Sunday, 2 May 2021

Twitter to City Metric, City Monitor re Edinburgh's forgotten circle railway

What if I told you that we have a railway "of national strategic significance" alongside or near to the bumper to bumper M5/M6 and it was not open to passengers? Tim Weller Independent candidate for W Mids Mayor 2020.

3 Dec 2018

Twitter to Jules Saunders

What are your reasons for not speaking out against the destruction of the Black Country's fourth railway line and, for not opposing the Sandwell politicians who have done down a decent Leader of their Council who is a woman of integrity, Cllr Yvonne Davies?

Twitter to Paul Faulkner

 Well lived, Paul but like us all, for burning our finite supply of fossil fuels that we have unsuspectingly released from a Pandora's Box of unintended consequences and horrors. We must now live much more lightly on the planet to minimise travel and maximise simpler lifestyles.

Monday, 26 April 2021

SCAM: being taken for a ride, accepting what turns out to be hollow, empty, fake, false, folly

WARNING: strong language.  This is my scathing denunciation of scam after scam!
  1. HS2 deception that it will increase capacity on the railways.  It turns out that the thing goes so fast you still need exactly the same intercity service that we've always had, because it can only stop at the very few, most important stations!
  2. It gives the most important and wealthy people the choice of either flying through the air in a plane or, on a flash train.  What destruction of nature and of homes to give the big wigs, the wealthy VIPs an even greater feeling of self-importance.  Clearly, they need it for their self-esteem!
  3. HS2's little sister is Metro "bus on rails" trams.  This bus on rails must stop at every single tram stop.  The normal bus, going straight on the roads without the expense and chaos of laying down railway tracks, only stops if you push the little button or stick your arm out.  Another deception that makes public transport worse, when it can hardly get any worse.
  4. The Sprint scam gives us the bus that thinks it's a tram it's so super duper and flash.  It is all empty style over substance.  All done to impress and give the 'WOW!' factor.  Another disgraceful scam!
  5. Grass verges and trees removed and lots of road widening for the wonderful Sprint scam that, like HS2 only stops at the special, few bus stops.  So you still need the 2nd class, ordinary bus for those passengers who need the stops the vanity, swish, smart Sprint is not allowed to stop at!
  6. Our figurehead, PR and exceedingly nice ambassador and Chair of the Board for the W Midlands has no official powers!  What is the point of that?
  7. He has brought another layer of bureaucracy with the Combined Authority, Midlands Connect, Midlands (wrong) Growth Engine, Midlands Engine Rail, Midlands Rail Hub.  All new organisations and layers of authority we never had - ever before!  How did we ever manage without them?
  8. More glossy documents and papers to occupy the pen pushers and give them something to do.  Another scam.
  9. "Midlands Engine Rail (MER) is our £3.5 billion plan to transform the region's rail network."
  10. SEVEN projects that don't even include finishing the UK's last, principal mainline by putting TRAINS on the middle section that the scammers have clean forgotten all about!!
  11. "MER also boosts rail freight capacity by making space for an additional one million lorries' worth of cargo to be transported by rail each year."
  12. Yet, these fine transport experts, now in their fourth year of existence, as well as the railway industry's experts, have just destroyed any prospect of freight trains being extended NE to Derby and SW from Derby to Worcester, to fill the missing, already built but unused, middle section between Burton on Trent and Stourbridge Junction.
ANOTHER RIGHT FINE MESS OUR POLITICIANS AND TOP OFFICERS HAVE GOT US INTO!

SCANDALS, SCAMS NEED DENOUNCING

Dudley Hippodrome is lost because all the politicians have supported the disgraceful scandals & scams of HS2, Metro trams, powerless Mayor, Sprint, destruction of our railway lines, more bureaucracy with Combined Authority, Midlands Connect ... who have all supported instead of denouncing these wrong practices.

Hippodrome, and the station in the UK's largest town without a railway station, are both lost to gain Metro "bus on rails" trams.

Figurehead, Ambassador Mayor, Metro, Sprint, HS2 are additional, totally unnecessary costs and, therefore, a boost to rising greenhouse gases that we do not need when cutting the gases is urgent to WIN THE BIG PRIZE of survival for all.

VAIN, EMPTY, POWERLESS PROJECTS AND POSITIONS. A hollow joke.
A gesture, showing off, chest-puffing out, of self-aggrandisement.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

'Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?'

 

WIKIPEDIA Synopsis[edit]

Falter is divided into four sections: "The Size of the Board", "Leverage", "The Name of the Game", and "An Outside Chance".

The beginning of Falter explains the growing consequences of a changing climate. In detail, Bill McKibben explains how environmental factors such as pollution and ocean acidity are contributing to a decrease in the quality of human and natural life.

The book then describes concerns about economic policy and political ideology. Specifically, Falter references numerous individuals who are involved with the oil industry in the U.S. Falter contains numerous references to Exxon, which is contributing to the climate emergency through oil exploitation. Criticism of right-wing politics, blame of the Koch Brothers and Donald Trump is prevalent, explaining how conservatism and libertarianism contribute to the climate epidemic.

In the ending of Falter McKibben transitions from the warnings of rapid human innovation, then provides reasons for hope, such as renewable energy advances (especially solar panels[2]) and climate activism.[3]

Ramblers at national office need to get cracking!

 Hi Sophie


This is a national issue and not a local issue.  Every part of England and Wales is affected by the loss of PROW and the right to roam on rights of way, as footbridges fall into disrepair and get closed - and even washed away!

The solution needs national Ramblers to persuade every local authority to get footbridges over a certain length to be maintained by their Highways Depts and not Countryside Services.  But am I wrong?

We need national, heavyweight support (and even opinion/expertise/advice) from yourselves, as well - PLEASE!  Am I wrong or right?

Best wishes

Friday, 23 April 2021

Railway and bus conversion to tramlines because ...

A spokesman for the Mayor of the West Midlands said: “The extension of the West Midlands Metro tram line, which is now under construction from Wednesbury to Dudley, Merry Hill and Brierley Hill, was identified as the most cost-effective way of providing this improved connectivity for both local residents and businesses.  The most cost-effective at about ten more expensive per Km to construct the tram on roads and railway than to put the commuter and regional trains back on the full, unused length, to finish the ready-built principal, mainline railway.  Existing buses would meet the trains - called integrated transport. 

“This is largely because the use of light rail enables a high frequency service to operate providing direct access to both the heart of Dudley town centre and the Merry Hill shopping centre.  Buses already provide direct access to both!  Trams to Merry Hill will be an additional attraction and spur to desert Dudley town shops.

“This would not be possible with a traditional train service, which would be unlikely to justify more than a half-hourly frequency service and which would be confined to the former railway alignment rather than providing access to those areas to which people actually want to travel.  The railway alignment from Derby to Devon via Dudley or, Burton on Trent to Bristol via Brierley Hill is exactly where people want to travel.  Have buses taking people to the railway station and meeting the train at the other end!

“The West Midlands Metro Wednesbury – Brierley Hill extension will also be connected onto the existing West Midlands Metro line at Wednesbury, providing direct links to Birmingham, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich and will also provide the opportunity to change at Dudley Port Station for local train services.  Having the trains back on the railway line would do all this just as well.  And did do for 100 years until we fell in love with cars and deserted trains in the 60s.

Now, public transport is made worse with, sometimes, an additional change needed with trams added to the mix.  Multi-mixed up transport!  Eg, public transport passengers on the eleven bus routes using Hagley Road.

“Trains stopped running on this route many decades ago and their reinstatement has not been a priority for the rail industry.  The first priority was to destroy railway lines for roads and buildings.  Secondly, for HS1, HS2 and Cross-Rail to be built, instead. However, as a result of the investment in Metro we are seeing a number of bridges and structures along the route repaired or removed and rebuilt. This could potentially open up options longer term for the development of freight and passenger rail services, in parallel with Metro, along the wider Walsall to Stourbridge route in future.”  The existing or new bridges and tunnels are NOT being widened to take trains and trams in parallel.  Only freight trains may be possible at night when the trams are not running.  The experts are wrong.  The false and misleading magic of "passive provision" was always made up, concocted, to brush off those who had seen through their bad practice.  Indeed, their folly.

It is true that you could not run freight trains along the route once the two tracks of the tram are laid. It was a two track railway and the tram is two track.
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  • Thanks, John. But can the freight run at night?
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  • only if the tram tracks are built to 'heavy rail' standards could a standard train run on them. There would be junctions so that freight trains would not run on the street sections that will have sharp curves. Then you get onto signalling. Midland Metro is almost entirely 'line of sight' with almost no signalling.

Twitters to top business VIPs, like Tump

Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Brum have destroyed railway lines and a principal station to turn roads into railway lines and, trains into slow trams caught up in road traffic! Spending = deadly greenhouse gases, too but business must have priority over ecocide.

3 rebuilt Centenary Sqs in less than 2 decades. What's the score for Symphony Hall refurbishments? Partly, show/style over substance; status symbols; wealth flaunting, chest-puffing out to impress with grossly extravagant, showoff projects with built-in obsolescence for next time.

This reminds me of the FoE poster of the 1970s of planet earth with the text, "This is planet earth. Don't spend her all at once." As we blow our one-off geological inheritance in crazy spending, we spew out greenhouse gases to give the runaway greenhouse effect, like venus has!

PLEASE, Jenny, could you reply to my email about the public inquiry into the 1974 pub bombings, Cllr Yvonne Davies, FFPT extended from OAPs like me to your age group, trains for the 49 Kms of the 120 Kms railway and transforming the Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

'Transport for Quality of Life'

December 2020 Friends of the Earth Activists’ Briefing: Making transport fit for the Climate Emergency Ian Taylor and Lisa Hopkinson, Transport for Quality of Life   

I strongly agree with Ian and Lisa and think that FoE and Greenpeace should insist on public ownership, as here:

"These problems are structural, and it is only by changing the structure of the railway so that it is a single entity operating under public control, in the public interest, and with an objective to act in such a way as to reduce carbon emissions from transport to the greatest extent possible, that they can be resolved. Transport for Quality of Life has carried out research in this area and is of the view that public ownership is necessary to achieve this. Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have not carried out research in this area so do not have a position on public ownership, but do believe that the structure of the railway needs to change to be managed as a single entity and under public control." (my emphasis)

However, I do think all three organisations need to also come out against the unnecessary and most unhelpful fragmentation of our transport provision into bus, tram and train.  And, bus is being added to with the superbus, Sprint diesel, to further complicate life!!  All of you are fully supportive of light rail trams taking over bus and train routes.  As Ian and Lisa have written, here:

"In fact there would be very substantial resources left over for investment in improving bus services, or building tram networks."  p 17
and,
"where excellent new public transport infrastructure (such as tram lines) will be provided", p 20.  
and,
"The necessary changes to our transport system will cost money. In the next 10 years we must invest at an unprecedented rate in new tram networks, rail electrification, green electric buses, cycleways and healthy streets for walking. Substantial ongoing revenue funding will be required to run free local public transport services."  p 22
So don't encourage tram extensions at ten times the cost per Km of rebuilding the Borders Railway in Sept 2015 when it reopened!  £7m/Km for the rebuilt railway; £81 m/Km, plus cost overruns for the new 1.7 Kms Brum Eastside Metro tram.
And,
"to infrastructure that cuts carbon emissions, such as tram lines, bus priority networks, cycleways and healthy streets for walking." p 22
"There is thus no shortage of potential funding. Rather, the issues we need to fix are that money is being spent on the wrong things, building roads that make carbon emissions worse, instead of tram lines, cycleways and healthy streets for walking; and we do not yet have the mechanisms to secure contributions from all those who will benefit from a better transport system. p 24  

Stick to bus and train, only.  For three good reasons:
  1. Spending = finite fossil fuels used = greenhouse gases emitted = climate catastrophe = END!
  2. Trams are the second most expensive transport mode to construct after HS2 and even most Maglev train projects in S Korea, China and Japan.  See:
  3. UK Tram Ltd called the tram "a bus on rails" at the time of the Croydon tram crash that killed seven and seriously injured 62 passengers, 19 seriously, in November 2016.  SOURCE: Radion 4 'Today' interview with Andrew Broddick of UK Tram.  Seven would be alive today if the railway line had been used for trains linking into buses on roads.
I wrote this to Keith Budden of Cenex last year.  Keith also gets a mention in your paper:
"Why are Metro trams - and two other types - taking over our Worcester to Derby railway via the Black Country?
Why are "bus on rails" trams chosen over commuter, regional and freight trains on two short sections of a half-finished, 120 Kms principal, mainline railway "of national strategic significance" that runs from Worcester to Derby via Kidderminster and Dudley?  

There are proposals and, active plans now being implemented, for three different kinds of trams over four short sections of this nationally important, partly finished railway!!  Pre Metro shuttle tram, Very Light Rail tram and Light Rail tram.

Why complicate public transport travel in this way?

Why so many changes to make a public transport journey?  It's quite enough to put the most ardent environmentalist off and to get out the bike, instead but we are thin on the ground!

Why cannibalise unused railway lines for tram lines?  And, leave many miles of unused railway lines wasted for more decades or forever!

Has no one thought of trains for train lines that have not yet been used for the bizarre, eccentric activity of running homes, offices, shops and roads down them?

Complete amateurs have rebuilt entire railway lines.  Why can't the professionals put TRAINS BACK on existing, entire, already built railway lines?"


from Ian and Lisa's paper:

"As a result of Covid-19, public funds have been providing the great majority of bus company operating costs, so the step to provision of free bus services is not now such a large one. If the present level of funding is justifiable to tackle the Covid-19 crisis, surely it is at least as justifiable to tackle the Climate Emergency?" 

And, 

"Drastic cuts in central UK government funding over the last decade have led to cuts in local transport services and spending. At the same time local authorities find it hard to get government funding for measures that can cut transport carbon, such as the Leeds Supertram."  Always super flash, over-indulgent, show off, grossly extravagant trams to impress visitors.  Always style over substance!  With the Sheffield Supertram, £75 m was spent on changing a railway to tramway to allow the Supertram to run from Sheffield Cathedral to Parkgate Shopping Centre - all of 12 Kms.  What was wrong with a bus without rails directly on roads?  And electric, too?


Should the least well off without cars, and everyone, not just the elderly, be rewarded with, and compensated for the slightly higher risk of getting Covid when travelling on bus, train and tram, by being given Fare-Free Public Transport? About 100 towns and cities around the world have it, including Dunkirk, Luxembourg and Tallinn Estonia.

I feel that the £15 billion to 2040, going into mainly underground and overground Metro trams to replace some buses and trains, should be used to pay for it all. And, thus, raise the status and attractiveness of bus travel that is, far and away, the most well-used mode.

Andy is very keen on trams because it adds to the public transport pool of different ways of getting about on public transport. He calls it multi-modal public transport. Unfortunately, it ends up being multi-mixed up; and, with yet more changes and slower journeys between the different modes. It is much better just to stick to the bus and train. Simpler, quicker and fewer changes.

AN EXAMPLE for those who come into the city centre on Hagley Road:-

All eleven bus routes down Hagley Road now get diverted on a longer and slower journey into Colmore Row via the Arena. And, the bus no longer uses the underpass at Five Ways which is given over to the tram, permanently! If we change for the tram at 54 Hagley Road, we then have to cross the busy main road and wait for the tram (opens 2021). Again, a slower and less helpful journey to hardly encourage people to give up the car and use the bus! And those without cars are penalised, once again. So give them Fare-Free Public Transport (FFPT) as a reward, on bus priority roads.  Paid for by abandoning "bus on rails" tram extensions!

Best wishes - and please give me your reasons for tram construction, Ian and Lisa.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Eddy Morton and SCDT show the way forward

Well done, Eddy. You have put it perfectly. As has Laurie Macfarlane. Housing costs must also include the cost of energy used in the home that must be the absolute minimum to cut deadly greenhouse gases. That is exactly what you are doing Eddy. Dudley Council needs to wake up and follow your lead. Buildings going up now are nowhere near the Passivhaus standard. That is a tragedy, as is the roll out of Metro "bus on rails" trams to replace perfectly good trains and buses that need to be brought up to, at least, the average of the standard in Europe. And, with regional Fare-Free Transport extended to ALL! More altruistic elders like me need to campaign for this equality and the ending of discrimination against the middle aged and young!

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Four scandals that our leaders are responsible for and complacent about

 The West Midlands four scandals - all mayoral candidates and seven leaders must act:


  • After 46 yrs, there is still no justice for the 21 killed in the Brum pub bombings in 1974.  And, this after W Mids Police within hours, got the first six Irishmen they could find and pinned the blame on them.  There must be a public inquiry as Julie Hambleton is so insistent and the Home Secretary is prevaricating over - now, for five months.

  • After 40 years of efforts to destroy the UK’s last principal mainline railway for a “bus on rails” on roads and railways, tram extension, main works are now starting.  So, on one side of Brum they destroy another mainline railway for a tramline, a test track and a proposed cycle-walkway and, on the other side, they build HS2.  It is still much cheaper to pay the cancellation fees and finish the Derby, Dudley, Devon railway with the trains they have forgotten up to now.  NOT DESTROY IT, AS THE COUNCIL LEADERS WANT!

  • Our Mayor and the seven leaders have allowed one of their own number to be suspended as Leader of Sandwell Council for mild criticism of the Israeli government in 2017/18.  This is Cllr Yvonne Davies.  Mayor candidate, Liam Byrne said there is no place for antisemitism and racism in the Labour Party and supported the suspension.  I call on the Mayor and the council leaders to demand the immediate reinstatement of Cllr Davies as Leader - in a public statement.

  • Last decade, £62 m was given to Brum for only Brum cycling infrastructure.  The similar size population in the four Black Country boroughs got nothing.  This, even when the Black Country has the region’s longest, continuous, 22 Kms Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway from Brierley Hill to NW Wolverhampton, via Wombourne.  This is totally unacceptable.  I call on Brum and the seven leaders to finally finish this major business and commuter route, for cyclists so we can use it - WITHOUT THE MUD.



Tim Weller 20 March 2021

Sir David Attenborough's new doc: 'Humans are intruders'

Sir David Attenborough has urged people to remember their impact on the natural world, ahead of his new documentary on the impacts of lockdown on nature.

He spoke to the BBC's David Shukman about his hopes for the project, the upcoming global climate summit and his young fan base.

'The Year Earth Changed' airs Friday 16 April 2021 on Apple TV+.

"Human beings, even with the best will in the world, cannot but restrict the natural world.  That's what we are doing.  We're pushing it aside, even the most considerate of us.  That is almost inevitable to some degree but let us realise we are intruders, that we are latecomers, and that the natural world actually by and large, would do much better if we weren't there at all.

"To what extent is it important or not, or in what form, that the great climate summit takes place at the end of this year?

"We have got to get together and the nations of the world have got to agree that it'll mean some things people will have to give up, others will have to be understanding, all those problems have got to be sorted out, we haven't done it before but we have to do it now.

"Well what it does to me is to remind me that the natural world, if its allowed to appear and, as it were, speak to people, is full of drama.  The best thing I can do is keep out of the way.  The best thing I can do is keep quiet.  People think that the credit, in some way, belongs to me - it doesn't.  It belongs to the natural world, the wonder and to the hyphen, the connections which come from the cameramen.  They're the - that's why the programmes are worth watching because the natural world is just full of spectacle and wonder."

Twitter to Chris Burden https://twitter.com/WulfrunianChris

Do you want regional Fare-Free Public Transport extended from old crocks like me who are on our way out and increasingly housebound, to you dynamic young things, Chris? timweller1@gmail.com

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

‘Raise my taxes – now!’: the millionaires who want to give it all away

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/apr/03/raise-my-taxes-now-the-millionaires-who-want-to-give-it-all-away

 

Have just come across this article that is exactly what I have been thinking all my life, Deborah!

 

I’m an ordinary, retired Brum social worker who never got promoted but, even so, I think I’m rich because I live simply and frugally but very comfortably on a few hundred pounds a month and save another few hundred pounds every month.  Some of which I give away.

 

Why do useless unnecessary work to escalate the runaway greenhouse effect, like building HS2 and Metro and Sprint when the rich, like me could share out our wealth with the rest, with more people staying at home?

Just good ol' plain and simple and basic is all you need - honest!

Simply, fare-free for some extended to all.  Be inclusive, to miss no-one but to have everyone.  Simple and fair for all!

And, please campaign and go on asking for FFPT instead of the deadly greenhouse gas emitting in construction, wealth flaunting, high status, all style over substance, Metro trams.

W Mids Women's Voice transport ask

Dear Debbie, Sharonjit, Jane and Deborah - please reply to say you will act - or not!

Your manifesto for the Mayoral candidates to adopt

 

Please don't hanker for the boys' toys or to be part of their aggression, violence and love of building, demolition and rebuilding.

 

I fully support the five asks, as long as 5. includes the Fare-Free Public Transport (FFPT) that I have enjoyed for 13 years, is extended to everyone else.  And, your policy, wish must not include the very greenhouse gas emitting but, popular Metro tram extensions.  Is that OK?  Simply, fare-free for some extended to all.  Be inclusive, to miss no-one but to have everyone.  Simple and fair for all!


And, please campaign and go on asking for FFPT instead of the deadly greenhouse gas emitting in construction, wealth flaunting, high status, all style over substance, Metro trams.

 

With best wishes

 

Tim Weller

More you spend the more you are trashing the planet - and other's prospects ruined!

World's wealthiest "at heart of climate problem". The world’s wealthy must radically change their lifestyles to tackle climate change, a report says. It says the world's wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, according to the UN. from https://www.reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/comments/mpwf6p/worlds_wealthiest_at_heart_of_climate_problem_the/

Migration Works

Dear Tamsin  (Tamsin Koumis Migration Work CIC)

www.migrationwork.org

I am very happy to join you on Thursday at 5 pm, if you are still inviting me.

I was a declared candidate for the Metro Mayor election until the 8 April when I decided not to become confirmed as an Independent candidate on that date.  I was not prepared to give the government (HMG) £5,000 for the deposit when I knew that I would get so few votes I would lose the money.  I do not want to fund HMG:
  1. over its 40% increase in nuclear warheads;
  2. on over £200 billion going for Trident replacement;
  3. £7 billion for two new aircraft carriers;
  4. over £100 billion for HS2;
  5. for supporting and subsidising sales of armaments to fuel the war in Yemen and its military support to Saudi Arabia;
  6. for £15 billion going to replace buses on roads with "buses on rails" on roads Metro trams in the West Midlands;
  7. the destruction of the 120 Kms Worcester to Derby via the Black Country railway with "buses on rails" on roads Metro trams, a Very Light Rail test track and, extended cycle-walkway.
In addition, I strongly disapprove of HMG's policy of electing rather than selecting, by an open and fair shortlist and interview process, for our Metro Mayor when he has very limited powers and is more of a representative and ambassador for the policies and actions of the W Mids Combined Authority.

I strongly support the importance of registering to vote.  However, I will be voting and recording an abstention on the ballot paper to indicate my protest at an unnecessary election for a public relations Mayor who is virtually powerless and must work with the seven council leaders and not rule over them.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Grygarn Fawr at 645 metres in the Rhayader hills

Easily coped with a long day yesterday doing a big hill, Grygarn Fawr 645m that I first and last visited on 30 October 1988! But on that day I did yet another that was completely beyond me yesterday. Occasional flurries of snow in the air blown in from snow showers to the NW. On that occasion, I parked in the Elan valley, to the north.  Yesterday, I walked in from Abergwesyn village hall and took in a beautiful route of waterfalls, woods, a deep ravine, green fields, lots of sheep and the two most enormous cairns that were so high they could not be free climbed - by me, at any rate!