In her marlborough.news column Claire Perry promotes the new trains on the Bedwyn to Paddington service as being environmentally friendly. Not quite.
In her jaunt to Newbury she and her fellow passengers would have been propelled by dirty diesels. The same would have applied if they’d gone in the opposite direction all the way down to Plymouth.
The Hitachi units were originally designed for fully-electrified routes. But due to the ineptitude of Network Rail and the Department of Transport, we ran out of wire and wire-to-train is by far the cleanest way to travel.
The trains had to be re-specified at enormous cost and fitted with underfloor diesel engines which are noisy and vibrate. Hence their bio-mode tag.
Power-to-weight ratios are integral to how clean and efficient a train is. Diesel engines, as well as emitting CO2 when running, are dead weight when the train is wired up and therefore the train will consume more electricity.
She also promotes their comfort and increased seating capacity, failing to mention that part of that increased capacity is at the cost of comfort. The narrow, wafer thin seats are standard in buses but unsuitable for long journeys.
A friend who travelled from Paddington to South Wales and back in a day (£87.90 return) said that afterwards he felt as though he had spent the night on a park bench.
Ms Perry makes no mention of a viable connecting bus service from Bedwyn to Marlborough, possibly because there isn’t one. Instead she ponders on the Conservative Party leadership election, sidestepping the frightening prospect that 150,000 people mostly over the age of 55 years and many holding extremist views are set to choose the next Prime Minister at a time of national crisis.
As a floating, possibly sinking, voter may I put in a word for Rory Stewart who might even appeal to Labour voters disturbed by the Stalinist shenanigans of Jeremy Corbyn and his cohorts.
I hope Ms Perry will let us know who she believes should be chosen and the reasons – together with why anyone under the age of 45 should not consider emigrating.
Graham T Turner