Obviously. HS2 is either a very good idea, or a very bad idea, depending on your opinion thereon. I am sure that we can, at least. all agree on that.

For those of you furth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland who may not be totally up to date with said HS2, it’s a proposed high speed link between the Great Wen and parts midlandish and northwards thereof. One day, it might even make it as far as Caledonia (stern and wild). Provided, of course, that you are still talking to us by then. 

Whatever. I’ve decided that I would, myself, like the whole thing called off right now. I’ve been watching the debate on the second reading of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands-Crewe) Bill and I am now incandescent.

MP after MP has been saying ‘Haitch’ when referring to the ‘HS2’ proposal. This is deeply wrong and they should all know better.

I blame Edward Boyle, Minister of Education from 1962-64 and nearly every other Mister of Education since then for this perversion. Their deliberate mangling and serial neglect of our language has led us to this sorry state of affairs.

It should go without saying that the correct pronunciation is ‘Aitch’.

And, while we’re on the subject, it’s ‘scone’ and not ‘scone’ or ‘scone’.

17 thoughts on “HS2”

  1. A good evening to you, Admiral Mackie.

    I side with Boylesy and the ministers of education on this. Language and pronunciations mutate over a period and in this case we have added an aitch, I mean, haitch to the word use. This evolvement is because no one wants to go furth down the cockney road and drop the H : ‘arrods, Prince ‘arry, West ‘am, ‘ovis, ‘ippopotamus. Trust our educators to educate.

    Where in the loft do you stand with the word hatch? Are you going to do a hatchet job with this and chop off its H? Atch your age John and move with the times.

    Earts, Earts, glorious Earts.

  2. I think it should be abandoned forthwith as being far too expensive and deleterious to the population who owns the property through which it travels. No one will be able to afford the fares anyway. The money should be spent improving what is there all ready which would generally speed it all up a bit. With or without the H.
    Anyone in that much of a hurry can fly anyway.

  3. In the 1800s it was common to not aspirate the “h” in hospital and hotel among other words. The “Haitch” is arguably an overcompensation. As for HS2, scrap the blasted thing. It’s a brutally expensive vanity project. For high speed trains to operate at their maximum velocity, they need to travel long distances. The UK is simply too small and the population too unevenly concentrated for it to even be worth it. Rural transport is suffering due to budget cuts, but HM’s Treasury can find billions to cut half an hour off a London-Brum train ride. This isn’t going over well in deepest, darkest Dorset where several towns are being threatened with transport isolation. I shan’t worry about England and Scotland being on speaking terms, with the way Wee Nippy and the SNP are tying themselves in knots as they prepare their political gallows…

  4. Never mind the awful ‘H’aitch, I’m sick of all the BBC bods talking northern with their blasted short vowels polluting my ears since Auntie moved to Manc-land. It sounds so common and dirty.
    Where I come from one mows one’s grarse then draws a barth and enjoys a glarse of wine. They don’t even drink wine in the north…..that’s how it should be done.

    As for HS2, why would anyone want to get oop north any quicker?

  5. Watch your backs!

    The last I heard “officially” reported in the news here in the USA, there was still a lot of discussion, not to mention argument and confusion, regarding a possible high speed rail line between Dallas and Houston.

    Well, then (as the Welsh like to begin a good bit of gossip), according to an NHK (Japanese TV) show I recently saw, it’s all miraculously done and dusted, with service expected to begin in 2023 and Japan Railways, who will be exporting the latest model N500A Shinkansen (“bullet train”) stuff, good for up to 285 km./hr., to the USA, already having set up an office in Dallas.

    It’s amazing how some projects seem to get approved in the dead of night, when nobody is looking. One darkly suspects that someone, somewhere, is personally going to make out very well on this.

    I can’t help but wonder how, when UK rail passengers are already screaming about how they’re being squeezed for ever-higher fares, the promoters of the “HS2” scheme expect to ever have enough posteriors in seats to make the fool thing pay off. No skin off my nose, so to speak, just so long as no public funds are poured into it. What the Haitch?

  6. HS2 is hugely expensive £56bn and climbing. I think that paradoxically this may be the reason it gets built. Think of the huge fees to be earned by the armies of consultants, lawyers, accountants and bankers. These people have vested interest in making HS2 happen they’ve got influence and savvy they’ll know exactly who to buy off and for how much.
    If you put HS2 to a referendum I’m sure the result would be a resounding ‘nyet’ not that the establishment has much time for popular opinion.

  7. Ach weel…..respectable cisatlantic dictionaries do not recognise ‘haitch’ as a word. The common comparison with ‘hotel’ is spurious, since the ‘otel usage is based on the French origin of the word. I suspect ‘haitch’ derives from defective teaching/learning of the alphabet. Onomatopoeia – thy name is mud.

  8. Janus: It’s an overcompensation. In the past many were more likely to not aspirate the initial aitch. Teaching methods aimed at “correcting” this resulted in aitches getting put where they don’t belong, including the letter itself!

  9. There’s talk here of a super-fast train, at enormous expense, to cut a few minutes off the journey between the Gold Coast and Brisbane – no one seems to even consider spending the money on improving local transport. Why would they – super-speed trains are glitzy – local transport is boring.

    Cog… I believe that Americans generally call herbs – erbs -it’s very disconcerting! I don’t know how you pronounce other words beginning with an ‘h’ – but I’m pretty sure that you don’t call hospitals – ospitals – or do you?

    Still, I have to own that it is a bit odd that we call the letter ‘h’ – aitch and not haitch. Just one of the oddities of the English language I suppose…

    JM – I do, of course, pronounce ‘scone’ as ‘scone’ and not ‘scone’ or scone… Delighted I have it right 🙂

  10. On the topic of Aitch ESS Two, large infrastructure projects create jobs and attract investment. The wheels have to keep turning……

  11. Janus: Of course you mean Haitch Ess Two.
    Anyway the money could be better spent on other less glamorous infrastructure projects….like fixing the f*****g roads for a start and providing better routes for cyclists and pedestrians.
    And if there’s any change left over bung it in the direction of the NHS !

  12. Boadicea: Are we sure it’s not “scoons?” I’d never even try to pronounce the name anyway because, as soon as I get within reach, I’d be stuffing them into my mouth.

    The American practice of dropping the “h” from “herbs” also bothers me, so much so that I’ve been known to bother people right back by using the British pronunciation.

    “Hospital,” on the other hand, is always pronounced with the initial “h.” When our nearest such establishment has been particularly annoying, however, I sometimes refer to them as being run by the Sisters of Perpetual Profit.

    As for high speed trains, any “glitz” factor seems quite eclipsed by the memory of the Concorde. In Japan, where fares are realistic enough that Shinkansen are more or less part of the regular rail network, shorter travel times have actually proven economically advantageous. Here’s what NHK’s website has to say in the written introduction to an episode (video available for streaming) about one particular line:

    “In 2015, the Hokuriku Shinkansen connected between Tokyo and Kanazawa. 3 years on, hotel construction around Kanazawa terminal is ongoing, tourist numbers have increased and the number of luxury liners stopping at Kanazawa Port has tripled. Meanwhile, the number of people visiting nearby Toyama City has decreased and the city is working hard to attract more visitors. See the economic effects of the Hokuriku Shinkansen after 3 years.”

  13. Cog: Some 75pc of the Japanese population, roughly 90 million in total, live along the Yamata Plain which stretches from greater Tokyo to the southern tip of Honshu. Other pockets of population density are conveniently located. Japan is, thus, geographically ideal for high-speed rail. France and Germany, also home to well-developed high speed rail systems, are large countries with a less uneven distribution of population than the UK. Taiwan’s HSR is found on the densely populated western plain and connects the capital, Taipei, to the island’s second largest city, Kaohsiung. The population is spread out enough to warrant high speed rail. In the UK, South East England and Greater London account for a third of the national population. The remaining population centres in England are either close enough to be reached within reason by regular rail or better served by a short flight operated out of regional airports. HS2 also doesn’t take into account the needs of those not living in London. I looked into going to Liverpool. It would be calamitously difficult to get there without going over London, even if that means going to the opposite, and wrong, end of England first.

  14. jazz, I love cyclists dearly but be careful what you wish for. Few Brits would like the bike-state Denmark is becoming. High-speed lycra-clad missiles around every corner.

  15. Definitely should be “Aitch ” only, just lazy not to. Also what annoys me is incorrect use of words, e.g. “loose” when “lose” is meant. Whether this is bad spelling or not I would not know.

    BTW, Aitch Ess Two is a VERY bad idea. A complete waste of money!!

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