Monday, 7 January 2013

Transport missing from Mid-Term Review

The only interesting thing in a very dull document was the complete omission of transport as a heading.

In happier news it allowed CamClegg to re-re-re-announce one or two rail projects.

Page 11 of the Together in the National Interest document offered the following tidbits:

We will further invest in infrastructure by:

  • expanding our railway programme to create an ‘electric spine’ from Southampton to Yorkshire, electrify the South Wales Valleys railways, establish a western rail link to Heathrow, invest in the Northern Hub and create enough capacity for 140,000 extra daily commutes at peak times by the end of 2019;
  • moving as rapidly as possible towards a national high speed rail network by carrying forward legislation for the first phase between London and Birmingham;
  • upgrading transport in the capital city through Crossrail, Thameslink and by supporting an extension of the Northern Line to Battersea Power Station;
The flavour of the document was perhaps best given by the front cover which appeared to show some rail workers turning their backs on the country.

Or were they perhaps preparing to moon, in response to the Coalition's thin document?

UPDATE: This from Globetrotter...

Am I the only person to be intrigued by the commitment to providing ‘enough capacity for 140,000 extra daily commutes’ without saying where or when, or over what distance? 

With this degree of vagueness, one might envisage delivering a vast increase in capacity by re-doubling and resignalling for 12-car trains at 2 min headways between Grosmont and Whitby, for example.
Given the Westminster village focus, one might presume that Dave ‘n’ Nick mean journeys in and out of London, although Crossrail and Thameslink won’t be ready in the life of this coalition, and our northern friends could legitimately argue that their need is greater in the short term. 

A rough estimate suggests it is equivalent to around 4% more passenger journeys per day across the network, which is barely enough to keep up with recent growth in demand.
And of course, grammatically-literate historians might argue that they are talking about increasing booking office capacity to sell that number of season tickets. Or perhaps not?