If you build it, they will come

March 26, 2021
Will HS2 be a white elephant? Read why it might work out.

If you build it, they will come.

Who can forget Kevin Costner in “Dances with Wolves” or his portrayal of Ray Kinsella in “Field of Dreams” where “if you build it, he will come” has been pluralised to “they” over time.

Build what, though?

In the movie. Kinsella was referring to a baseball diamond in a cornfield, that past players would gravitate towards.

There’s something satisfying about the quote in that it carries a message of hope and it’s what that can be applied to so many construction and engineering projects across the globe.

Take the Eiffel Tower in Paris. If you visit that city, you will always look for it and perhaps queue or pre-book to ascend it.  We’re sure, at Raildiary, that when Gustave Eiffel built it from 1887 to 1889 that he would not have anticipated almost 7 million visitors a year. It is the most visited tourist attraction in the world.

He built it, they came.

In droves.

There’s little doubt too that other feats of construction and engineering have enjoyed success beyond their initial cost.

We’ve written before about the cost of the Euro Tunnel and its returns over several decades.

The rail construction project consuming Britain at the moment is the HS2

There’s heated debate across news channels and social media feeds about the value (or folly) of this project, and, as usual, we’ll fence sit but one aspect caught of this mammoth rail construction project caught our eye this week, the new viaduct.

Bridges are expensive to build and maintain, and in Britain, we have a legacy of iconic structures from Ironbridge to the Humber Bridge to the Forth Rail Bridge.

Add to this list, the longest railway bridge in the UK when complete.

Its length of 3.4KM is 1KM longer than the Forth bridge west of Edinburgh, and like that it has many hurdles to clear.

It will cross a group of lakes and waterways across the north west of London at heights of 10 metres.

It will 56 supporting pillars to handle the 6000 tonne of weight.

What’s interesting too from our perspective is that the bridge is being built separately away from the site by Bouygues and VolkerFitzpatrick. Work has already begun too.

The bridge needs engineering like never before - its length and terrain is unique in Britain and it needs to carry trains safely, at 200 MPH. It is anticipated to have a lifespan of 120 years.

There’s other features planned too - like translucent barriers across the viaduct to cut noise and allow passengers to see the valley below.

With lockdown and furlough, many are predicting that the HS2 will become a financial white elephant - but the team at Raildiary are more sanguine.

“If you will build it, they will come.”

Let’s wait and see.

If you build it, they will come

Oliver Donohue

Snr Account Manager

Snr Account Manager

Raildiary LinkedIn
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