Cuban waves

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The Independent Online

We will be nostalgic for them in a couple of years' time, no doubt. Nobody wanted to cross the Channel in hovercraft any more - they were claustrophobic and noisy and you could not see out of the spray-spattered windows - but it can't be long before they are recalled fondly in tranquillity.

We will be nostalgic for them in a couple of years' time, no doubt. Nobody wanted to cross the Channel in hovercraft any more - they were claustrophobic and noisy and you could not see out of the spray-spattered windows - but it can't be long before they are recalled fondly in tranquillity.

All is not lost, however, because it turns out that new hovercraft will still be built for export to Cuba, a kind of island-sized transport museum with its finned Chevrolets from pre-boycott America, many now powered by Russian Lada engines.

This is good news, because transport classics are like endangered species, and countries like Cuba are like zoos. The open-backed Routemaster London bus is doing sterling service in Sri Lanka, for example, often still promising "Sloane Square - Putney Heath" on the front. Which means that when a populist London mayor like Ken Livingstone pledges to reintroduce the nostalgia-bus on many routes, there are still some available for him to buy.

How long before Britain re-imports hovercraft from the Caribbean?

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