The Government has today called a halt to its proposed High Speed 2 rail link between London and the West Midlands and decided instead to spend the money on ‘moving Birmingham about 10 minutes further south’.
‘For the projected total spend of £43bn for HS2, we think it would be more cost effective simply to rebuild the whole of Birmingham a little closer to London,’ said Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. ‘This would shorten journey times between London and Birmingham by the same amount as HS2, but would also have the added benefit of reducing the length of the M40, delivering a significant boost to the road haulage industry.’
Observers say that the planned relocation of Birmingham would free up thousands of acres of brownfield land where Walsall, Dudley and Sutton Coldfield currently are, permitting development of millions of new homes and kick-starting the construction industry. It would also provide the residents of Birmingham with a few minutes more sunshine each year, and greater opportunity to support Manchester United.
One rejected alternative to HS2 included redrawing the administrative boundaries between London and Birmingham so that they met somewhere around Banbury, reducing the commute between the urban centres to about three minutes. RyanAir had also claimed that it could reduce the length of the train journey between London and Birmingham to about 20 minutes, until it transpired that they were planning to take passengers only as far as Watford by train before putting them on a connecting bus service for the remaining 100-mile journey.
Critics of the plan have noted that moving Birmingham south would only increase its distance from Manchester and Leeds, the other cities planned to be linked by HS2. Residents of both cities have welcomed the move.
Based on an idea by NewBiscuit, with hat-tips to Titus, Arthur and beau-jolly.