Wednesday, June 22, 2011

World's longest guided busway now expected to open soon. Yeah right

NZ in Tranzit commentary on UK busway to be

This could be a buspotter's Tui bill-board, that's for sure!

Interested in new bus tech this tranzistable blogster has kept one tiny corner of his eye on the Cambridgeshire Busway in the UK, for I guess, um, um,  maybe 4 or 5 years.

The strength of the guided busway planned, is unlike trains on the railway line that used to run down most of the busway corridor,  buses can leave the corridor and travel deep into the heart of towns along the way. Also much frequent services are possible.

At 25km of concrete guide rails and running surface,  it will supersede the Adelaide OBahn  in Adelaide as the world's longest guided busway.

One day...

Never underestimate the ability of big ticket projects - any sort of engineering including busways as well as bridges, tunnels, dams, rail projects etc (a) to escalate costs beyond that budgeted at an seemingly absurd rate (b) to get incredibly bogged down in some "obscure to the public litigious", legal hoo-haa or labour dispute that has lawyers circling like vultures, and where no two days in row are worked consecutively by the contractor or the union!

Few projects have done better than achieving an Oscar in "What Went Wrong" than the Cambridgeshire guided busway which was originally expected to begin running in 2008.

I can't even be bothered trying to figure it out and offer a synopsis of what has happened, it is too tedious and obscure,  though I did refer to it a while back, a much visited posting, illustrated with an appropriately gloomy photo

According to UK's  however, it is finally time to break out the champagne.

Many of the world's greatest achievements, inventions and evolutionary steps started with multiple hiccups, various disasters, repeat failure. Guided busways may or may not take off. I'll wait and see.

The potential of guided busways (or for that matter guided truckways), especially if joined to the inexhaustible thrust of electrical power - driven by rechargeable batteries or supercharged off short stretches of overhead line, for instance on steep hills - may sound odd to our ears. But the potential to move people and goods at very high speed in a grade separated segregated corridor AND ALSO be able deliver passenger or goods  doorstep to the doorstep, has never been fully explored. Too often the awesome shadow cast by the Victorian-era steam and the sentiment attached to trains in general still holds sway, even in situations where it represents a clumsy solution.

Are we designing a fancy fairground ride or effective best option system? I'll wait and see.

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