Remember 35 years ago, when Mrs T arrived in Downing Street helped along by a group of advisors that included Alfred Sherman? Both are now part of history, and so is one of Sherman’s more truly barking ideas: closing large parts of the railway network and converting them to busways. Those who commute via the Chiltern line out of London’s Marylebone terminus may not know how close that line got to being thus converted.
Which part would you like to tarmac over, IEA people? London Midland Euston-bound service on the West Coast Main Line
But now, in order to keep the otherwise unemployable but ideologically pure in gainful employment, the IEA has exhumed Sherman’s ideas. Co-authored by one Richard Wellings, last seen on Zelo Street trying to dismantle the business case for HS2 by making up large, scary and fictitious numbers while pretending freight capacity could be provided by more and heavier lorries on motorways, this report does not stand serious analysis.
[UPDATE 6 February 1445 hours: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog find themselves in one of those Very Difficult Positions today as, having seen the IEA "report" get its customary and well deserved rubbishing, they have in the meantime accepted the money to run a "sponsored post" on it.
Under the title "Getting on the right track", The Great Guido tells readers that the IEA "hit the headlines this week with its suggestion that busy rail lines could be converted to express busways", although very few headlines were in fact hit. The post also asserts that the IEA "concluded that this would radically reduce commuter overcrowding", which it did not.
The word was "could": the Fawkes folks can't even copy and paste honestly. Then they repeat the howler: "The think tank has also put forward other innovative measures that would get Britain`s creaking transport systems moving again – and ease the burden on the hard-pressed taxpayer".
Having posted that - and apparently stopping anyone from commenting - The Great Guido can only sit and watch as the ridicule rains down. Another fine mess]