Sunday, 20 May 2007
narrow gauge pointer to future development
We're all going to need many many more railways in the future, but what form will they take? As the roads vanish under weeds we'll still need to move around, perhaps not as much as we do now, but goods will need to come into and out of towns, some people will still work some distance from their homes and hopefully there'll still be enough surplus income for most of us to continue to have holidays.
The rail network will no doubt expand back up to its pre-Beeching levels, but that will still leave large swathes of the country rail-less, because rail development was actually cut short in the early years of the twentieth century by the economic oddity of cheap oil. The most likely solution will be community light railways, many of which will probably be more successful (and certainly cheaper to construct and run) if of narrow gauge.
Switzerland has a superb network of (mainly) metre-gauge routes that reach the places the standard gauge lines can't. Very few Swiss lines have closed, and those that have were mainly for misguided political reasons taken before Peak Oil was a major issue. In fact in the past few years several new lines have been opened, often at huge expense. The Swiss are some considerable way further along the sustainable development curve than us!
So, if you're looking for a Peak-Oil-Proof investment why not look at railway construction companies or rolling-stock manufacturers. I particularly fancy Parry People Movers, not yet a quoted plc but likely to become one as demand for their product soars. Keep checking the business press for developments, as the best time to get your money into these areas is right at the start!