Here’s a fantasy tram system for Truro (pop: 20,000)

Truro Cathedral. Image: Tim Green/Wikimedia Commons.

Continuing our occasional thread of speculative, and frankly pretty silly, transport proposals from readers…

Dear Jonn,

I’ve loved the series of over-ambitious public transport proposals in Citymetric, so I thought I’d do my own, slightly less grand one.

Truro – with a population of around 20,000 – is much smaller than the cities already covered, but I think it’s pretty interesting given the large amount of travel into the city in relation to the population size.

Around 14,000 people commute into the city every day, with this number swelling massively in the touristy summer months. There’s also been rapid development along the western corridor of the A390 to Threemilestone. This includes a new ‘Stadium for Cornwall’ scheduled for completion by next year.

My tram system would follow the A390 from the new Stadium into the city, relieving a massively overcrowded road which is deadlocked at rush hours. There is already a park and ride system along this route but it’s poorly used and buses are still contributing to the traffic problem.

Ooooh. Click to expand.

From the stadium, the tram would stop at the park and ride, Truro College and Treliske Hospital (big sources of traffic) and New County Hall before turning into the city centre, stopping at Truro train station, Royal Cornwall Museum and the bus station. The tram would then pop out of the other side, ending up at the out of town shopping centres and Park & Ride in the east.

A new rail halt at Threemilestone has been discussed, but seems pretty unlikely and wouldn’t relieve Truro College and the Hospital, which make up a large chunk of the traffic. Truro and Threemilestone are unusual being so spread along one road in the west and the traffic is awful. There’s already a fair amount of pedestrianisation in the centre but there’s no real reason for there to be cars in the centre of Truro at all.

Local councils being local councils, this idea doesn’t stand a chance. But it’s fun to think about.        

Owen Winter (@OwenWntr)

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Does it matter that TfL are renaming White Hart Lane station Tottenham Hotspur?

New White Hart Lane. Image: Getty.

Pretend for a moment that you’re travelling in the London of 1932. You’re taking the Piccadilly Line northbound and alight at Gillespie Road station. The name should be obvious: it’s inscribed in bespoke brown tiling on the platform.

But that 31 October, following an intense campaign by the eponymous football club, the London County Council changed the station’s name to Arsenal (Highbury Hill). The area’s growing association with the name “Arsenal” ended in a lengthy negotiation that changed maps, signs and train tickets alike. Football had acquired so much power that it changed the name of not just a Tube station but an entire suburb, even before the era of Wenger or the Emirates.

Now the spectre of name changes is on the horizon once again. As Tottenham Hotspur FC inches closer to completing its new stadium, the club is clamouring for a renamed Overground station. Despite the fact the new stadium is located on almost exactly the same site as the old just off White Hart Lane, and fans have long been calling the scaffolding-laden mess “New White Hart Lane”, the club’s executive director is adamant that the station’s existing name cannot stand. White Hart Lane station, on the Overground line leaving Liverpool Street, is set to be renamed “Tottenham Hotspur”, at a cost to the club of £14.7m.

Little has been made of the fact that this peculiar PR kerfuffle is tied to Spurs’ failure to convince Nike to sponsor the venue. Some sources have even claimed that the sponsorship is yet to be finalised because it is somehow contingent on the renaming of the Overground station; beyond the ridiculous Johnson-era vanity project that was the Emirates Air Line, it seems improbable that TfL will allow any more corporate-flavoured information pollution. There will be no “Nike Stadium” station on the way to Enfield, much as there is no “Emirates” on the way to Cockfosters, especially if public consultation gets a look in.

The scene of the crime. Image: TfL.

But there’s a problem with the new name, all the same. “White Hart Lane” already means “football stadium”, in the same way Loftus Road or Stamford Bridge do. Changing it to “Tottenham Hotspur” risks opening the floodgates to an “O2 North Greenwich” or a “Virgin Euston” at some point in future, names as banal as there are dystopian. The Greater London Authority has promised to spend the £14.7m fee on community programmes in the local area – but that’s not much money to set the precedent that a private company can mess about with the Tube map.

What’s more, as CityMetric has often observed, there are plenty of station names across London that could do with a tidy up. Picking one that’s perfect already and asking for £14.7m to change it is adding insult to injury. How much would it cost a community group if they asked to change the name of Goodge Street to Fitzrovia? Why does a vast corporate entity backed by international sponsors and thousands of season ticket holders get to set the standard?

Back in Arsenal’s day, changing names on the Tube must have been easy; changes could be accommodated gradually without bothering the every day traveller. But in our world of online information, maps and apps, name changes are rather more complicated.

The question is – if TfL can bring itself to balefully accept this particular proposition, why can’t it accept ours? Why sort out a single non-issue on the Tube Map when you can catch lots of real ones in one go? A day’s pandemonium might just be a price worth paying to fix the Bethnal Greens problem once and for all.