A new multi-million pound cable car service is to launch in Birmingham later as the city responded robustly to Chancellor George Osborne’s call for investment in large-scale infrastructure schemes to boost Britain’s ailing economy.
The cable car scheme, announced today, will be funded by Birmingham City Council and Centro and operated at a generous profit by Travel West Midlands. The cable cars will whoosh and swish through the sky while making a most pleasing, modern-type sound as passengers glide hundreds of feet above gridlocked car-bound Brummies and weary shoppers and office workers trudging through the city centre, past interminable road works, to the new ‘out of town-style’ bus stops.
A spokesman for the PR consultancy employed by both Centro and BCC to oversee the project launch proclaimed: “The £490m Cable Car Birmingham project will put the city brand on the global map, adding value to the Birmingham offer, creating 6,500 permanent and part time jobs in the process while showing the world that the city is truly open for business and shovel ready.”
Birmingham, which as MP Roger Godsiff so helpfully reminded citizens many times during the recent mayoral referendum, does not have an underground system, decided to build the swanky cable car project to cater for the 35m plus visitors Marketing Birmingham recently claimed that it welcomes every year, even if most of them have only come from Solihull, Sandwell and the Black Country.
Cable stops will be opened atop Alpha Tower, the Hyatt Hotel, The Cube, the Orion Building, the Sentinels, Beetham Tower and the Rotunda. After gliding in to the Secret Skyscraper, Birmingham’s newly opened 76-storey colossus, built in a sensitive location entirely out of invisible materials to avoid upsetting the Victorian Society, the 20th Century Society, the Civic Society and the Friends of Moseley Road Baths, the route continues on to Colmore Row’s deserted but ever popular Nat West Tower, the BT Tower and the Big Brum clock tower in Chamberlain Square. An additional stop will be erected on the site of Arena Central in the vague hope that the forever delayed scheme and accompanying V Tower might one day actually get built. The stop will consist of a wooden pole with a ladder resting against it.
TWM announced that the cable cars will not have conductors (“Who do you think we are, the bloody CBSO!” a spokesman was quoted as saying) to avoid unnecessary staff costs, and that their existing range of travel cards will not be valid on the plush new venture, which will slowly rotate and offer passengers a waitress service before the cost of travelling on it rises by six percent above inflation for the next ten years.
A spur line will link to the Campanile at the University of Birmingham (where passengers alight at the Birmingham Usain Bolt stop). Meanwhile, Centro has scrapped plans to paint one of the cable cars gold to celebrate the success of Birmingham athletes at the recent London Olympic Games, after it realised that the city hadn’t produced any gold medallists.
Howard Elston is away.