This from the Beeb's news website this morning:
"HS2 phase two route details announced... The preferred route of phase two running northwards from Birmingham will have five stops at: Manchester; Manchester Airport; Toton in the East Midlands; Sheffield; and Leeds."
Toton? Where the fcuk is Toton? I've lived in the East Midlands for 46 years and I'd never heard of it.
With the aid of Google Maps I found it hiding near Long Eaton in that No-Man's Land that's not quite Nottingham and not quite Derby. 30 miles from here as the crow flies. Oh, and it's on the Trent floodplain, so that'll be nice if the country's tendency to suffer from regular deluges continues to increase.
We're looking at spending at least 32 billion quid (money that we don't actually have) to get a few posh nobs (the only ones that will be able to afford tickets) to work 45 minutes earlier. These are folk that are probably rich enough to be able to lose 45 minutes of salary a day anyway. If those 45 minutes are really that important to them, why can't they get the hell out of bed a bit earlier and save us all a fortune? We could use some of that 32 billion quid to buy them all decent alarm-clocks and then spend the change on things that really matter, or better still just don't borrow it all in the first place.
There is a better solution anyway - the posh nobs could move closer to where they work, and leave the rest of the country to those who know how to look after it. Maybe then the Chilterns won't need to be trashed and the new Curzon Gate student digs in Brum won't need to be ripped down before or just after completion (link).
And then there's the bigger question... do we really need a rail network? Most of the time the one we already have isn't effectively integrated into the transport network anyway, the integration nodes being made from sticky-back plastic, bits of string and the elastic from a pair of Val's old knickers. Rail is a restricted and archaic transport system - it only takes you where the tracks go. That's why travelling by road/path/cycle-path, and to a certain degree by air, is so much more flexible - it permits options. Iceland has never had a rail system and it's hardly a third-world country.
They say that HS2 will create jobs. Maybe. For the predicted annual influx of 50,000 Bulgarians and Romanians, perhaps.
Interestingly, there's nothing in the plans regarding the construction of a bridge over the North-South Divide. This implies that said divide must be somewhere to the north of Leeds
Oh well, if we're all going to Hell in a handcart at least the rich will get there first. Us minions may yet have a little respite from them before we get to the End of the Line. Maybe the toffs will put the kettle on and have tea and cucumber sandwiches waiting for us.
HS2. Highly Suspect too.
Where's my Valium?