This is economic and transport illiteracy and lunacy!
From Dudley Council, dated 21 September 2015:
"Not wishing to pre-empt the outcome of the study, it should be noted that previously the re-introduction of diesel multiple units (heavy rail) has been shown to be uneconomic. Although the Council had until recently pursued the possibility of introducing a short shuttle service between Castle Hill and Dudley Port, these plans have now been abandoned.
Proposals for the Very Light Rail Innovation Centre and test track facility have been modified to facilitate the full passenger proposals (Metro) subject to the outcome of the Rapid Transit Study mentioned above."
- In the 1990s, Dudley Council and the other six district authorities were all wanting the Western Orbital Motorway to complete the Black Country and Brum motorway box.
- They have never wanted the existing and usable 78 Km of double track railway line brought back into passenger use to make for the reinstatement of the railway box around Birmingham and through the heart of three Black Country boroughs.
- Sustrans (sustainable transport that should also mean railways) has not taken sides over what, to me, is so very obvious as to what is, and is not, sustainable transport.
- Our magnificent seven authorities, that includes Sustrans, failed to get their 54 miles of new motorway (in the 1990s). It was called the Western Orbital Motorway.
- In 34 years of useless but very expensive endeavour, the seven authorities and Sustrans (and me!) failed to get even 10 Km of light rail trams on the middle section only of the UK's only unused but usable, north-south, inter city express line (ICE) - the Black Country bypass ICE Line. Even when they were promised £35 million by the 1990s owners of Merry Hill Shopping Centre!
- The bypass line bypasses what remains one of the worst rail congestion bottlenecks in the UK - what is now called Grand Central Shopping Centre and basement station. Many more shops than platforms and perhaps, even trains. An even grander shopping centre to use while we wait for our delayed or cancelled trains. "Find out about the new bars, restaurants and shops now open in this state of the art shopping complex." (How Grand Central sells itself - it is not a railway station but was built with railway money!)
- The Black Country Line had 100 years of successful passenger trains from London Paddington to the north.
- For 50 years of increasing road and rail congestion and worsening rail capacity - to such an extent that we are urgently spending £50 billion to build HS2 - "the re-introduction of diesel multiple units (heavy rail) has been shown to be uneconomic" on the 38 Km Black Country bypass Line. Yet, it is economic (with an unassailable business case) but impossible to achieve, the much more expensive, electric light rail trams on this same line.
- At £100 million per mile, Metro trams are planned to run from Grand Central to Edgbaston along congested roads. On the same length, but continued to Quinton is planned the £15 million SPRINT tram-buses to also relieve road traffic congestion. Why this duplication? Why not make some of the existing buses limited stop? Why not concentrate on more electric hybrid buses? Scrap SPRINT. Concentrate on buses and returning the trains.
- It is also transport lunacy to allow and even put new raised bricks across the whole width of towpaths on bridges and, sometimes beneath them. This discourages both walking and cycling and, in my opinion, Sustrans should be opposed to this practice by the Canal and River Trust and be helping to get the towpaths fit for purpose for modern day use and not for 18th century horses pulling boats!