Unpublished letter submitted to the Telegraph, 8 September, and the Times, 10 October 2013.
The debate over High Speed 2 has concentrated on polarised for and against, with little consideration over how it could be built better. Holidaying recently in Italy we saw the impressive Italian high speed trains. In Tuscany these are built of viaducts over the valleys and plains. This means the land below can still be used for agricultural purposes and is less of a barrier to users of the countryside than the proposed line in England would be. It removes the need for the huge clearance zone either side of the line. The viaducts though are ugly and tear a scar through the views. That does not have to be the case – the Victorians built beautiful public works. It should not be beyond British Engineers now to do the same – might I suggest Romanesque?
The original draft included the line: "My second visit to Tuscany reminded me why 'New' Labour loved it so much but the viaducts were ugly and tore a scar through the views."