Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Street?

Reading up on the long-overdue £128 million investment announced by the Government yesterday, I noticed the following things:

1) It is only £128 million and not £350 asked for the complete redevelopment of the station. It will be spent "underground" on the rail infrastructure and platforms, so this naturally lighted glass structure has not yet been agreed.

2) Most of the money is coming from increased fares. The Government has actually cut funding for the railways so the passenger will be paying 75% of the costs in 2014 rather than 50% now.

3) The Government was interested in the more sensible Grand Central Station idea

4) There will be no decision until 2012 at the earliest whether or not to build a new line between London and Birmingham, despite the fact that the current route is predicted to be full by 2016. There is talk of resurrecting the disused Grand Central route, but this would have the same maximum speed (125mph) as now and there are no plans for a high speed rail link, which has previously been mooted (see link for 2)

All in all, not such a great deal then. It is good that there will be some investment in the station of course, but it is likely in 10 years we will still have a concrete station stuck between a car park and a shopping centre.

A far cry from the station that was once written about in the following manner:

"that station alone is enough to make one proud of being a modern Englishman".

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