Thursday, July 31, 2008

[fuel crisis] why not go maritime?

There was some great reading yesterday with Jam's story of the Cagots but today is equally interesting, with Gallimaufry's take on steam-powered vehicles. William Gruff came in with an interesting comment and an idea occurred to me, spurious at first, I admit but then I saw the possibilities.

It might just work.

1. All new road projects become canals, which take far less investment to construct - not the narrow canals of the past but broad "four lane" jobs with locks for the hills.

2. Existing roads can be converted over a twenty year period, thereby spreading the cost.

3. Small craft of the catamaran and junk sail [or lug sail] variety would be built cheaply, far cheaper than new cars and can ply the canals which link major waterways.

1. The fuel and construction sectors would never abide it.

Answer: They would if they had a stake in the canalization of the whole country ... plus fuel is simply losing all appeal as an investment. For those who didn't want to sail, crop fuelled putt-putts could be used as well.
2. The transport and cargo sectors would be decimated.

Answer; Why? Look how much more could be moved by water.
3. The whole pace of life would slow down unbearably, transport times, ordering of goods from another centre would triple in time and so on.

Answer: Yes. And what?
4. People would be forced into the very new-feudalism which libertarians are now railing against.

Answer: Yes, that's so. Three acres and a cow again. So, for that very reason, the globalists might just go for it, with available fuel swung into defence.
If one thinks about it, you could see how it would improve the whole mood of the nation - the noise, pollution, stress for the average person ... plus the globalists would be happy.

Also, Britain has a maritime history, the people are no strangers to inland waters. So why not?


Aileni said...

It would be easier to go electric and restore the railways. I especially favour heavy lift airships.

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Yes, these could be integrated, Aileni. It could form a whole transport infrastructure. Imagine The Met giving airship or canal tickets.

Calum said...


The Sicilian sun and/or wine has softened your brain. :-)

Colin Campbell said...

I was surprised at how many miles of canal there were. I understand from a commentator on the radio that you can go from the south coast to around Manchester by canal.

I was also intrigued by the idea of another commentator on slowing down planes to save fuel. How much would you be willing to increase your travel time to save some money and the environment?

Harry Hook said...

I see that Defra has cut the money that keeps the waterways working... mainly because of all the EU fines they have incurred.

So, it looks like the future is wind powered roller skate shaped.

jmb said...

Dream on, laddie. But few share that dream you can be sure.

Gallimaufry said...

Constructing a supersonic monrail suspended from skyhooks would be cheaper and more practical, alas.
The problem is gradient and your photo of a flight of locks illustrates the point. Motorways and trunk roads can have steeper gradients (yet additional climbing lanes are needed for lorries) than rail and canals. Massive areas of land would need to be turned into locks and reservoirs to satisfy their demands for water. It would be easier to flood the whole country. Also the canals (except Manchester Ship Canal)are too small for lighters carrying standard containers and are crammed with leisure users.

CherryPie said...

I am not safe in control of a boat!

jams o donnell said...

I say we go back to sail. I'll have a head start.. I know all the lingo from Ptrick O Brien books! Helms a-lee, two points abaft the beam and so on

Anonymous said...

Malaria, for one thing.

mutleythedog said...

Wonderful idea.. I am not going anywhere this summer.

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Thank ye all but Mutley wins the prize for most encouraging.

Dragonstar said...

I love the idea. Bring back the canals! Keep them smallish though - too many people rush everywhere these days.

Tom said...

Good Job! :)