Worth reading 155: If you start with a free ball

You Thought London Mayoral Candidates Couldn’t Get Worse – Alex Harrowell on how mayoral systems promote celebrity politics over policies, with the inevitable results.
The Share-the-Scraps economy – Is the ‘share economy’ merely a euphemism to hide the monetization of every part of our lives?
IEA Exhumes Flat Earth Idea – Zelo Street points out several (though by no means all) of the IEA’s ‘let’s pave over the railways’ proposal.
Two spells that need to be broken – Very interesting piece by John Pugh MP for the Social Liberal Forum on the mistakes the party made in becoming part of the establishment.
No, ministers – more surveillance will not make us safer – Cory Doctorow on how the Snoopers’ Charter and other mass surveillance schemes keep getting proposed because there’s a lot of money in them for some people.

Reopening old railway lines

I discovered the Subterranea Britannia site when I was writing my post about the Redditch rail tunnel the other week and intended to browse some more through it, but had forgotten until reading Jonathan Calder’s post today about disused railway stations.

While it’s interesting to just browse through some of the old station names – and wonder if anyone in the years when they were opened travelled between Hope High Level and The Dyke – I noticed a mention of the Stour Valley Line, and discovered that not only did there used to be a line running from Cambridge to Sudbury (and thence to Colchester and beyond) but that there was a group campaigning to bring it back.

I’m mentioning it here more as a reminder to do more research into this area in the future, but I’m interested in their estimate that rebuilding the line would cost around £90-100m pounds. While it’s a large sum of money, it also seems rather cheap compared to the £500m suggested as the cost of upgrading the A120 from Braintree to Marks Tey, and I’d be interested to know more about whether that estimate is reasonable or not. So, if anyone out there reading this has more information on the costs and economics of building new rail lines, please let me know.