Friday, 19 October 2018

Sleep walking into a nightmare scenario

I think we are heading for an almighty big crash.  Because Nature/planet earth/life support systems have never before seen such rapid and comprehensive changes on the surface of the planet as us humans have wrought in the last 250 years.  I am thinking of how, in 350 years, we are burning up the earth's fossil fuels that took 350 million years to form.  That is bound to make an unfortunate difference for life on earth.

We have nothing to make us change our behaviours.  The scientists and technologists will be able to come up with something as equally comprehensive and versatile as oil, gas and coal.  Therefore, hoorah!  We can carry on with over-consumption, over-population and living it up for today.  Fantastic.  We can carry on wasting the earth's resources.  We don't have to bother about anything because the government will always ensure that the lights will never go out.  We don't need to worry our little heads when necessity is the mother of invention and our intelligence and reasoning will see us through whatever is thrown at us.

Actually, a shrug of the shoulders response is no longer adequate.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

This Land is Made of Money

3 October 2018

Should this be called stealing from the nation's taxpayers?  And an abuse of trust?

In a time of continued austerity, hundreds of millions of pounds (£1,380 million to 2026) are being spent on converting some lengths of main line railway AND bus routes into tram lines.  Other bus routes are being turned into super special Sprint diesel bus routes with limited stops that mean today’s, less flamboyant buses will still have to be provided for the stops that the Sprint misses out.  Both Metro trams and Sprint, "Metro's little sister", are phenomenally expensive to buy and install. At over £60 m/Km for replacing buses, electric trams are the second most expensive transport mode after HS2 (apart from two Japanese maglev lines).  See my ‘Transport costs per kilometre’.

In addition, buildings are still planned for the tracks and the ONLY feasible site for the re-opening of Dudley Castle Hill main line station.  This idiocy, mind you, on a principal line that Network Rail and the Department for Transport maintain is "a railway of national strategic significance" (letter to self, dated 8 March 2018, from Network Rail and Dept of Transport).

Today, the Shropshire Star has highlighted how West Midlands Railway has caused travel chaos with too few trains and one that broke down.  Would there be more trains to and from Shropshire if the line from Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Low Level had not been turned into a tram line, with the attendant loss of platform 4 at Snow Hill, Low Level station closed, plus 4 or 5 Kms of track?

I call it stunning ineptitude, corporate stupidity and financial illiteracy to disregard the costs of trams for taxpayers when the 120 Kms Black Country Railway desperately needs the return of its commuter and regional trains and stations - NOT  “bus on rails”, trams. It is criminal theft by the governing elite. If they cannot be more honest, they should be locked up. The stolen money should go to extend free bus travel for all (not just the young, the disabled and elderly, like me) and to give electric buses for all.  NO MORE ELECTRIC TRAMS!

Tim Weller (full contact details at the very foot)
timweller1@gmail.com 0791 380 4363       6 October 2018

"MP Fabricant backs cycleway on disused rail route"

Dear Editor

I smiled with delight at the headline, "MP backs cycleway on disused rail route".  At last, a sensible MP wanting the major, 20 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walkway upgraded with an all weather surface and signs to allow many more walkers, commuter cyclists and horse riders to use it.  However, as I continued reading I found that our darling Michael Fabricant MP was actually supporting the half completed 120 Kms Black Country Railway "of national strategic significance" being turned into a cycle-walkway (quote, from letter to self, dated 8 March 2018, from Network Rail and the DfT)!  As I was sitting almost next to him at a Conservative Party meeting in Edgbaston, I tried to speak to him but, I was given the brush off.  The man should have listened and learnt a thing or two! 

Our other VIP is Cllr Roger Lawrence, Transport Boss of all he surveys in the Midlands.  For all his time, as first councillor then Leader of Wolverhampton City Council this man has also wanted trams on only 6.7 Kms of the half completed 120 Kms railway "of national strategic significance".  His idea is to block the commuter and regional trains for ever.  Like deluded Michael, this guy actually says he has to have trams first, for £343 m, in order to get the 120 Kms finished with commuter and regional trains.  This is unheard of anywhere else in the world!  Both men suffer delusions in wanting trams to get trains.  Both men like to pay once for trams, then twice for trains on the same line.  Both men have more money than sense.  Roger's policy is either dishonest, is thoroughly mixed up or, is as incompetent as well-meaning Michael MP!


Transport Boss Roger, in the summer when I asked him to graciously accept a sheet of paper from me, told me to "Stuff it up your arse" and walked on by!  His mind is closed, he is so arrogant, that for a second time, he is wasting £343 million of taxpayers' money to fund his bizarre, his weird and wonderful obsession with trams on main line railways and roads to replace trains and buses.  All he needs to do is to give us all free bus travel - not just for the old and decrepit, like me - and, electric buses like Nottingham.  He must put trains on train lines when he has already provided every bridge and tunnel for the phantom trains to cross two motorways and three major dual carriageways as we all stew and quietly steam on our traffic choked roads.

PHOTOS for a little light relief.  Exactly, where mistaken, uninformed Michael MP wants his cycle-walkway, instead of regional and national trains!  Does he actually cycle, himself, as I do?  Does he get stuck in traffic jams, as I do?



Two of our top politicians, from both major parties, are wanting the UK's only main line but easily reinstated in full, 120 Kms Black Country Railway, "of national strategic significance", to be turned into a piddling little tram line, a test track, a trail of trees and a cycle-walkway!  No wonder our politicians are so poorly regarded.  They are just not up to the job.  Roger should definitely and gracefully retire.  Soon to be followed by clueless Michael You've Got The Wrong Railway Line Fabricant!

Tim Weller  (full contact details, below)

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Sprint is extravagant and unnecessary

Sprint is far too expensive and is NOT even electric.   “Low emission vehicles (Euro VI or better emissions, with an aspiration to operate with zero emission vehicles when practicable)”

Use the money to extend free bus and tram travel from the disabled and elderly like me to EVERYONE and start a sea change in attitudes to free up road space for those who really do need their vehicles for their businesses.

Bus use is declining, routes cut and fares rising faster than inflation.  In the House of Commons, at PMQs in July, Jeremy Corbyn said, "Fares are increasing, routes cut, passenger numbers falling, isolating elders and disabled people, damaging communities and High Streets and causing more congestion in our towns and cities.  People are spending more time to travel to work and school. It is bad for our climate change commitments, bad for our air quality. Often, the only mode of transport for many people is the bus."

THEREFORE:
Turn the nearside lane into bus lanes instead of digging up the roads for trams.

Give traffic light priority to ALL buses with their fareless passengers.

Use the money to give us ALL electric buses.

Use Metro and Sprint money to bring ALL towpaths and bridleways and shared footways into use by cycles.  Smooth all weather surfaces, please.

Use the money from abandoning the WORLD’S  FIRST project to turn a mainline railway into a tram line.  This is the 120 Kms Worcester, Black Country, Derby mainline “of national strategic significance” into a piddling little tramline of 6.7 Kms plus, of course, a test track, trees and, Japanese knotweed!


TELL THESE VIPs AND COUNCIL LEADERS WHAT YOU THINK:
andy.street@wmca.org.uk andrew.browning@wmca.org.uk cllr.mike.bird@walsall.gov.uk roger.lawrence@wolverhampton.gov.uk rsleigh@solihull.gov.uk   Ian.Ward@birmingham.gov.uk Cllr.Patrick.Harley@dudleymbc.org.uk steve_eling@sandwell.gov.uk george.duggins@coventry.gov.uk

Monday, 17 September 2018

Useless Idiots

Dear Editor  - exclusive to the Times; NOT for publication in the Express and Star or the Birmingham Post.

Useless Idiots

You wrote, “Nato was created in 1949 as an alliance of free nations to deter Soviet expansionism and aggression.” THE TIMES 15 September.

The ‘Guardian’ in February 2014​,​ proved in their four page spread that it was not the USSR but the UK that has had their armed forces in action in other countries in every single year since at least 1914.  It was hoped that 2015 would be the first year since at least 1914 that the UK was not killing foreigners in their own lands.

It seems that the Cold War was stoked and Nato formed by the West out of paranoia that it was about to be attacked and overrun by the Soviet Union.  This, mind you, after the Russians had just sacrificed about 25 million of their people to help us win a war they had no part in starting! Nato was formed in 1949 and continues.  Their equivalent, the Warsaw Pact lasted from 1955 to 1991. In other words, ​formed ​in response to the West’s unfriendly alliance that they felt threatened them.​ They dissolved their military alliance in 1991.  Since ​then​, the West has continued to spread its influence eastwards to diminish Russian influence and to expand the West’s EU and Nato membership.

Fear of attack by Russia was also used to justify a huge arsenal of weapons of every description.  Nato helped to give respectability to the three leading members for their many wars of expansionism, aggression and regime change around the world.  So much for setting a fine example to other countries! If you make yourself an enemy, you must expect to be treated as an enemy.

The West has unilaterally strengthened itself while the Russians dissolved the Warsaw Pact and saw it Eastern bloc friends go over to the West.​  Ukraine was the most damaging, led to Crimea annexation and civil war that continues to this day.​ The West stirred things up. Useless idiots.

Tim Weller​  (contact details at the foot)

Monday, 27 August 2018

SUNDAY'S BIKE EVENT WAS NO WASH OUT!

SUNDAY'S BIKE RIDE EVENT WAS NO WASH OUT  Or, this will turn you green with envy (I don't think)!

When I was expecting no-one, my faithful friend, Roy of Stourbridge turned up on his bike and it was a wonderful couple of hours.

We found a short section of canal water at Parkhead Locks where we never saw our own reflection but did see through the amazingly clean water to the bottom.  This was at the entrance to the Dudley tunnel with 1884 in white lettering on the brick work of the portal above.

We then explored a short section of our wasted railway "of national strategic significance" (Network Rail and DfT on the 8 March) that has been completely cleared in readiness for the non-appearing local trams in, so far, 37 years of trying and being very trying.  Roy and I have other ideas.  We want the return of the regional and national trains that were so successful for 100 years until we started to put all our eggs in the one basket of road transport for everything and everyone.

Trains over the full 120 Kms between Worcester and Derby can take vehicles off the jam packed roads and motorways that run alongside the empty, double tracks of our forgotten main line railway.  This is a much better idea than the planned 11 Kms of tramline to destroy the railway.  Or, the proposed 87 Kms, eight to ten lane Western Orbital Motorway, nearby.  From my research, the UK's new tramlines are working out at about double the cost per Km of new motorways.  And the trams simply replace diesel buses and local trains that could all be electric, if public opinion forced the authorities to do it!

Parkhead Locks and railway viaduct is a huge area of open space that many never visit.  We did, though!  We found a 70 foot, beautifully decorated narrow boat going through one of the deepest locks in the land.  We helped it through.  It was called 'Miriam' and it was halfway on a two week long circuit from Sharpness on the river Severn between Gloucester and Bristol.  I now know what a cratch is and where to find the two cleverly plaited rings on a narrow boat.

On the, now hard, puddle free, and mud free surface of the towpath to the colourful Waterfront marina, we saw the proposed site of the tram stop - NOT railway station, mind you but, the so small ambition tram stop of all things.  And this on a partly unused, main line railway "of national strategic significance"!

For me, the grand climax of the short cycle ride was my magnificent guerilla gardening landscape enhancement scheme to cover the rusting, 20 metre high blot on the landscape of metal sheet piling that holds up a huge area of wasted, flat land bereft of its first time homeowners and renters to enjoy the shops on one side and the canal on the other side.  Roy liked the variety of plants there, including the blackberries coming down from above.

We finished the ride and parted at Saltwells Local Nature Reserve on the other side of Merry Hill from the canal.  This is an area of woodland and an SSSI - a Site of Special Scientific Interest - for Doulton's clay pit that is there.  It's a geological SSSI.

I'll organise it again in twelve months time to get you all out and about on your human powered transport!







Crystal clear waters v Smog of confusion, dissembling and waste

Crystal clear waters v Smog of confusion, dissembling and waste

Last week, it was the cleaness of a Scottish loch that enabled my wife and I to see clearly to the bottom.  For the first time, Roy and I looked down through crystal clear, deep waters of an English canal to also see the bottom. 

We had biked it to the entrance of Dudley Tunnel at Parkhead Locks - the canal tunnel, this time not the railway tunnel.  It reminded me of the nearby wasted railway "of national strategic significance" that uses the 150 year old Parkhead Viaduct that has not a brick out of place.

The authorities want the commuter and regional trains back on the 120 Kms railway from Worcester, through the Black Country to Derby but insist that only by spending £343 m plus cost overruns on turning 6.7 Kms into a tram line can the regional trains be achieved to complete the full 120 Kms.  That is their confusion.

The dissembling arises from our politicians and transport VIPs telling me that passenger and freight trains will still be able to be used alongside the six to ten trams every hour and every day.  Yet, they know there is only one set of double tracks that cannot be quadrupled.  To put it more baldly: they are lying to us.

The waste of taxpayers' money comes from these same politicians and experts using our money to pay twice to get the trains back through the heart of the congestion choked and densely populated Black Country.  In fact, rising £400 million for the two short sections of tramline blocks for ever the return of commuter and regional trains to deal with the increasing popularity of train travel and ever slower motorway travel.



Thursday, 23 August 2018

Sunday 26 August 2018 at 2 pm to bike, view and wonder

Our equivalent of the Russian Iron Curtain is a sight to behold and definitely unique.  And, what's more, we now have ONE hotel in heavenly Halesowen, a Travelodge and, another unique edifice - the bare, ugly, hellish 30 metre major roundabout that our home has such a fine view of.  Well, from Becky's old bedroom window, anyway.


On Sunday 26 August, 2 pm (move off at 2.10)  Meet in Farthings Lane DY2 0XU on the southern side of Dudley Southern (not even a pavement, let alone a cycle-walkway)
Bypass.  Motor or, better cycle there.  Plenty of parking if you bring the bike by car.  Or, meet on the soon to be expanded canal embankment, on the towpath opposite Primark and M&S at Merry Hill for 2.30 pm.


We cycle down a short wooded footpath to Parkhead Locks, its canal basins and the solid, brick built, Victorian Parkhead Viaduct.  Take in the magnitude of the blunder in putting slow, 6 to 10 an hour, local "bus on rails" trams instead of commuter and regional trains to complete the 120 Kms Black Country Railway.  We could have fast electric trains on a railway "of national strategic significance" that worked so successfully for 100 years until the 1960s.




Next, pedal power down the newly hard surfaced, puddle free, canal towpath.  Look out for herons, swans, geese, coots and moorhens. Past the colourful, narrow boats in one of the biggest inland marinas in the UK, to view the stunning sight of 30 m high corroded, metal sheet piling that nature is colonising, with a little help from yours truly.


Be awed by the thought that the embankment will be doubled in size and width to take the trundling trams.  Be shocked that my obliterated trees, shrubs, virginia creepers, cotoneaster and, brambles from above, will be no more.
3 Kms to this point.
From here, we cycle to Dudley Road, Brierley Hill to look down on the freight only Black Country Railway at Round Oak.  Remember? A railway "of national strategic significance" but wasted over 56 Kms in the middle of the 120 Kms between Worcester and Derby.  Shuttle trams planned for a mainline railway. £350m to £400 m to destroy a valuable, principal, mainline railway. Last time, in 1999, it was only a principal railway station in Wolverhampton and 20 Kms of mainline railway!  This time, 56 Kms!


We cycle a further 1.8 Kms on to the Dudley start of the 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walkway, at Fens Pool Avenue DY5 1QA.  We soon cycle through the Buckpool and Fens Pools Local Nature Reserve on this cycle-walkway to Barrow Hill Nature Reserve.  We keep to this route for as long as we wish, towards Himley before we return back to Farthings Lane by the route we came and then road.  Or, we keep to the entire, more attractive traffic free route we used for the outward journey. In a wet winter, this last unfinished but official traffic free 22 Kms route is a mudway for much of its length.  At the time of writing, it is dry. In three weeks time there may be puddles in places. Or, mud if there has been a lot of rain in the days leading up to 26 August. What a hope!

Please bring your own A-Z/map or electronic equivalent if you wish to make your own way home at any stage.

View the Oddity of ...

... the planned tramline taking over the main line railway "of national strategic significance".

2 pm THIS SUNDAY!

My biking event highlighting the oddity of the planned tramline taking over the main line railway "of national strategic significance".
  • celebrate a muddy towpath turned into a smooth, hard surface for a responsible shared cycle-walkway;
  • view the Parkhead Viaduct on the forgotten, wasted, existing main line railway with no houses, offices or roads built on it - yet!  Only slow "bus on rails" trams planned on 6.7 Kms instead of commuter, regional and freight trains on 56 Kms to complete the full 120 Kms .
  • see the huge grass embankment to be turned into a viaduct for "bus on rails" trams and,
  • the beautiful grassy embankment spoilt by a double track tram line;
  • give feedback on my guerilla gardening landscape enhancement scheme threatened by the £343 million tram scheme on the Black Country main line railway "of national strategic significance".
On Sunday 26 August, 2 pm (move off at 2.10)  Meet in Farthings Lane DY2 0XU on the southern side of Dudley Southern (not even a pavement, let alone a cycle-walkway) 
Bypass.  Motor or, better cycle there.  Plenty of parking if you bring the bike by car.  Or, meet on the planned, expanded canal embankment, on the towpath opposite Primark and M&S at Merry Hill, for 2.30 pm.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Fresh light on the story of the Good Samaritan

It seems that in the time of Jesus, the Jews and Samaritans had hated each other for 600 years.  "The Samaritans were descendants of the surviving Israelites of the northern kingdom who intermarried with the newly imported alien population after the fall of Samaria in 722 BC."  (The Lion Handbook to the Bible, p 497)  The Jews saw them as a heretical sect, especially after they built their own temple on Mt Gerizim.  Perhaps, the final straw of rejection and disdain.  It was a Jewish king who destroyed this temple in 128 BC.  Yet, the Jews and Samaritans had so much in common.  The believed and worshipped the same God and both accepted the Torah, the first five books of the Bible as their authority.  Both waited the coming of a prophet like Moses - the Messiah.

Do the people of Israel have a new set of Samaritans to hate?  The Palestinians or the Gazans or Hamas or the Iranians, perhaps?
Or, Jeremy Corbyn - the JC of Islington North instead of the JC of Nazareth?
Just as the Jews longed for a Messiah to overthrow their Roman rulers 2000 years ago, is the boot on the other foot today in that part of the holy land that the state of Israel has designs on - Judea and Samaria?
In other words, do the Palestinians, in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria, regard their Israeli occupiers in the same way that the Jews, 2000 years ago, regarded their Roman occupiers?
Is the state of Israel the new Rome for the people in the internationally recognised Occupied Territories, that many Jews and Christians call Judea and Samaria?
Is raising these questions so indicative of the new anti-Semitism on the Left in the UK today?

For 600 years, the people of Israel regarded the Samaritans as their enemy.  Yet, the Israelities had so much in common with this Jewish sect.  For the next 1900 years, the Jews were dispersed and, then in more recent centuries they were the subject of enmity from the West and from the Western Christian Church.  From 1948, the Jews regarded some Arabs, many Muslims, all Palestinians, every Gazan, Hamas en bloc and, the nation of Iran - all as their enemies.

When it comes to the Luke 10 story or parable of the Good Samaritan, is it acceptable to ask if Jesus the Jew was being deliberately provocative or even disloyal to his compatriots in putting his own religious leaders in such a poor light and, to cap it all, to put their enemy as the hero - the hated Samaritan?

He seems to have  been putting himself and his fellow Jews down and putting their enemies, the Samaritans on a pedestal to be admired.  Or, is there no significance in Jesus choosing a Samaritan as the hero?

Or, was Jesus giving an example of what it means, practically, to love your enemies, to do good to those who hate you, to bless those who curse you and to pray for your persecutors?

The story in modern dress
For the Judaeo-Christian nations today, is a modern day Samaritan, our 70 year old traditional enemy, Russia?  But we Westerners would call them the Bad Samaritan, of course but Jesus would see some good in the Russians and put one Russian in a story to put them in a good light.  Or is politicising the parables of Jesus unacceptable, for they are meant for personal, private holiness by individual, born again believers?

Or, does the West view the Robbers in the story as wicked Russia beating up our allies like Ukraine and occupying Crimea?

The 89 year old Father of my church and retired leader has wondered if the State of Israel is behaving as the robbers beating up the poor defenceless Gazans.  The 2014 July/August war killed over 2200 including about 500 children and the 2018 boundary protests killed over 140 Gazans and one Israeli soldier.

Who would you class as a modern day, walk on by, do nothing, priest and levite in the story?
Were we the priest and levite in knowing but doing nothing to save the Jews, the Roma and all the other minorities and outcasts in the 1930s and 40s in Nazi ruled Germany?

"And who is my neighbour?"
The shocking thing about this story is that we are being told that our neighbour is Hamas, Hezbollah, the suicide bomber, the terrorist, the Gazan and the Palestinian.  Our neighbour is our enemy to whom we are to do good.  But, never, the enemy is our neighbour!  Unfortunately, Israel has made enemies of some neighbours by giving nothing and wanting more.  Yet, it has made peace treaties with two of its neighbours - Egypt and Jordan.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Decision makers can be influenced!

Many thanks, Pam.  Much appreciated.  You are quite right, of course.

This WOM business seems to have been resurrected by Maria who was on TV last week, I think!

Her address is  mcadmin@midlandsconnect.uk

She is another of the transport bosses who are all stuck fast in the grossly extravagant and irresponsible tram rut of putting this "bus on rails" on a half finished mainline "railway of national strategic significance", instead of doing the bleeding obvious!

Other addresses are here:​
Please flood them with e-mails just saying, perhaps, those five words: 'WESTERN BYPASS RAILWAY BEFORE tramway or motorway'.  Or, whatever you want to say but, say 'Yes' to something better, so as not to appear negative.  Thanks!

Pam's "decision makers" can be moved/changed.  We can change what seems inevitable eg:
  1. In the 1990s, we stopped both the 16 Kms KBH and the 87 Kms WOM in their tracks!  That was a huge victory.
  2. 2015 decision to put trains not trams, after all, on the 9 Kms Camp Hill railway in Brum.
  3. 2016 decision for train operating companies to bid for the new franchise by putting forward a proposed passenger service on the half used 120 Kms Black Country Railway.
  4. 2017 decision to put trains on our main line railway from Stourbridge Junction to Canal Street tram stop at Hart's Hill.  This was a step in the right direction but needs to go all the way to Burton on Trent, of course.
  5. A paper decision in a letter to me on 8 September 2000 to get the freight and passenger trains back but, the very costly "bus on rails" trams must be done first - you pay twice to get what you say you really want all along - a proper railway passenger service!
  6. The decision to put the Very Light Rail test track on the railway from Dudley Castle Hill to Dudley Port was reversed in 2015 or 2016.  It now goes in the opposite direction.  However, still, on a nationally important railway!!
  7. 8 March 2018 letter, Network Fail and the DfT finally conceded that our railway is "of national strategic significance".
  8. More recorded here:​
MANY THANKS TO YOU ALL.  PEOPLE POWER; PEOPLE PRESSURE; PEOPLE PREVAIL!

Tim

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

We have a winning, knock out argument!

Thanks, Andi for this.

With the 87 Kms WOM in the 90s, I was campaigning up and down the line of the route at public meetings I organised and, in two General Elections for the Green Pary - '92 and '97.  Always being positive by saying the Black Country Railway that runs parallel to the line of the proposed KBH and M5/M6 needed the passenger trains back over its entire length before building the WOM.  At that time, I was saying only as far as Walsall.  Only in this decade did the railway lobby groups tell me that it does, in fact, go all the way to Burton on Trent with double track lines but no passenger trains - 56 Kms unused, wasted, with every engineering structure in place, like the bridge over the M6 Toll!  Look at my photos:​
​​
You write, Andi that "we aren't ignoring the issue at all".  By that you mean the WOM.  That is brilliant.  What I am asking is that all greens and Greens to please campaign, from now on, for completing the 120 Kms Western Bypass Railway, aka Black Country Main Line Railway, FIRST AND FOREMOST, before anymore work on the WOM.  Our railway line that goes through Netherton is "of national strategic significance".  It must have regional and commuter trains and not "bus on rails" trams.  "Bus on rails" trams are immorally expensive and prevent the return of regional and even inter-city trains coming to the Black Country.  The authorities are deceiving us when they say we must have trams first in order to get the trains back.  It is a lie.  And, is further evidence of the longest running and biggest scandal in UK finance/transport history.  I have written reams about it over the years.

The threat of the WOM makes it even more urgent that all Greens and greens read my stuff over recent years about trains back on our existing railway lines instead of trams.  It is the most important argument to deploy to delay the WOM further.  How can anyone disagree with the parallel and nearby, unused main line railway being given top priority over the WOM?  We have a winning, knock out argument!

With Dudley GP on board we can stop the trams stopping the trains AND stop or, at least delay, the WOM in the process.  Do you all now get the importance of what I have been writing about for years?

Please don't ignore what I am saying and please help me!!  This campaign to delay the WOM and get the trains back FIRST should never have been a one person campaign, as it certainly feels like to me.
Tim

We can change what seems inevitable

This WOM business seems to have been resurrected by Maria who was on TV last week, I think!

Her address is  mcadmin@midlandsconnect.uk

She is another of the transport bosses who are all stuck fast in the grossly extravagant and irresponsible tram rut of putting this "bus on rails" on a half finished mainline "railway of national strategic significance", instead of doing the bleeding obvious!

Other addresses are here:​
Please flood them with e-mails just saying, perhaps, those five words: 'WESTERN BYPASS RAILWAY BEFORE tramway or motorway'.  Or, whatever you want to say but, say 'Yes' to something better, so as not to appear negative.  Thanks!

Pam's "decision makers" can be moved/changed.  We can change what seems inevitable eg:
  1. In the 1990s, we stopped both the 16 Kms KBH and the 87 Kms WOM in their tracks!  That was a huge victory.
  2. 2015 decision to put trains not trams, after all, on the 9 Kms Camp Hill railway in Brum.
  3. 2016 decision for train operating companies to bid for the new franchise by putting forward a proposed passenger service on the half used 120 Kms Black Country Railway.
  4. 2017 decision to put trains on our main line railway from Stourbridge Junction to Canal Street tram stop at Hart's Hill.
  5. The decision was made to get the freight and passenger trains back but, the very costly "bus on rails" trams must be done first - you pay twice to get what you really want all along - a proper railway passenger service!
  6. The decision to put the Very Light Rail test track on the railway from Dudley Castle Hill to Dudley Port was reversed in 2015 or 2016.  It now goes in the opposite direction.  And, still, on a nationally important railway!!
  7. 8 March 2018 letter, Network Fail and the DfT finally conceded that our railway is "of national strategic significance".
  8. More recorded here:​
MANY THANKS TO YOU ALL.  PEOPLE POWER; PEOPLE PRESSURE; PEOPLE PREVAIL!

Tim

Sunday, 3 June 2018

28 transport tragedies for 37 years - so far!

WHY TRANSPORT LEAD, CLLR ROGER LAWRENCE SHOULD EITHER TURN OVER A NEW LEAF OR, RETIRE

  1. In 1981, our transport chiefs began their fascination with Midland Metro trams on railway lines and roads, instead of protecting our closed railways for future use and then re-opening them for passenger and freight trains.

  2. Cllrs Richard Worrall, Angus Adams and, now Roger Lawrence are the transport chiefs over decades who have let us down, misspent our taxes and had the most weird and wonderful set of priorities.

  3. These men put everything but trains down Dudley to Wolverhampton, Dudley to Birmingham, Dudley to Netherton, Old Hill, Halesowen to Longbridge and, Birmingham to Wolverhampton railway lines.

  4. One e-mailer to me wrote, “ … people who could be regarded as complicit in questionable decisions.”  He meant our fully trained professionals in Network Rail (NR), Transport for W Mids (TfWM) and Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) who need to be questioned, challenged and watched like hawks because of their disastrous decisions over many years.

  5. I think Beeching was right to close the lines he did as we deserted trains and went out and bought cars.  It was the railway industry, our transport chiefs, the unions and the many groups of railway enthusiasts who failed to ensure that they were mothballed in case they were ever needed in the future.  They are certainly needed now but the railway industry, the unions and the railway enthusiasts all allowed them to be lost for every kind of built development imaginable, to roads and, to slow, frequent stopping, extremely expensive “bus on rails” trams!

  6. Wikipedia has: Ian Hislop comments that history has been somewhat unkind to "Britain's most hated civil servant", by forgetting that he proposed a much better bus service that ministers never delivered.

  7. The politicians and transport experts got diverted from increasing the popularity of buses to building seven tram networks in the UK.

  8. All the experts were happily building steam locomotives up to the 1960s as part of our supposedly modern railway.  This was the second decade of railway closures and the sale of our railways to any old Tom, Dick or Harriet instead of their protection for future use by trains.

  9. My e-mailer wrote, “Routes such as Dudley to Wolverhampton were not just closed to traffic but the tracks were removed.”  Yes. Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton councillors were all happily giving planning permission for houses, roads and a trading estate to obliterate this important railway line!  How foolish is that? “The same was the case for Birmingham to Wolverhampton via West Bromwich”, my e-mailer wrote. This was the valuable Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Low Level line that could be giving additional trains into Shropshire and North Wales, one former railway worker has told me (see 8).  Instead, Metro line One took it over. This meant that platform four at Snow Hill is still not used, to this day for trains, Low Level station is now a conference and events venue and 2 Kms of the line in Wolverhampton was destroyed. This was because the tram line went on the road for 2 Kms to St George’s Square and the useful direct link to Low Level railway station was lost forever!

  10. The former railway worker texted to me about the 1999 Metro One, “What a waste opening the wolves - bham line to a tram.  This has prevented through services from snow hill to Wales or the north from ever returning.”

  11. If the trains had been allowed back, we would still have commuter and regional trains using the line that the tram now uses and, grand Low Level station would still be in use as a much needed station rather than a conference and events centre.

  12. It would still be a  station if only our darling politicians had thought of that great wheeze of railway trains on railway lines! This summer, main work starts on the even more important 120 Km Black Country Railway "of national strategic significance" being transformed into a ‘bring your own cushion for the tram’ tramline over all of 6.7 Kms, a test track, a trail of trees, Himalayan Balsam and undergrowth

  13. Trams will, one day connect St George’s Sq to the bus station and the last remaining railway station but at a cost of £33m.  All it needed were the trains back between Snow Hill and Wolverhampton Low Level and it would have been at a fraction of the cost of the trams.  This was another blunder by PTA/Centro and by Roger Lawrence, plus predecessors.

  14. Four businesses closed on Bilston Road in 2017 when Metro One tracks were renewed after only 18 years.  This would never have happened if the trains and stations had been allowed back.

  15. More businesses are likely to close in Dudley high town with the tram being an extra attraction for Dudley townsfolk to take the tram to Merry Hill to do their shopping.

  16. The former successful for 100 years mainline station at Dudley Castle Gate (low town) that is thriving is being destroyed forever by a suite of buildings for the VLR innovation centre and test track.

  17. I would like the whole 120 Kms railway “of national strategic significance” (Network Rail and DfT letter to me dated, 8 March 2018) from Worcester, the Black Country and on to Derby, to be called the Black Country Railway.

  18. My e-mailer wrote, “Some opinion is that in an 'unhelpful' environment and with limited funding, various campaigners and the efforts of individuals within organisations and organisations such as Centro, British Rail, some local authorities, some enhancements and reopenings were achieved.”  From what I have seen, the heritage railway groups have achieved much more than the professional railway ‘experts’ and councillors. From my research, only 6 Kms out of 112 Kms of double track railway line in freight or officially mothballed have been re-opened. In addition, there was the Walsall to Rugeley re-opening.

  19. Our trio of former, including the incumbent Roger, transport chiefs are wholly responsible.  They need to work with the professionals but also to stop obvious blunders like the many we have seen and are still seeing.

  20. The only official, ‘Out of Use’, Black Country Railway, “of national strategic significance”, is now precluded from returning to railway use for ever by Dudley Castle Hill mainline station that is about to be built on, by the Metro tram line and, a test track through Castle Hill tunnel between the two short sections of tramway.  Thus my feeling that we, ever so clever, Brexit Brits are incompetent and negligent!

  21. I attended a Community Forum in Dudley borough last month.  Before, I spoke and without one councillor knowing who I was or why I came, he told the meeting that when on the Centro Passenger Transport Authority years ago, he was told that “heavy rail trains would still be able to return” once the Black Country Railway, “of national strategic significance”, had been turned into a tram line.  I told him that this was a lie. Freight trains might be able to use it at night but certainly not the former passenger service between Worcester and Derby via the Black Country that we saw for 100 years until fifty years ago.

  22. This light rail scheme is a throwback to the 1980s when the Black Country Railway was unwanted, out of use, disused, dismantled, unloved and it was thought that it would never be needed, ever again.  Hence, put the tram on it that was all the rage at the time. Kind of anachronistic, now that we are four decades on.​ We are seeing a renaissance in railway travel.

  23. Never again, fast passenger train services from Derby to Devon via Dudley or Burton to Bristol via Brierley Hill.

  24. One professional railway ‘expert’ explained to me that Network Rail does not like running passenger trains on freight lines.  Yet, the Victorian and Edwardian railway men did so for decades. Why not the so smart, tech savvy, Elizabethans?

  25. Is Cllr Roger standing up to Network Rail and insisting on passenger trains and stations for our urban lines not yet obliterated?  I don’t think so. He gave planning permission for homes, roads and trading estates on the railway lines, after all.

  26. My e-mailer wrote, “The passenger train operator for the West Midlands is supposed to be introducing a train service from Birmingham to Stourbridge and then to Brierley Hill. This will require a new station at Brierley Hill.”  Thus, we all pile out of the train to get on the tram into Brum when the train could take us the whole way without changing.  And, when extended to Walsall, it will require from Worcester, a change from train to tram at Canal St tram stop, near Brierley Hill and back to the train at Walsall station for progress to Derby!

  27. Wikipedia has: “Passenger services were terminated between Walsall and Wolverhampton in 2008 on cost and efficiency grounds.”  Shortly after they were introduced! Yet, now, trains are to be re-introduced with two new stations when there is a good Platinum bus service between the two places.  The trains need to go all the way to Brum via the Sutton freight only line. But, finishing the Black Country Railway is much more desperately needed to reduce road and railway congestion.

  28. On the unused, wasted, 56 Kms, tens of millions of pounds have been spent on two motorway crossings and three tunnels to cross three dual carriageways - for the 120 Kms Black Country Railway "of national strategic significance".  But this is the same unused, wasted, middle section that is to be turned into a 6.7 Kms tramline, a test track, rusting lines and a jungle of undergrowth. What a waste of tens of millions of pounds!


All of this is such complete nonsense that Cllr Roger needs to step down, with Keith Harrison using the ‘Express and Star’ as a way to help him to give way.  PLEASE!

timweller1@gmail.com     16 May 2018

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