Oh gawd… very nice that it seems they’ve obtained the money for a Birmingham New Street station makeover, but sad to see that “airport-style waiting areas” are still on the agenda, at which you would have to sit and wait (or, more likely, stand while enduring muzak, mobile phone yak, and TV screens) before being beckoned forward en-masse and trampled in the rush as 300 people dash down the stairs to get the best seats on the train. No, no, no. Could we, just for once please, have a Birmingham building that’s actually planned by the people who will use it frequently?

The only thing that might make it work is if they were to segregate local train passengers from inter-city passengers, ban local ‘short-hop’ passengers from inter-city trains, and enforce seat reservations on inter-city trains. But I doubt bans and reservations would be politically acceptable in the current climate, as it would smack of ‘elitism’. And there may be technical barriers; the Virgin trains onboard seat-reservation system, like the air-conditioning, has always been very haphazard and prone to failure.