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Posted by Tom Cheesewright on

High-Speed Rail

Just been interviewed by Real Radio about the newly announced high-speed rail link between London and Glasgow. I haven’t expanded my remit to cover transport now — just a random collaring at Piccadilly station. Good topic for a quick blog entry though, while I ride the standard speed train down to London.

Do we need a high speed rail link? My natural inclination is to say ‘yes, of course’. It’s cool new(ish) tech; it will make me more time-efficient; it cuts the arguments for the more carbon-intense options of flying and driving. But I find I’m not without concerns.

At £34bn, it’s not going to be cheap, and somehow that cost will inevitably be transferred to the traveler. Now that I have other people booking trains for me (in advance), I’m finding the costs a little less oppressive, but the trade-off is the lack of flexibility. The nature of work travel means that sometimes it is hard to predict when you will want to travel, but the price of open off peak tickets is absolutely prohibitive. I can already foresee a situation where I know the train could get me home in an hour, but I have to wait three hours for the next train my ticket allows me to take.

Higher speed also doesn’t fix the main problem with trains: they get you to where the tracks end, not where you want to go. Even if it only takes an hour to get into London, I would still choose to drive to meetings around the south east because of the cost and complexity of getting to smaller stations, and then from the stations to the meetings themselves. Without a car it takes huge amounts of time and money — neither of which I or most people can afford in a working day.

Despite all this though, on balance I am in favour of the new link. On occasions it will be very useful, and, I hope, the price might not be too painful.

Posted by Tom Cheesewright on

This blogger is on paternity leave…

It has been a hectic few weeks. And Digital, the main business with which I am involved (as shareholder and ‘strategy director’) is rising rocket-ship fast, and has been consuming all the time I could spare to keep it flying on course. Since ‘launch’ at the start of June we have added three full time staff to supplement the support we have from our close colleagues at new parent company And Partners. The latest achievement for the company has been appearing on the 5 Live breakfast show with Nicky Campbell this morning to comment on ITV’s results.

Originally I was meant to be talking about the new Ofcom report, but I’m always happy to be flexible for an opportunity like that. Apart from getting cut off while calling ITV Digital a ‘poor concept, poorly executed’ (will have to listen again on iPlayer to find out how much of that was heard), I think it went pretty well. Though I may change my mind when I hear it back… Be interested in your feedback.

Anyway, marvellous though all that is, it pales into insignificance when set against the other big development in my life. On Monday morning at 5:02, my daughter Isabelle was born. To quote one of the other fathers from our NCT class: “Fatherhood. Blimey.” The las three days have been utterly mind blowing; fantastic, exhilirating and exhausting all at once. So I will be on paternity leave for the rest of this week and next, working intermittently as required.

If I find time I’d like to add an update about the new Toy Cupboard, but if you don’t hear from me for a while, you will know why. This blogger is on paternity leave, and loving every minuted of it.

Tom Cheesewright