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Pay more and more for less and less

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In March 2004, when transport secretary Alastair Darling opened line 1 of the NET tramway in Nottingham, he refused to endorse any extensions or new starts, saying that the government would not ‘pay more and more for less and less‘ (url appears correct, but the Beleben blog is apparently not an approved referrer).

Unfortunately, some of his successors have been all too willing to throw money into highly dubious light rail projects, such as Manchester Metrolink’s Airport line, and the Birmingham City Centre Extension (BCCE) of the Midland Metro.

After years of construction disruption, the first section of the BCCE — to Upper Bull Street — is now scheduled to open on 6 December. Opening of the rest of the track through to Stephenson Street has been postponed to early 2016.

Little shelter from bad weather at the future Midland Metro stop in Bull Street, Birmingham

Little shelter from bad weather at the future Midland Metro stop in Bull Street, Birmingham

 

The total cost of extending Midland Metro by ~600 yards, crow-flies, was over £140 million, because of the need to re-locate bus stops and buy new trams

The total cost of extending Midland Metro by ~600 yards, crow-flies, was over £140 million, because of the need to re-locate bus stops and buy new trams

 

Midland Metro Urbos 3 tram on test in Bull Street, Birmingham

Midland Metro Urbos 3 tram on test in Bull Street, Birmingham

 

Midland Metro tram testing on the Birmingham City Centre Extension, Bull Street

Midland Metro tram testing on the Birmingham City Centre Extension, Bull Street

 

Midland Metro, Birmingham City Centre Extension, Colmore

Midland Metro, Birmingham City Centre Extension, Colmore

 

Seemingly superfluous Midland Metro overhead line support in Stephenson Place, Birmingham

Seemingly superfluous Midland Metro overhead line support in Stephenson Place, Birmingham

Oddly enough, there are no active plans for tramways in central London, where they could plausibly offer transport benefits. Because of the time needed to reach Underground platforms, surface tram travel would be faster for many journeys in zones 1 and 2.

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Written by beleben

December 3, 2015 at 10:59 am

Posted in Birmingham

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