Friday, 15 March 2019


Dear Brad - and copied to people who can confirm, correct or deny the accuracy of what I have written here.

You are brilliant at not being so high and mighty that you cannot reply.  You have the common decency and courtesy to engage and to engage honestly, too.  THANK YOU!  Everyone of my local politicians and officers could learn a thing or two from your fine example.

However, I still don't think it has dawned on you that the mainline railway, almost adjacent to the Waterfront, will be wasted, unused, possibly for the rest of time.  A railway "of national strategic significance" being used as a shuttle "bus on rails" tram line to 'Grand Central Shopping Centre and Diesel Perfumed Basement Station', aka New St Sta. This is a most terrible waste of transport infrastructure that has already had millions of pounds spent on it and will now remain wasted, possibly for an eternity!  You will never be connected to the NE and the SW of England by fast, regional and even intercity trains.  Instead, you are being sold a pup - when you could have a mature, grown up dog!  Instead of the tram line at double the expense per kilometre of the M6 Toll when it opened in December 2003, you could have passenger trains from all parts of the country coming to Merry Hill - as used to be the case, of course.  They came to the station in Brierley Hill, itself because your site was Merry Hill Farmhouse and farmlands and the northern part was Round Oak Steelworks - either side of Level Street.  This was the case from around 1850 in the midst of the ultimately catastrophic, climate changing Industrial Revolution.  Even then, apparently, some scientists were warning of the terrible consequences of burning fossil fuels!

I don't think you get it, Brad.  No shuttle tram but a grown up regional and even national service on the full 120 Kms.  You would be able to get about that more easily in your car when driving through the Midlands.  Some motorists will use the mainline railway to allow you to have a more pleasant drive on motorways with fewer vehicles!

Anyway, it doesn't matter that you cannot see the grand scheme that could be yours!  You must settle for very much less than the best, as TfWM/WMCA also want.  You are in good company.

14 March 2019  
I wrote all that yesterday morning.  I have woken up today and feel that I must add this.  To be blunt, you are facilitating the permanent destruction of the UK's only/last mothballed mainline railway over 120 Kms between Worcester and Derby.  The northern and southern sections are in use but the most important section is YOUR section, in the middle through the Black Country and that bypasses "one of the worst railway congestion bottlenecks in the UK", viz: 'Grand Central Shopping Centre and Diesel Perfumed Basement Station' aka New St Sta.  The intention of the 'experts' is for a railway "of national strategic significance" to be used as a shuttle "bus on rails" tram line to 'Grand Central'. This is a most terrible waste of transport infrastructure that has already had millions of pounds spent on it and will now remain wasted, until humanity is passed over in favour of other life forms!  Millions of pounds was spent in recent years for the flyovers and tunnels over the forgotten 56 Kms to allow new dual carriageways and motorways to be built.  But the idiots forgot to go on to the next step - the rather vital trains and stations!

Your Waterfront Mainline Railway station must be connected to the shops by electric buses or by electric, driverless, elevated monorail. NOT the railway "of national strategic significance" used as a piddling little shuttle tram line. The current intention is as shocking as the chaos of our government's Brexit. It was the stupid transport planners and small minded politicians who allowed an excellent top model, Swiss monorail from Von Roll to be built and opened in, I think, 1990. Yet, the foolish, ignorant, authorities failed to connect the last 400 metres, from Waterfront monorail station, to the nationally important railway at Round Oak. Even then, the much needed commuter/regional trains and stations should have gone back - in 1990! Round Oak is almost adjacent to the Waterfront that you own.

I think, Brad that only you and your company can knock some sense into the heads of the public sector top officials, politicians and 'experts'. It is your national duty to do so. Seriously!

Very best wishes

Brexit shambles is all part of the problem

Is a true Brexit really practical or possible?  Everything works well with trade so why upset it all?  If it ain't broke don't fix it.
There are so many different versions of Brexit
It is all a wasteful and wrong diversion from tackling the number one threat to all life on earth, viz human induced climate breakdown.
It is costing billions in paper, to-ing and fro-ing and, with all the hard work in preparation.
There has to be many more years of renegotiating trade deals once we do leave.  I think this is a complete waste and diversion of tackling climate breakdown and resource depletion.
The more we spend, the more fossil fuels we use and the more greenhouse gases are emitted to enhance, catastrophically, the natural greenhouse protective layer.
It is putting the Good Friday Peace Agreement under strain.  Republicans do not want anything that will distance themselves from the Republic of Ireland or make things even slightly more awkward and slower in crossing the border.  Jan 2019 car bomb.  March 4 letter bombs.  The murder of Lyra McKee.  It could lead to the 'The Troubles, Part 2'.  Certainly, smuggling will be given a nice boost to help the coffers of the criminal and violence wins fraternity.
Any excuse for the men of violence to restart the troubles.  England may not escape.
Measure twice; cut once.  The basic principle of all construction from engineering to sewing.
A second referendum is needed to check out whether this really is what the British public want, now we are a lot wiser about the intractable problems involved.
The debate on Brexit did not really start until AFTER the referendum.
For some voters it was pure pot luck how they voted.  Many did not know which way to vote.
Have we learnt anything over the last three years?
Are we not better informed over the conundrum of the Irish border that never got a look in before the do or die referendum?
Such a momentous decision should never have been left to a narrow, "1% margin is enough" to decide it.  It was never like that over the referendums held over devolution for Wales and Scotland.  They were not rushed.  Membership of the EU is even more important than an assembly or a parliament for those two countries that took years of voting in the 1990s.
Two smaller countries on the periphery did not want to come out of the EU.  Only England and Wales wanted out.
52/48% to leave was not nearly enough to justify the vast expense and disruption incurred when things were working smoothly.
This is all a throw back to colonial days when we ruled the foreigners, we knew best and were a cut above the rest.  After all, we did have the biggest and longest running empire in the history of humanity.
Our successful and glorious past leads us to think we can do without the EU.  Our Royal Navy ruled the waves and our Brave British Army kept the native hordes in the colonies under control.  We can do it again without any membership of the EU.
Brexit was partly an anti-immigrant, anti foreigner vote.  We heroic Brits came racing to Europe's 'rescue' twice in the last century.  Hence, we never joined at the beginning.  To reflect this superiority, we are the only nation with 'Great' as part of our name.  We great, peace loving, Brits are just too great for the war mongering Europeans!  Why do we need them?  (tongue in cheek)
A week before the June 2016 referendum, Jo Cox was murdered by a pro white racist.  I think, she would still be alive today if it had not been for the referendum.
Europe is showing immense patience, forbearance and still wants us in!
So many Germans I have met genuinely love us Brits!  What on earth for?  Some even sent us an official, German government backed, 'love' letter in 2018!
Brexit has too many pitfalls, too much uncertainty, too many risks - especially to peace in N Ireland; offhandedly and so typically dismissed as Operation Fear by the English who have never had much interest in the too often, most unfortunate history of our unwelcomed involvement in Ireland down the centuries.
It is a most unfortunate diversion from reversing the troubled earth turning into lifeless venus horror show.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Can Deborah Cadman, with Laura Shoaf, fix it for us all?

Dear Deborah, Laura and Waseem

Thank you so much for your reply.  But my examination paper of ten questions and suggestions went all unanswered!

Could you tell me who Paul Clarke is, please?  I don't think I have come across him.  Could I sound him out, please?  To get his feedback?

The most obvious and easiest suggestion for improvement is to put commuter/regional trains back on our 106 Kms of railway lines, starting with the 56 Kms "of national strategic significance" in Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall and on to Burton on Trent.  You are putting Metro trams on a total of 6.7 Kms so that only leaves 49.3 Kms that still need the commuter and regional trains and, Railfuture's nine stations back - PLEASE!

I have been told it must be done first for the success of the Camp Hill line reopening.  This is because of overloaded, congested 'Grand Central Shopping Centre and Diesel Perfumed Station Tagged Along As An Afterthought in the Basement of the John Lewis Store', aka New Street Station!  Before you came, we had a cosmetic tarting up job done instead of the additional tunnels and platforms that are still needed.  In the past, Peter Plisner of BBC 'Midlands Today' has called it "one of the worst railway congestion bottlenecks in the UK".  As usual, nothing has changed for the better.

Can you fix it for us all, please during your time in Brum so I can see it on my dying day?  You and Laura would then have achieved something really worthwhile that the hopeless men have been quite unable to achieve in my 50 years in Brum and the Black Country!

Anyway, very best wishes for whatever you can do to improve the daily traffic crawl and the sardine packed trains in the rush hours.  And, the relentless grinding out of greenhouse gases to tighten up the screw on poor planet earth nicely transformed into another planet venus.


Isn't it funny. Every business case ...

is called robust;
robustly justifies every kind of expenditure from spending £1 billion of public money on 14 Kms of tramline to duplicate a bus route in Edinburgh in 2014;
to spending nearly the same but, this time, private money on the M6 Toll for 43 Kms in 2003;
to splashing out £17.6 billion of public money on 117 Kms Crossrail;
to justify spending £44,000 per metre to extend Edinburgh's £1 billion tram line to Newhaven to replace buses;
to justify spending £44,000 per metre to convert our ready made, but they forgot the trains and stations, 120 Kms mainline "of national strategic significance" into a piddling little shuttle tram line on two short, middle sections, totalling 6.7 Kms.   

"The latest work to refine the scheme and the efficiencies to be developed within the Midland Metro Alliance give a good level of confidence that the project can be delivered within the current funding envelope (SELF: of £44,000 per metre, times 11 Kms.  Eleven times the cost per kilometre of the second attempt at returning trains between Wolverhampton and Walsall.  The first attempt was a failure, last decade!)."  Report to WMCA Investment Board on 11 March 2019

"the scheme has a benefit to cost ratio of 2.03:1."      

Every business case comes up with a great Cost Benefit Ratio that compels massive expenditure, eg to dismantle/destroy the tram network and to rebuild it on the road and railway networks a few decades later.  This is called high Value for Money when it is 2.03:1.  In other words, you double your money.  Therefore, whatever you pay up front, you get more than double that back in destroying yet another urban and intercity railway line, in the case of trams taking over the UK's one and only mothballed mainline.

"As part of the arrangements for the transfer of part of the abandoned South Staffordshire rail corridor (SELF: anachronistic, out of date, inaccurate name DfT now call 'The Black Country Railway') to Metro an agreement with Network Rail is being negotiated to ensure passive provision is made within the Metro works for future rail service use of the route. Implementation of future rail services will be subject to consultation between Network Rail and WMCA and appropriate powers and funding being secured." 

All this, when there is never a business case to cut public spending on the Police, the NHS/social care or education to pay for all this largesse.  "Don't worry your little head over it all, Tim.  You know that you will get back double whatever the final cost is because cost benefit analysis tells us so.  It is another of Mrs May's magic money tree tricks."

The money is always found for the flash, the glamorous, the most prestigious projects to hasten Attenborough's "collapse of civilisations" and "the extinction of much of the natural world" warnings from COP24 in Poland in December 2018.


And copied into the Mayor's Office for their information and action to get me on board, out of the running and well out of the way - please!  MAYOR'S OFFICE, please confirm receipt and action, quickly.

My conditions for withdrawing to help Andy in 2020

I also think Andy was an excellent choice and hope he gets in, again next year.  I do like him and support him whenever I can.  I really don't want to take votes off him, if I do go ahead with standing as an Independent.  But, he must be outspoken against tram extensions; but, for putting the commuter/regional trains and stations back, starting with the completion of the 120 Kms Black Country Railway - extremely urgently and before the Camp Hill line; and, introducing a sea change in our commuting habits.  That is, twelve month, A456 Hagley Road experiment of:
  • never taking the car into Brum city centre unless it is essential for your major business livelihood or, there are at least two adult passengers in the car.  Strict enforcement by random roadside checks when traffic is stationary; and CCTV.  Hefty financial penalties for transgressing.  Once you are down to one passenger or solo, you must go into the slower, outside lane immediately.
  • This is done by 100% bus lanes on every nearside lane of the no 9 bus route and traffic light priority for buses and other vehicles permitted in the bus lane.
  • Cancellation of elite, very expensive Sprint to allow for every bus to be similarly favoured.  The roll out of Platinum buses makes Sprint unnecessary at this time.
  • Electric buses, asap, must be the mass transit for commuters and not anymore tram extensions.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Common misunderstandings over Metro trams

To be fair this isn’t my area of understanding.  If I get elected, I don’t believe this will be a subject I will be invited to contribute towards.  Because the vast majority are oblivious to the phenomenal cost of trams to replace buses and trains and to push buses out and to turn our local mainline railway into a piddling little shuttle tram line, a test track, a trail of trees and a cycle-walkway.  If the money can't be used to get Network Fail and TfWM/WMCA to FINISH the railway with the forgotten trains and stations, then the money should go to offset years of cuts to the Police, NHS/social care, education.

Trams of course seem to be very much part of WM combined authority vision. Because they have been improperly influenced by vested interests.  The national tram promotion group is in the same building as TfWM/WMCA that have easily been influenced to go for trams instead of the more obvious and sensible measures to reduce urban congestion and air pollution.  Earlier this decade, three top people in UK Tram Ltd were also top people in Centro.  Complicity + collusion = corruption.  And since their introduction they have been very popular as a form of rapid transport.  PTA/Centro got the money in the 1990s by declaring (exaggerating/lying) that passenger numbers would be 15 to 20 million every year.  Only with the extension, that misses out Snow Hill and goes straight to Grand Central Shopping Centre did it rise to 6 million a year.  They got the money because the sole reason for the extension was to connect Snow Hill with Grand Central - NOT to bypass Snow Hill as has been shown to be the true objective!  They have become the WM version of the Tube.  Yes.  The WM version of putting Tube trains on the Eurostar, HS1 line to Paris, in the case of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension.  Pretty idiotic!  They have more money than sense.

Rail is an alternative means of transport and reintroducing the historic lines is an infrastructure cost that perhaps should be argued in addition to rapid light transport, from memory the Wolverhampton segment utilised a fair amount of former rail infrastructure.  Please read my:

Thanks for responding.  I am a fan of trams, although I don't like the cheap and nasty hard, plastic seats on our Metro trams!  If the 1950s was today, I would be insisting that the authorities should NOT dismantle the tram network for diesel buses.  Simply modernise the trams instead of destroying them.  Wise and sensible expenditure.  Like my proposals for seeing a sea change in social attitudes towards bus/bike commuting instead of car commuting to free up the road space for essential business vehicle users.  My family has started!