This month all the major political parties reiterated their support for building Hs2, much to the frustration of the anti Hs2 campaign who’ve clearly had their bluff called. The antis may be busy on social media pretending otherwise but in the real world it’s clear their campaign’s unraveling rapidly. None of the major political parties see them as a credible political force they’re going to lose any sleep over. Only UKIP & the Greens oppose Hs2 & this week UKIP unveiled their Hs2 campaign poster. I have to say, it’s stunning in its blandness. ‘UKIP will stop Hs2 before it runs out of control’ it whimpers.
Nigel Farage travelled to the Chilterns to launch the poster along with UKIPs local Candidate, Chris ‘imaginary friends’ Adams (of Twitter fame, see previous blog). Here’s a report from the Western Morning News;
Note Farage’s claim that “Penzance is five hours 11 minutes from Paddington. It was quicker to get to Penzance before the First World War”.
Really Nigel? Let’s examine that claim shall we?
Today’s fastest service between the two is the 10.06 Paddington – Penzance which takes 5hrs 5mins (not 5hr 11mins as Farage claimed, no train service takes that time). It stops at Reading, Exeter, Newton Abbot & Plymouth before it enters Cornwall.
Sim Harris, the Managing Editor of Railnews (and a Cornishman himself) tells me this: “The best London-Penzance times in 1902 and 1947 were c.9h30 and 7h00 respectively. In summer 1960 (still with steam) the 10.30 ex Padd managed 6h05 (but this was non-stop as far as Plymouth, where an engine change was required). In 1971 the best time was 5h35, but that was again the 10.30. (*others were still taking 6h00+).
Only the BR Intercity 125s made the present timings possible”.
So, Farage is caught out telling porkies yet again. There’s a surprise!
UPDATE at 18:44.
A few hour after I’d written this, Virgin Trains East Coast MD had done some research through copies of the old Bradshaw timetables & tweeted this;
“Bradshaws 1922 timetable has the Limited dep Paddington 1030, arrive Penzance 1700. Stops at PLY, TRU, Gwinear Rd & St Erth.”
That’s 6hrs 30mins – far short of the current 5hr 05mins. David’s second tweet revealed some genuine pre WW1 timings:
“From Oct 1906 after Westbury route opened, best Pad-Pz journey time was 6h35, cut to 6h30 in 1914 (on the 1030). Now it’s 5h05”
So, there we have it – Farage’s factoid farrago. Once again UKIP haved proved that – as far as they’re concerned, facts are what you make up.
For those who enjoy such things, here are the 1902 & 1922 timetables;
1902 GWR TT A