Ironbridge exhibition revisits 'Victorian HS2'
An exhibition has opened showing how the 19th Century equivalent of HS2 rail project split public opinion.
The drawings by John Cooke Bourne have gone on display at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, in Shropshire.
They were originally used to counter critics of the building of the first London to Birmingham line in the 1830s.
Dr Matt Thompson from the museum said the opposition had "direct parallels" with the campaign against the planned HS2 high speed rail line.
"There's a great deal of anxiety about the lasting impact that this might have on the landscape and also whether the benefits are worth the cost," he said.
Dr Thompson said the museum also had satirical cartoons from the period, which were not part of the exhibition, attacking the idea of steam travel.
- HS2 London to West Midlands: £22bn (government estimate)
- London and Birmingham Railway: £5.5m by 1839 (£510m in today's money according to the Bank of England inflation calculator)
Unlike HS2, however, the first London to Birmingham line was funded through a share issue.
Its modern equivalent has similarly split opinion. The Public Accounts Committee questioned its value for money in January, while many residents along its route have protested against the plans.
The Department for Transport has previously said the project would have a "transformational effect" on the country and help "rebalance the economy".
Cost of tickets - London and Birmingham Railway
- 2nd class open carriage: 20 shillings (£1) - £93 in today's money according to the Bank of England inflation calculator
- 2nd class closed carriage: 25 shillings (£1.25) - £116 in today's money
- 1st class: 30 shillings (£1.50) - £139 in today's money
- Mail Coach: 35 shillings (£1.75) - £162 in today's money
- HS2 estimated time from London to Birmingham: 49 minutes
- LBR time London to Birmingham: Six hours for first class trains, which only stopped at main stations - six and a half hours for 2nd class trains which stopped at all stations