Many futuristic ideas about life in 20165 seem distinctly old-fashioned. Electric flying cars and elevated monorails come from Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis or from Le Corbusier’s plans for an ideal city in the 1920s. The magnetic levitation (Maglev) monorailway as proposed by WestOxMonorail was invented more than half a century ago. Very few lines have ever been constructed and some, as in Sydney, have already been closed, as they are expensive and impractical. Elevated railways need elevated stations, with lifts, stairs and escalators, switching trains from one track to another is very complicated and two tracks are necessary for the two directions, and it is very difficult to rescue passengers in the event of a crash or breakdown. Their only useful function is in airports and amusement parks.

As for a mile-long tunnel from The Plain to the railway station, it may be thinkable but the civil engineering is not feasible. Transport subways need access ramps at each end, and it would be necessary to demolish half of St Clements to construct the access at the east end. The subway would need stations, and it would be not be possible to have lifts and escalators coming up in the middle of the High Street or at Bonn Square. The ideal future transport could be provided by electric trams running in the street, as proposed in a recent paper by Nicholas Falk and Reg Harman. Trams are quiet, clean and fume-free, with modern technology they can run without overhead wires in the historic city centre.