A word of encouragement to our transport, planners, strategists, managers and politicians
Only for the last fifty years our dear transport, planners, strategists, managers and darling politicians (from councillors to MEPs) have been resolute and persistent in thinking that urban railway lines were for cars and lorries to use and, for homes and hotels to be run down them. An intriguing departure from normal transport practice. About 80 Km in the Black Country and Birmingham have gone this way.
More by accident than design, one main line railway was not destroyed for homes, trading estates and roads. Indeed, such is progress that our terrific transport personnel are now turning the UK’s most important, unused but easily reinstated, double track intercity line into use by two different kinds of slow trams. We are now to have Very Light Rail and Light Rail, very slow and slow - a shuttle tram and a Midland Metro tram - going on 9 Km out of 65 Km that are unused - unused for passenger trains, would you believe - on this nationally vital but overlooked 120 Km main line railway between Worcester and Derby.
Yet, the lot of them do, ultimately, want the trains. They genuinely think that Metro trams “are the basis for restoring heavy rail services at the appropriate time” (letter dated July 2000 from Tom Magrath, Passenger Services Director, Centro and repeated last year). This is complete idiocy!
However, things are definitely looking up. From being drunk and incapable with their success in putting cars, lorries and buildings instead of trains down rail lines, they have now improved to an E grade. From F grade to E grade in now being only less than competent by running slow trams that stop almost as frequently as buses on double tracks that are desperately needed for commuter and intercity trains between London and the North via the Black Country.
£55.7 billion for HS2. Not a dickey bird for the 115 Km double track railway lines in the West Midlands without a single passenger train or station. Homebase was built on one station in Brum - Kings Heath!
£6 million per Km for Scotland’s new, rural, rail line last year, according to RailNews.
£106 million per Km for Birmingham - Brum getting all the money, yet again - for road running Metro trams to replace buses to grandiose Grand Central Shopping Centre and diesel perfumed, basement station. A similar sum of £106 million per Km for the status symbol trams to the even more prestigious HS2 stations for Brum. The £128 m for 1.2 Km did include 21 new trams to replace the 16 year old trams, according to RailNews. So, say £80 m per Km for trams to the HS2 station and beyond.