word of the week – ‘railroad’ (reɪlrəʊd).

Great news, HS2, the new £32m high-speed railway is going full-steam ahead. There’s nothing like progress, I always say. No one can ever call me a NIMBY again, because, whether I want it or not, it’s going literally right through my back yard — about 500 metres away, in fact.

It’ll be great… whenever I’m dozing off, editing some turgid copy, a proud symbol of 21-st century Britain will zip past and wake me from my stupor. And regular too, every four minutes, I’ve been told. Just think of the productivity, the positive effect on the GDP.I’ll cheer and wave when the Birmingham fat cats purr by in a flash of wheels and steel. I may even hoist my best red knickers on a stick like Jenny Agutter in the Railway Children. And I’ll do the same when London mob crash past the other way — although I have a feeling that won’t be quite so often.A consultation paper of 55,000 people almost unanimously disagreed with everything about the new line. But what do they know? — this will make Britain great again. Though perhaps there’ll be a few less furry creatures and green bits than we used to have.We’ve been railroaded, no question.

Above: Train drain... not so much a white knight as a white elephant

click to download pdf.