This Euston Station thing is really no big deal; after all we have to trim things back all along the route. The engineers have found a really good way of cutting costs in the sticks that involves increasing the trackbed height. I understand that this saves money because it means less digging out and it generates lower quantities of excavated spoil to dispose of. Even better, by salami slicing you can make really big changes over time and the mugs – sorry I mean local community representatives – will hardly notice.
Unfortunately, before my time here some idiot put out a newsletter claiming that we had reduced the environmental impact of the route by lowering it. Far be it for me to criticise, but what a hostage to fortune that was. Obviously all that environmentally-friendly, tree-hugging stuff has to go out of the window now that we are in full cost-saving mode. Still the newsletter was published over two years ago, so hopefully no one will remember.
Anyway, the PM says that HS2 will be “transformational” and he certainly needs some sort of miracle transformation to his fortunes. Now I must have a word with my opposite number at Downing Street; “transformational” seems a bit of an overstatement, even by the standards of the spin doctor code. However, I am personally prepared to go along with it; after all who am I to disagree with Number 10? The point is that the Government clearly thinks that it is in its interests to support HS2, and it is the Government that pays my salary – I know to which side of my bread the low-fat spread has been applied. So it is for the greater good, isn’t it, and you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs, even when the eggs in question are large parts of our countryside. So, as far as I am concerned, the environment can go hang, and good riddance says I. Since I hardly ever leave London, it’s no skin off this particular proboscis.
You really shouldn’t let me prattle on so. Now where was I? Oh yes, Euston Station.
Now I’m totally fed up with the Camden locals. Our new scheme will save them, and rail passengers, years of disruption. Sure, things will still be pretty bad, but at least we will have more than a fighting chance of getting it all finished at some stage; the old scheme could have dragged on for ever. So are the miserable so-and-sos happy? Not a bit of it. All that we hear from that direction is grumbles.
The new proposal lacks “permeability” they say, citing the poor provisions for pedestrians to cross the site and the lack of routes to carry vehicles east/west and cyclists north/south. They really aught to realise that HS2 Ltd is here to build a train service, not to sort out local traffic problems – isn’t that what they have a local council for?
They also moan about the affect that we might have on air quality, which is, as they are keen to point out, already the worst in London. Now that may be true, but I don’t think that they can expect us to concern ourselves with trifles like that. It may be the case that our plan for taxi cabs to drop off on the east side of the station complex and pick up on the western side is not exactly going to help this problem, by generating unnecessary local vehicular traffic, but really what do they expect us to do about it? Needs must, you know and we have to concentrate on what we can do in the (arbitrary) budget that has been set, rather than worry about inconsequentials such as particulate levels.
One thing that the locals do seem to have sussed out, curse them, is that the new design appears to be wanting in the provision of over-site development for offices, businesses, recreation and much-needed replacement homes. One of my drinking pals who works here is an engineer, and he tells me that developing over the existing station building would be a total nightmare. So I think that this is one area that we need to remain very vague about. Mum’s the word! It’s a real shame though, because the development potential was something that we could have really pushed as a big plus for HS2.
One thing that I really must include in the press release is the really cool artist’s impression that someone here has splashed out on. It actually shows the buildings around Euston Station that will remain after we have done our worst, but without identifying them of course. That should tempt someone, probably that ass who writes the blogs on the environment, to try and work out if there is any change in the buildings on the demolition list. Well good luck to the poor clown, but we won’t give him any help.
Then there is that ridiculous proposal they call “DDD”. Now I thought that was the cup size of my favourite girlfriend, but it turns out that it is an alternative station design that avoids all the mayhem that we will inflict on the local community. Now I don’t know why a bunch of amateurs think that they can design stations better than we can. It may be that the crowd of plebs in west London got it right about a tunnel being the best solution, but that was just lucky. When it comes to complicated matters like station design, we know that we are right. We are so sure about this that we don’t even have to investigate alternative suggestions, like the DDD, properly; all we need is our instinct.
I thought that it might be a good idea to spice this press release up with a couple of quotes. I tried my boss but, to be honest, I really didn’t understand what he was on about; something about forecasts being forecasts. I couldn’t put that in the press release; someone might think that I had lost the plot. I asked if the Chief Executive could oblige, but was told that she had locked herself in the toilet.
So I guess that I will have to manage without. I think that it’s time for another skinny latte.