Thursday, September 21, 2006
SHOWCASE TECHNOLOGY FOR SCOTLAND - £20 MILLION+
22) Make a 5 hour DVD of Scotland's history. Hire somebody, not part of Scotland's small media, probably from Discovery Channel, to put it together, print up 200 million (at 10p a shot), give it out in Scots newagents & post 1 to every household in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealnd & the USA. Produce a permanent online
library of Scots history articles & programmes acceesible free & with links provided on the DVD.
23) Automate the Glasgow-Edinburgh train on the lines previously discussed with the Glasgow Underground. While the computerisation should still be fairly cheap, in some ways cheaper because rolling stock which cannot be updated could still be transferred to other lines, an impractical operation on the Underground. However if the trains are to be run on the basis of single carriages roughly once a minute some redesigning of platforms would be required. This would not be as fast as a bullet train but, because carriages would leave every minute rather than every 15 it would save an average of 7 minutes. Unlike the Bullet Train it would still be able to stop at Falkirk & Haymarket from which half of current journeys either start or end(alternately only some carriages need do so allowing through carriages to cut times further). It could also be easily linked to Turnhouse Airport by a connecting line. In practice, a much cheaper 24 hour automated system should carry many more people between Glasgow & Edinburgh than a bullet train.
24) Build an automated overhead monorail from the far side of the Forth Rail Bridge to Prince's St in Edinburgh. Use the fact that the rail bridge was, because of the Tay Bridge disaster, a heavily overengineered structure & should be easily able to bear the load of a monorail above the rail tracks. An overhead monorail into Edinburgh would not be subject to traffic jams as trolleys are & have the same cost savings as other automated rail.
25) Provide an automated walkway from Turnhouse airport to stations on both adjoining lines or, if the Glasgow/Edinburgh link is built build a loop to the main terminal.
£100 million to £1 billion
26) Widen the M8 & connect it as motorway to the Edinburgh bypass.
27) Build a deep ocean thermal differential power generator & use it to build a permanent sea base owned by Scotland. (See http://www.4literature.net/story/2002/7/28/115247/145 ). 23
28) Provide bursaries of £10,000 per person & £30,000 per school for the top thousand Higher results in maths & hard sciences. (£40 million a year, £400 in 10 years)
Over £1 billion
29) Automate all of Scotland's train services. This can be done over a period of years. Scotland has a relatively limited rail track & this is something in which we could easily become a world leader. A particular line for upgrading would be the West Highland Line from Glasgow low level to Loch Lomond, Oban & ultimately Fort William. This line has only very few trains per day & thus has relatively little effect in making the Highlands accesable. If run by an automated system it would be possible to run carriages regularly all 24 hours making it fully accessable from central scotland & vice versa. Another advantage of an automated system is that it would make movement of containers in single units practical making them fully competitive with roads.
30) Establish an X-Prize commission giving the full Moon landing & solar power satelite prizes proposed by www.jerrypournelle.com but only applicable to fully Scots programmes (which in practice means nobody will win them & the cost thus be zero). Offer to make this an international prize compatible with any other country or federative state (eg US states) willing to join the fund & contribute proportionately to their GNP. Initially this can be funded by devoting any increase in the Scots Lottery profits plus £49 million (equivalent of our ESA contribution plus any private donations matched by an equal government contribution.
My estimate is that all of these put together, excluding 30, would cost about £3 billion, the expected cost the bullet train alone is estimated at, & that all would have a significant net benefit to the economy.