Hornby has emerged as the winner of a £33bn contract for 'HS2', a high speed rail link between London and the North. The project, which will be built in 1:1 Gauge, has been described as 'unrealistic' and 'a bit boring' by critics, but the announcement will come as a relief to workers in the lichen and plastic church industries.
"Ministers were impressed by our plans for calming local opposition to the route", explained Malcolm Dent, Hornby's head of Planning and Training. "We're replacing garish, modern locomotives with Thomas the Tank Engine, and villages are actually campaigning to have the line moved closer to them. That shouldn't be a problem: the glue hasn't set yet."
Hornby's bid was unique in combining electric power with realistic 'chuffing' noises, and a model giraffe that ducks before tunnels. There are still some issues to overcome: none of the doors on either the carriages or stations appear to open, and disabled access is limited due to the wheelchairs being all glued up. Rail enthusiasts are opposing plans to scrap the original boxes the trains came in, which are taking up a large area of Surrey.
Services on the new line will be operated by a big, plastic dial in a period signal box in Birmingham. Ministers past a certain age are queuing up to have a go: "I let my nephew run the 8.03 service from Manchester to Euston", explained the Transport Sectretary Philip Hammond. "He set a new speed record of 320 miles an hour, and the train only fell off twice. I think we might need to add a bit more folded-up card under that tricky corner at Watford."
ASLEF, the train driver's union, is critical of the proposal, and is demanding the return of realistic, well-painted staff. Members were considering strike action, but have instead chosen to hide the big grey rubber needed to clean the tracks.
Commuters are being offered a replacement Corgi bus service, but heavy congestion is still expected on Salextric's new motorway network. "With hindsight, we should probably have fitted less chicanes", apologised Hammond. "And the M25 lap counter was a mistake. We'd like to encourage people to use alternatives such as PlayStation's Gran Turismo, but this proposal might be too realistic."
Negotiations are continuing between ministers and union leaders, but very quietly in case mum hears and takes their toys away.