is no. I was sad, but not surprised, to hear that the line is to close next year. The transport panjandrums in Geneva say it is too expensive to run, it’s outdated and its carbon footprint is too large.

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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