Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hadn't Thought of That

Some officials in the UK are saying that it would be cheaper to build new rail lines instead of renovating existing lines because they took into account people's time cost during the reconstruction that would disrupt service.

Building from scratch, he said, would not carry this cost, and it was "by no means clear that ostensibly lower-priced upgrades are always better value than new lines including new high-speed lines".

Additionally, he said the government had to take account of "the true cost of the disruption to passengers in services cancelled or diverted year after year".

He continued: "For the future, we need to assess the relative merits, including disruption saved, of building new lines rather than highly disruptive and expensive major upgrades of existing lines."

I hadn't thought of it that way but it seems like an interesting proposition to me. Reconstruction always seems to cause problems, and if they built new lines, that would open up the capacity on the old ones for later rehabilitation.


John said...

Interesting. I'm not sure how many passengers would really be disrupted on most American rail lines though.

Another scary thought: What if they applied this logic to freeways?

Matt Fisher said...

Me neither earlier. Reconstruction of rail lines can have some benefits, but is also likely to be problematic.

ChiefJoJo said...

John--they do and have for decades. So, I wouldn't promote that argument here... given that is the same argument used here time & again in countless EIS documents to justify new bypass roads (the cost and disruption to traffic is too great).