TO THE STAR
24 May 2019
Nearly £2 BILLION (to 2026) to replace diesel buses with diesel Sprint buses and using electric trams to destroy the UK's only mothballed mainline railway!
In the 1990s, I was told in all seriousness by the Leader of Dudley MBC, Cllr Fred Hunt, that the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Extension (WBHE) would be open by 2000. It was not. In March of last year, I was told by the Black Country Director of Transport, Stuart Everton, that work was due to begin in the summer. It did not. The official start date for the main works is now the third quarter of this year. Therefore, there is still time for cooler heads to prevail. You three journalists are distant and independent from the fray. If you think I am on to something here, please write a little more so that the blunder is further delayed to enable a review of the scheme. If I am wrong, please tell me!
Metro One was opened in 1999. That meant the permanent closure of Low Level principal station and a loss of passenger services, I believe, to Shrewsbury and possibly Crewe (I would like that confirmed or corrected, if you are able, please). WBHE is even more devastating on heavy railway services for growing freight and passenger services, that are at full capacity now, in the Black Country and Brum. Platform 4 at Snow Hill station is still unused and wasted!
£55.7 billion is being spent on HS2 to increase capacity. The politicians’ £449 million for WBHE is soon to be spent to reduce capacity!
All political parties are still wanting the 1981 decision to have a network of electric trams to replace some diesel buses and diesel trains. This, when electric buses and electric trains would have been more sensible, financially responsible and with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Not one public statement condemning the scandalous destruction of urban railway lines that continues to this day. No public statement on the sheer stupidity of converting the 120 Kms Black Country Mainline Railway into a piddling little shuttle tram line over 6.7 Kms. No public statement on the matter of this important railway "of national strategic significance", having a Very Light Rail Innovation Centre, a trail of trees and, in south Staffordshire, a new extended cycle-walkway. All on a nationally important, mainline railway!!
From the powers that govern us, there has been:
NO discussion or debate in any of the seven council chambers on spending nearly £2 billion.
NO vote, of course. There was, however, in Edinburgh, in March, over their tram extension. And in went ahead: 36 to 26 councillors voted in favour.
NO democracy - in the land that goes on (wrongly) about being the Great Mother of all Parliaments and the best democracy in the world!
YES to improper but powerful influence at Transport HQ by the national tram promotion group that wants trams everywhere, regardless of the cost. That lobby group also has its HQ in Transport HQ.
YES to collusion + complicity = corruption at 16 Summer Lane.
YES to continuing to squander nearly £2 billion over the next seven years. This, at a time of continuing austerity causing suffering for the NHS/social care and, the £2 billion resulting in a worsening climate catastrophe of £2 billion of totally unnecessary greenhouse gases to hasten planet earth turning into our 'twin' planet, venus.
I think the green transport policy is free bus travel for all and not just the disabled and elderly, like me. Dunkirk and Luxembourg are going down this route with total free public transport. Many eastern European towns and cities are already doing it. £2 billion would pay for this and the no 9 bus route experiment, I have proposed elsewhere.
With best wishes