The BBC have produced a nice piece of propaganda for the government putting the case for High Speed Trains….attempting to both use the romance of rail travel and some ‘hard facts’ that suggest large government HST can save us from disaster.
It is in fact a rather curious piece for the BBC in that it not only enthuses about private investment in the railways, it has a wonderfully ‘Monty Python’ moment with a union man berating British Rail boss Peter Parker, and it also gives an almost glowing testimony to Mrs Thatcher…saying she improved the rail service more than it had been in the previous 20 years (and states Privatisation came after her term in office).
Or rather talking heads were allowed to say such things….such as Prue Leith (once on the Board of BR) saying she was always annoyed by people always clamouring about the Japanese Bullet Train without saying how much it cost and how long it took to develop and how much further improvement it has had since….how unsocialist actually looking at the cost of some great project!
Still you can’t help thinking this was a programme with a message at a time when the government are nearing making a final decision on giving the latest High Speed train development the go ahead. Note the weighted references to lack of government investment and industrial, economic and political troubles…..is that meant to resonate now?
Are they suggesting a massive investment in a single rail line will ‘save’ the country?
You make your own mind up, here are some quotes from various interested parties on the programme:
‘This is the story of how we rediscovered our love affair with high speed rail travel.
During a period of industrial gloom and political upheaval how did the unexpected triumph of the Intercity 125 help save British Rail and give us the Age of the Train?
With inadequate government investment, criticised as overstaffed, out of date and a waste of public money, Parker didn’t have much to smile about as he attempted to modernise the railway at a time of cutbacks.
Their was too much short termism…when you build something like the High speed Train you’ve got something with a life of maybe 30 years.
Parker knew he had to change the way we thought about the railways and he had to take on the doubters.
His legacy lives on. This is still the age of the High speed Train…we owe it to the 125 for rescuing British Rail from destruction, from near collapse in the 70’s. If it hadn’t been for the 125 we’d have been in real trouble.
I think the HST is a train whose time is still coming.’