The joy of the big railway station revamp
New Street in Birmingham is the latest station to get a new look and smart retail spaces, but some say glitzy projects are not the best way to invest
To cut the ribbon on a major railway station is a minister’s joy. To open a second one in a month – the day after a rousing speech to warm up the Conservative party conference for the chancellor – must have left quite a smile dancing on Patrick McLoughlin’s face. The transport secretary officially reopened the refurbished Manchester Victoria, the city’s northern portal, on Tuesday. Three weeks ago, Birmingham New Street’s £750m transformation saw McLoughlin leave the stage as a troupe of dancers in Network Rail hi-vis outfits, moved to an appropriate words from the Black Eyed Peas: “Let’s live it up. I got my money. Let’s spend it up… “
In a world of controversy over high-speed rail, high rail fares, and the slashing of support to local bus services, revitalising a rail hub wraps politicians in a warm glow. This is spending of which virtually all seem to approve: a tangible improvement for relatively little pain. No wonder the projects keep coming.
Source: Guardian Transport