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) 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)