Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Proposed Clent Hills Regional Park

Dear Prof Kathryn

I am delighted to read about the W Mids National Park that you have drawn up. I wonder if you feel able to go one step further?

I am asking for your agreement, support and promotion to give national park standard protection to our 30 sq Kms Clent Hills Golden Green Triangle with its boundaries of one motorway and two dual carriageways around the 1,000 feet high Clent Hills and its foothills of fields, woodland, footpaths and fishing pools.

The 30 sq Kms Triangle has obvious and natural boundaries from the three major roads south of the Halesowen bypass that is one of the major roads.
It has the Clent Hills Country Park on one side of it.
One Woodland Trust property and many other delightful woods.
The unofficial, but still walked for 150 years, Dowery Dell Trail following the line of the Halesowen Railway from Hunnington Station to Longbridge Station.
A large network of public paths and bridleways.

This proposed 30 sq Kms regional park is adjacent to the two million population of the Black Country and Brum.
It is vital that it is now used, increasingly, for organic food farming to cut back on very harmful fossil fuel food miles.
It is essential for recreation and for amenity - for all the population on its doorstep.
It is urgent to stop the insidious urban encroachment, with national park standard of protection.
It can help postpone Attenborough's "collapse of civilisations", "extinction of much of the natural world" and "time is running out" warnings.


Would you, Professor Kathryn, feel able to support national park planning constraints and laws governing this important triangle?

The more people who can go along with my suggestion, the sooner we can stop built development of all kinds coming to the Clent Hills Regional Park.  Please call it by this name that then helps to get the authorities to also accept the name, to use it and therefore to live up to that name and all it entails in forbidding built development on land that has never had built development.

With best wishes

Tim (Weller)

Can you find the COMPLIMENT in this piece?!

16 March 2017

Dear Russell - and copied to Railfuture as a question for their Transport Forum on Thursday 6 April in the Banqueting Suite of Birmingham's fetching Council House, please.

Mark Cooper has sent me a copy of your e-mail to him, dated 7 March 2017.

What is pertinent to ask is this.  Why has Network Rail and its predecessors disposed of:

  1. Many tens of kilometres of urban, double track railway lines and stations in the West Midlands?  They have been turned into roads, homes, trading estates and, used for retail use.
  2. Other urban, double track railway lines that had successful passenger trains for one hundred years are still denied today's commuter and intercity trains, plus stations.  Why is this?
  3. Why is the half used (well done for achieving this, by the way) the half used, 120 Km Worcester, Black Country, Derby railway line still without passenger trains between Stourbridge Junction and Bescot and between Walsall in the Black Country and Burton on Trent in Staffordshire?
  4. Why is your transport infrastructure, that you own, only partly used and even totally unused except for trees, a proposed 2 Km test track and a planned 7 Km of trams on the 120 Km Black Country Railway?
  5. Please explain why trees, a test track and a short tramway must have priority over much more useful commuter, intercity and freight trains.
  6. Are you aware that road congestion is now costing the West Midlands economy £2.3 billion every year?  Never mind railway congestion and overcrowding!
  7. Are you at all bothered about rising greenhouse gas emissions from wasted and, even many years of destroying perfectly good railway infrastructure - in the four boroughs of the Black Country, in particular?

I would be glad to understand Network Rail's rationale, your logic, or just your very strange thinking for wasting and even destroying your very own assets and infrastructure, please.  Are you all of sound mind? It cannot be a shortage of cash or staff, when your HS2 partners are being given £55.7 billion to add new lines to your national railway network while busily destroying ours in the heavily congested and traffic polluted Black Country!

Please ensure that Mark Carne, Chris Grayling MP and Cllr Roger Lawrence all read this even if, as usual, they have no answer to my rather obvious questions.

Best wishes for a little better success with your railway in future years.  Could you pick up some tips as to how to do it from Europe?

Dear railway industry and ORR.  Declan, please could you take a look and comment on my e-mail at the very foot?

Thanks for your decency in replying, Russell.

However, should you not be so ashamed of your industry's performance that you would want, immediately to pass my e-mail on to the ORR, yourself?  Like your good selves this august body (dormant or dead?) is also quite unabashed and apathetic and acquiescent in the non use, part use, misuse and even total obliteration of railway infrastructure that was in high demand for 100 years.

Best wishes for better - whenever you can all start

Monday, 16 September 2019


Dear James

Thank you for you typed letter of the 13 September 2019.

Everyone of our dear, so well meaning MPs and councillors are destroying 20th century high speed railways to then build brand new high speed railway lines - just as the runaway greenhouse effect takes off so very nicely to warm us up a little.  Let me explain.

You are all quite happy to spend an official £449 m, plus cost overruns, for "bus on rails" trams to further wipe capacity out of our West Midlands railway network while wanting £56 BILLION, plus colossal cost overruns, to increase capacity with HS2 and, yet more billions of pounds and greenhouse gases for HS3 and Crossrail 2.

The Minister of State for Transport is clueless and cannot get his head round that "conversion of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line (part of the 120 Kms Worcester to Derby mainline railway) by TfWM to light rail operation" may well prevent the reopening of the Camp Hill line and its three rebuilt stations to be the success we want it to be.  The full 120 Kms Black Country Railway for REGIONAL AND FREIGHT TRAINS, not TRAMS is the key to the  success of the Camp Hill reopening.  I am quoting from Chris Heaton-Harris's letter to James Morris, dated 30 August 2019, coming up here:

Some VIPs say, in effect, it is folly for another of the W Midlands’  last mainline railway lines to also be destroyed. They want heavy rail on it, NOT light rail “bus on rails” trams or, a test track for very light rail.

Network Rail and DfT say, “safeguarding a heavy rail corridor ... is of value” for the unfinished section of the 120 Kms mainline railway “of national strategic significance”.  Safeguarding does not mean turning a total of 6.7 Kms out of the wasted 56 Kms into a piddling little shuttle tram line that prevents the return of daytime freight, intercity, regional and commuter trains between Worcester and Derby when “the other SW-NE route (via Bromsgrove) is already at full daytime capacity.”

A 120 Kms mainline railway is also far too long for tram trains and train trams to be operating in future years.  The now destroyed Snow Hill to Wolverhampton Low Level railway might have been suitable for such experiments. That railway is now a tramway for time and eternity.

from letter dated 8 March 2018 from:
Lisa O'Dea
Correspondence Manager
Department for Transport

The crucial paragraph I have quoted from:

“I have sought clarification on the situation from Network Rail, who inform me that this is a section of railway of national strategic significance. Investment in the corridor would allow for continued freight growth given that the other SW-NE route (via Bromsgrove) is already at full daytime capacity. From a
passenger perspective, safeguarding a heavy rail corridor across the Round Oak-Bescot route is of value as this is the only corridor which could accept freight traffic displaced by further passenger flows into central Birmingham (SELF: from the reopening of the Camp Hill line). I understand from Network Rail that recent discussion on the project has therefore focused around how best to balance the interests of freight and passenger rail traffic.”

The TfWM and WMCA are out of order, out of control and out of their minds.  I think, the lot of them need a good kick up the backside to wake them out of their slumbers and to snap them out of their obsession with light rail trams since 1981.  They are careless about contributing further to the nightmare we are all sleepwalking into.
Not one transport expert at TfWM/WMCA has been able to explain what this actually means:
"We are working with the WMCA and Network Rail to ensure that passive provision for freight trains is retained in case this line is required for that use at some point in the future." (the Heaton-Harris letter of 30 August 2019). I fear this is disingenuous, indeed dishonest gobbledygook, that means nothing.  Once converted to tram operation, only night operation of freight trains on the Black Country Railway, taken off the Camp Hill line, may be possible to allow for the new commuter, half hour shuttle service on the Camp Hill line.


Tim Weller

MS Serenissima and Noble Caledonia

Dear Laura

We had a wonderful time on our 2-10 September cruise on the 'Serenissima'.  Our first with yourselves.

We do want to join one of your cruises again but only for a 'no fly' cruise.  We are concerned about what might, now be the runaway greenhouse effect, so we are wanting to cut our greenhouse gas emissions.  We do try and avoid flying when we can.  We would like Noble to do the same!

In addition, we would certainly return to you if you appoint Neil Horrocks as Cruise Director and Rene as Musician.  They were both brilliant, especially when they were on the piano at the same time.  Neil's wonderful flamboyant, never before seen and never will be seen in any concert hall worthy of its name, finale brought the house down.  Very, very funny!  He and Rene are both superb assets that you must not lose!  Rene's star quality was his voice and brilliant performances on piano and keyboard.  We loved the karaoke.

You could also do no better than hire the amazing young Scottish musicians that Neil discovered and got on board for one evening's entertainment when we had to have a second night in Fort William.  They were from there and in international demand.

We would also like to get on one of your cruises that tries again to get to Loch Scavaig, Canna and Colonsay.  You could add in Rum, too!

Please make sure we don't miss out on hearing about another cruise with Neil and Rene.

Thanks again for a great time.

Tim and Linda Weller - full contact details, at the very foot!