Thursday, September 07, 2006

Million dollar ideas

Every so often I get a brainwave for something that would be a ‘million dollar idea’. Recently Irony Boy has been the recipient of frantic emails from me outlining a potential million dollar website – ideas that are usually swiftly rebuffed by the self-appointed Web Tyrant.

Anyway, the other day I had a brilliant idea. In my office the one smoker in the building often nips out the back door for an ‘oxygen break’. Unfortunately this means that his pungent cigarette smoke wafts up through our second floor windows, which are always open because we have no air-con and the office is always way too hot. The other day, when the second hand smoke was being particularly annoying I joked that I was going to bring in a super-soaker water pistol to douse the source of the toxic fumes, and that’s when I had my idea:

Million dollar idea #1: The Smoker Soaker
This would be a small, concealable, but highly accurate, water pistol that you could use to squirt people smoking in annoying places, like restaurants or cinemas. For added irony, they’d come in a variety of colours, all of which looked a bit like cigarette packets, e.g. red/white, gold, purple, white with a royal blue stripe. That would make them collectible as well.

Million dollar idea #2: The Car Trainsporter
I don’t know why we don’t have roll-on, roll-off car-carrying trains in this country. It would make a lot of sense to me to be able to drive onto a train in Cardiff, then have a nice relaxing train ride up to Newcastle, drive off and have all the convenience of having my car with me and none of the six-hour cross-country slog.

I’d envision this working with car-loading points in big cities, away from current stations, as usually there are loads of redundant minor stations in areas ripe for redevelopment (or even using stations just outside big cities but which are right on the motorway). The trains, of course, wouldn’t need to stop in itty-bitty places and because you’d have your car with you, it would be fine if say the nearest car-loading point was fifty miles away from your home, and your exit point was fifty miles away from your eventual destination.

The pros of car-trainsporters:
Not having to drive on Britain’s hellish motorways for hours and hours and hours.
More environmentally friendly than air travel
No check in palaver – again better than air travel
Saves on petrol and wear and tear on the car – lower mileages mean lower insurance premiums; no chance of breaking down on the way
The trains could have buffet/restaurant cars, newsagents etc – this would also be a pro from the point of view of the train operator because they’d virtually have a captive audience
Much quicker journey times, although that is dependent on the reliability of the rail system. Hmmm.

The cons of car-trainsporters
Britain’s railway system sucks and it’s getting worse
Rail travel is already expensive – this wouldn’t be cheap
It can be pretty boring sitting in a car or sitting on a train, so how boring will it be sitting in a car while on a train?
It would take time to load up and unload
New car-loading stations would need to be built, and possibly new motorway junctions

But even so, it’s a million dollar idea. Feel free to use it…

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