An alternative to HS2 @richard_branson @TheGreenParty @AtkinsCareersUK @balfourbeatty @kiergroup @David_Cameron

If HS2 is really about capacity, then I’d like to advocate my idea of guided dirigibles for freight.
In fact, I’d like to expand it to a second network of transport.
As an analogy, consider how the body has two vascular systems; one is for transport of red blood cells and the other is for white blood cells.

I would have:

Trains being used almost entirely for pedestrians.

Motorways for cars.

And the new network doubling up for container freight and cyclists.

As with the vascular systems of the body, there would be region’s, where the various travellers would necessarily cross over but the intention would be to minimise this, especially long distance sections, where speed would be key.

The new network could, to a large extent, exploit the existing canal system but would also require new bridges and roadways. Their nature would, however, require less land surface than motorways or railways.

So a re-cap of dirigible freight.
Essentially it is based on cable car technology, which has proven very reliable. The erection of such a network would be a lot less problematic than building railways or motorways.

Like motorways, there could be three lane traffic, depending on the nature of the loads to be transported.

Access would be required for maintenance, so B-grade roads would need to be built, with the advantage that these could double up as highways for cyclists.
The dirigibles would be tied to the cable ways, picking up and depositing container loads at marshalling yards, where the containers can be transferred to trucks, trains and boats, as required, near cities and ports.
Because the dirigibles can be adjusted to give neutral buoyancy to the containers, the cable network would have minimum wear, reducing maintenance costs.
By taking freight off roads, Motorway maintenance would be reduced, meaning less traffic queues and therefore lower fuel imports. Most problems on motorways are caused by trucks leap-frogging each other. This would be reduced. there would be less soot particulates from their diesel engines and fewer truckers dying of associated lung damage/cancer.
Cyclists would be freer to travel between towns, especially if those towns constructed networks minimising the risks created by mixing cyclists with cars and buses.
One other aspect, which might be of greater concern to those outside London, is that this network would be less problematic than conventional freight, when considering hilly terrain.
This is particularly the case, when considering the limited routes East-West across the backbone of the country. i.e. The Pennines

 

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