Chancellor George Osborne announced in his budget statement that for financial reasons the controversial high speed rail link to northerly bits of England is to be cancelled. It is to be replaced by a lower cost approach to improving our rail network.
Code named WD40, the new approach does not rely on building new locomotives and tracks or upgrading existing tracks. Back in 2002 after seeing an advert for a spray can of a lubricant in a DIY magazine, specialists at Railtrack organised a full day of tests to establish the feasibility of just squirting some of the stuff here and there on engines and tracks.
"We were delighted with the results" said Railtrack's Head of Development Mr. Tom Beeching "It worked just like the advert said. All of a sudden trains were running faster, not only that, a lot of the squeaky noises we used to get just went away. Knowing we were on a winner we rushed our results to the Treasury where they have languished until the Chancellor came under a lot of pressure about HS2 and began ferreting about for an alternative."
"Some bloke at the Treasury said he remembered a thing about railways that had initials and numbers too and woke up one morning shouting WD40 to his wife" said Beeching laughing "She told him to behave himself!"
"Anyway, to take a couple of carriages off the train, as us rail folk like to put it, the Treasury had a quick look at our WD40 report, did a couple of calculations and here we are."
A formal announcement from the Department of Transport is to be released later today. We understand that legislation is to be fast tracked through Parliament.