Saturday, 31 October 2020

Proposed resolution for WMGP

"As compensation/reward for doing the right thing in using the bus, train and tram, the concessionary Free Travel Pass that disabled people and many others have had since they were 60 years old, must be extended to everyone.  Such a Fare-Free Public Transport system would apply at all times.  Dunkirk and Luxembourg have been the most recent in introducing it.

This should be paid for by abandoning the £15 billion of mainly underground and overground tram extensions in the West Midlands to 2040. It should also be used to improve disabled access for all ages, and to finish the 120 Km Worcester to Derby mainline railway through Dudley, Sandwell, and Walsall (costing less than £200m).

This line would be finished with commuter and regional trains, freight and the nine stations where new settlements have been built since the line was closed in the 1960s."

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Rare but welcome e-mail from Andy Street with my reply - Sept 2020

 On Sat, 19 Sep 2020 at 20:14, Andy Street <> wrote:

Dear Tim

Thank you for your correspondence about Metro lines received on 07 September 2020.


I also thank you for your comments regarding the use of railway lines, as you are aware, part of the track will be used for the Midland Metro, which is a step towards a multi-modal transport network in the West Midlands.

The expansion of the Midland Metro tram system is one of many projects that we are delivering with our partners to help meet those future needs.


Kind regards



Dear Andy

Thanks so much for the email.

You write, "... part of the track will be used for the Midland Metro, which is a step towards a multi-modal transport network in the West Midlands."

This is exactly the problem, my friend!  However, it is the multi-modal public transport that you are doing which is the PROBLEM!

Multi-modal means a change between bus and tram for those of us coming into Brum city centre from the west.
It means a slower and more tortuous journey by bus via the Arena diversion to the NW or, changing onto the tram at Morrisons, Five Ways for a more direct route.  Either way, a much slower public transport journey compared with the no 9 going directly down Hagley Road and Broad Street.

The WBHE means, similarly, spoiling/wrecking a previous direct train route, for 100 years, between Worcester the Black Country and Derby.
Instead of a train from Stourbridge to Derby, it means a bus to Cottage Street, Brierley Hill to pick up the tram to Wednesbury; for another bus to Walsall to then hire a pushbike to pedal to Brownhills for another bus to Lichfield; to then get a passenger train to Burton on Trent but, via Nuneaton (in the wrong direction) to finally get to Derby.

In addition, you already have every railway bridge, tunnel, underpass and flyover in place for TRAINS, over the full 120 Kms (74 mls)!

This is palpably absurd but you are wholly responsible, Andy!  AND I DON'T WANT YOU TO MAKE SUCH A COLOSSAL BLUNDER!

Please use the £15 BILLION to 2040 on mainly trams, to give us regional, fare-free public transport.  Like I have had for twelve years.  Dunkirk and Luxembourg are the most recent.  And give us our trains back on the train lines!

Best wishes


HAROLD EVANS - "Tie yourself to the mast of truth"

 Harold Evans "Journalist who at the Sunday Times became the most admired newspaper editor of his generation" died this year at the age of 92.


In February 2018, BBC journalist Razia Iqbal travelled to New York to interview a newspaper man whose name was a byword for serious investigative journalism. From his flat in New York, Razia Iqbal spoke to Sir Harold Evans about giving voice to the voiceless, risking going to prison and changing British law in his lifelong pursuit of the truth.

"What is the role of the press and journalists in the context of what you have just described 'of a dishonest presidency'?

"Tie yourself to the mast of truth.  When they do what they are doing with guns and taking money from the gun manufacturers at the same time as giving gun manufacturers immunity for the slaughter that the gun manufacturers create and profit from, then it is so disgusting you should get to the bottom of the matter.  And then you are to say, 'Who are the people responsible for this?'

"What would you say to someone who is 19 or 20 who is thinking about journalism today.  What would you say to them is essential for them to think about?"

"To make clear things that are otherwise obscure is itself a virtue so that would be a contribution to journalism.  WT Stead said it.  He saw journalism as the argos ide organ that would be watching everything that went on and that is what I hope the press would be.  So you have to ask questions all the time.  And, don't pretend before you ask a question that you know the answer."

Sunday, 25 October 2020

LISTEN to this train driver who knows what must be done

 So yes, there is on going investment in heavy rail in the West Midlands, however in the Black Country things are different as we know.

In general it’s fair to say there is no infrastructure investment other than maintaining the present day routes, no scheme for a park and ride service at Brierley Hill for heavy rail as this is up for grabs by another parry people mover scheme.

When are we ever going to learn that when we are gifted with a part used rail route like the Dudley line, we should put trains on it and reinstate the line as it was before it was mothballed by Railtrack.

It would be a through route with no changing trains other than at Walsall maybe, far better than what’s proposed, which would take discerning travellers far longer in this day and age, hardly anyone will use it, opting to go by bus as it is direct, cheaper & will probably be quicker.

It will become a costly white elephant,and I hope that the people who have approved and endorsed this scheme of image pay dearly for it.


30 September 2020

Dear VIPs

I would like this matter taken seriously, please and not dismissed completely, out of hand.  To that end, could Cllr Simon, Paul, Alan and Snr Rights of Way Officer, Jon White please discuss my concerns and suggestions, here and come back to me?

Although all UK local authorities have suffered cuts with ten years of austerity, many wealthy individuals have benefitted greatly with growing income from property and investments.  I am asking that, perhaps in a 20 mile radius, they should be tapped for assistance with sorting out the R Rea crumbling aqueduct and public highway, near Newnham Bridge.  Obviously, people like me would not give financially for greater security to stop walkers crossing or for demolition but I, for one, would help if a wire cable suspension bridge was achieved, as at Symonds Yat, mentioned to me by Jon White.  Access for construction traffic might be by the nearby dismantled railway line, to then remain as a permissive bridleway.  Fossil fuel-free walking must be massively boosted, with cycling and travel by horseback, as one important way of dealing with this century's coming shortages of oil and gas and, with lessening the Covid/Climate/Ecological emergency.

I am also very concerned about the unacceptable number of wrongly drawn public rights of way on the Definitive Map that lead walkers into straying off the path and trespassing.  Five in one square kilometre, near the aqueduct!  One, even goes straight through someone's home at New Brick Barns (path 507)!  What should be done?  Another encourages trespass at the old (Worcestershire CC once more) Hunnington railway station, near me.  Yet, nothing ever gets changed!  Reform is needed.

Please discuss the way forward over which of the three options, below you think is best.  There is a fourth - continue with 'do nothing'.

Best wishes

Tim Weller


Recent work opens the way for more walking groups and individuals to take a look at the very unusual, indeed special and, one of only two surviving, 18th-century brick-built aqueducts in the land.  It makes it even more likely that keen walkers/inquisitive explorers like me, will come across the 'closed' bridge, make their own assessment and, with some, quickly and easily cross.  Many must have done so over the years since the partial collapse in 2013.  But, endangering their lives.  I think, to prevent this, you must demolish what remains; or, put up effective, secure barriers that cannot be got round; or, put in a cheaper, suspension bridge like the one that Jon White, Snr Rights of Way Officer, told me about at Symonds Yat, Forest of Dean.  You must share the costs of whatever you do with Shropshire County Council - copied to Richard Knight of that council.  I understand it is jointly owned with the boundary down the middle of the river and through the centre of the bridge aqueduct.

Why not make a financial appeal to all Shropshire and Worcestershire council taxpayers, landowners and residents within a certain radius - 20 miles?  There are very many extremely wealthy landowners and individuals in the two counties.  I have offered £1,000 towards the costs of the suspension bridge crossing and I live over 20 miles away in Halesowen.  Making such an appeal would raise the necessary funds and greatly encourage the donors to park their cars, put their boots on and WALK to see what they have helped to fund!  Walking is now called 'active travel' and is the future in these times of finite fossil fuels enhancing disastrously, the natural greenhouse effect.

You have legally washed your hands of all liabilities for death or injury but, not your moral responsibility to competently care for the safety of the public on this public highway.  You must act expeditiously to prevent harm from coming to the public over a high river crossing that both councils have neglected for very many decades.  No maintenance whatsoever.  And, twenty years of doing nothing since Grade 2 listing of the unusual structure.  The district and county councils are wholly responsible for this shameful negligence.  You now have a moral duty to act.

I would like a positive reply, please from the Leader and Chief Executive of Worcestershire County Council.  Your council seems to be taking the lead and acting on behalf of Shropshire CC in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Tim Weller

Saturday, 24 October 2020

QUIZ of one bloodless question!

 The non-violent killer question:-

When the authorities have built a 120 Kms mainline railway "of national strategic significance", do you use it for:

    1) Metro trams?
    2) Test track?
    3) TRAINS?
    4) Cycle-walkway?
    5) Trees?
    6) For all 5?

How have I cleverly assisted you with the correct answer?!
But the authorities are doing 6)!

Do the experts know something we don't know?
Of course they do. They're out to impress with their multi-modal, multi-mixed up transport for Kiddi, Stourbridge and the Black Country!

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

The Far North for summits, trails and hotels!

The Far North for nostalgia, comfort, meeting the locals and, exploring settlements, coast and hinterland.  And in gratitude to Ben Armine Lodge and, the Langwell and Braemore Estate.

For the first time ever, for me, visiting the big hills in remote Scotland over more than 40 years and, this time, I had only three nights car camping but the strange luxury of eight nights staying in seven hotels for bed and breakfast.  Normally, only one hotel at the very end as my reward for a little energetic activity - and that only in recent years:

Loch Ericht Hotel, Dalwhinnie
Marine Hotel, Brora
Belgrave Arms Hotel, Helmsdale
Sutherland Hotel, Brora
Crask Inn, in the middle of nowhere - Caithness.  Douglas the host and Scottish Episcopal lay reader.  The other guests were Ian from Kirkcaldy, Fife and Lesley from Peebles in Borders Country.
Lairg Highland Hotel
Allan Ramsay Hotel, Carlops - 2 nights as the paying guest of Rosemary and Kenny.  Explored the Pentland Hills in seven hours.

12 days of cold and wind and cloud but not too much rain.  The worst day saw me summit two of the remotist Grahams over 700 m, near Rogart in nine hours - see Weller the wimp, below.  The second worst weather day saw me visit the two summits of one Graham twice - quite unintentionally!  I took a wrong bearing from the second summit, failed to double pace and walked in a circle as I tried to correct myself and landed back where I had come from!  I then took the correct N bearing, followed it with map/compass stuck out in front of me like a ship's helmsman steering by compass and, this time, I landed back where I wanted - on the first summit as part of the return walkout.  It was so satisfying to get it right, at the second attempt!

I am so ashamed at accepting the offer of 4x4 truck with the bike slung in the back.  It was entirely my own fault for asking for help at the very end of a long, exhausting first day.  I had never done that before.  I simply needed a sit down on the bench by the lodge where I had propped up the bike.  I would have been fine after some food, drink and a rest.  This was the nine hour day in wind and rain and low cloud.  Anyway, it ended with my driving the truck, fearful of meeting the promised husband who was due home with not a single passing place in 9 Kms!  What would he think?  I drove the truck almost all the way to the end of the private road.  I did meet the young man but at one of the gates where there was a good passing place.  He quite understood.  I left it, as instructed, on the only patch of grass off the track with the key stuck in the sun visor.  What brilliant women to trust me!  Did the truck need to be returned, anyway to the end of the road, I wondered?  I hope so!

First, well constructed and clean estate roads for the mountain bike to zoom along.  Near the beginning of the second day on the estate, I was stopped by the Head Keeper, near the grand entrance at Berriedale.  Quite rightly, this old boy from urban England, was a "pain" for appearing on the very day they were out stalking to cul deer.

"I know you are free to roam and I can't force you to turn back."
"I certainly understand and don't want to spoil things.  Can I walk in from the north?  Would that help?  I've done every Munro, every Munro Top, every Corbett and now I'm trying the Grahams and you've got Scaraben", I explained.

However he, very kindly, after looking at his digital OS map, let me continue the long cycle ride.  I was to leave the bike at the fishing hut, 10 Kms from the A9 at Berriedale.  He would inform the others of my presence on the hill.

BLACKPOOL PLEASURE BEACH on Scotland's North Coast 500
I was at Ceannabeinne Bay on the 5 April 2008.  What a stunning spectacle in a gale force N wind, not a soul about and, with great N Atlantic rollers crashing on to the vast expanse of white sand and rocks.  Then, I had the company of one otter as I walked over the sand.  Imagine my shock and horror when, on rounding the corner, the desolate beauty had been transformed into every parking place with a car or motorhome in it.  A large new car park, too.  There must have been about fifty children, young people and adults.  The youngsters were screaming from the zip wire and free jump as they zoomed over the bay.  All that was missing was the Big Dipper, the dodgems and the chiming ice cream van spewing out greenhouse gases!

For me, all this was as unwelcome as my bizarre appearance on one red mountain bike a day or two before, for the Head Keeper.  I thought, "Is nothing sacred?  Can there be nothing left to Nature?  Do we really have to concrete, brick and tarmac over every single square Km of fertile soil and natural habitat, as we humans overrun the entire planet to eventually make it uninhabitable for even ourselves?"

And the capitalist entrepreneur has devised "North Coast 500" to bring in more business as we all rise to the challenge of driving in car or motorhome round the 500 miles of north Scottish coast.  Night and day, laybys crammed with our internal combustion engines to soak up every gram of oil!

New roads and road widening schemes will soon be next, courtesy of 'The Highland Council'.

Slightly east of true north, with 22 on the south side of a prestigious new block of apartments on the corner of Kennedy Avenue and Grange Road, Dornoch.

When resources are finite we must confine solar panels to E, W, S pitches where they can do the most good, I would have thought.

Another Graham without a date in my 'Munro's Tables'; so there it was, to be climbed straight up from the road.  What an unusual summit that looked as though a giant with an axe had tried to split the mountain in two.  You came first to a shortish aerial next to a low, square stone hut.  The other summit, across a low steep-sided valley was the trig point at 720 m.  But the map has the trig pillar at 719 m where the aerial and stone hut is!

I heard them before I saw them as I struggled up Morven.  I was expecting them to overtake me but I reached the summit, this time with glorious views and still no company.  I got back to the car and found that one of them was suffering from a complaining tendon, so all of them turned back at the foot of the steep E face.

They were all ex-oil and gas platform men but now working on offshore wind turbines in the North Sea.  One plied me with coffee and water bottles that was good of him and we all had a good chat.  They were not impressed with my shabby appearance in my torn and ancient old waterproofs - worn because I was expecting a much muddier and puddle strewn bike ride.  They had walked the full distance, so I was able to catch up with them at the car park.

On my day exploring Brora, I came across a 78 year old who had lost his wife five years ago.  However, he still keeps and maintains in pristine condition two new cars - his and hers.  One is a Mercedes 4x4 and the other a BMW 4x4.  He drives the one one week and the other on the other week.

Both were recent and may have been bought brand new.  His job was as an electrical contractor.  His enormous bungalow was immaculate and was south facing.  But no solar panels to help subsidise his high living, high emission lifestyle.

THE HELMSDALE STATUE to remember the emigrants, the victims who, in their turn, sired descendants who drove the natives off their ancestral home.

Displaced off land their ancestors had lived on for centuries only for the emigrants' descendants to inflict similar misfortune on the indigenous peoples and tribes who had simply but sustainably lived off their land over very many millennia! 

RESOLUTION for Left Unity, Labour Party and Green Party to adopt

 "As compensation/reward for doing the right thing in using the bus, train and tram, the concessionary Fare Free Public Transport (FFPT) that many have had since they were 60 years old, must be extended to everyone.

Paid for by abandoning the £15 BILLION of mainly underground and overground tram extensions in the W Midlands to 2040.
Use the £15 billion to improve disabled access for all ages and, to finish the 120 Kms Worcester to Derby mainline railway through Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall (less than £200 m).
Finished with commuter and regional trains, freight and, the nine stations where new settlements have been built since the line was closed in the 1960s."

The Good Samaritan/Hamas/Hezbollah/Islamic State. Or, the extremely Good Baddie!

 The Good Samaritan/Hamas/Hezbollah/Islamic State.  Or, the extremely Good Baddie!

When it comes to the Good Samaritan, Jonathan, Jesus in my opinion, is saying love your enemies, if you must have an enemy; think of others, even other nations, as better than yourself and even better than your own nation.  In this story, Jesus was being constructively critical of his own authorities and also showing how to be positive, constructive and helpful.  A lesson, individually and as a nation, we are not exactly excelling at!  Hence, last century was the most destructive and violent in the history of humanity. Courtesy of?

Jesus had the knack of singling out for praise the most unexpected people. No wonder he was called the friend of tax collectors and sinners and rather badly upset the powers that be of His day!

Monday, 12 October 2020

Is 'Restoring Your Railways' too revolutionary and 19th century?!

 I am asking, along with the Green Party, if Left Unity and your good self could strongly support the drive for 'Restoring Your Railways'.  This is an HMG/DfT, UK-wide initiative but is only very half-hearted with a small amount of money allocated for a few feasibility studies and, nothing at all for the completion of the nearly ready-built, 120 Kms (74 miles) Black Country Railway between Worcester and Derby via Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall.  It bypasses Birmingham that is exactly what Brum needs with its congested, over-loaded, 'Grand Central Shopping Centre and Diesel Perfumed Underground Station In The Basement Of The John Lewis Store'.  A rather over-loaded name, too!

Network Rail and the DfT both agree that it is a railway "of national strategic significance"
​Metro trams are now being built on 6.7 Kms in the middle of the unused, wasted 56 Kms that is also without the trains and stations.  This leaves 49.3 Kms that is unused on either side of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro tram line, when every underpass and bridge for M5/M6 and M6 Toll and every road and canal is already built for TRAINS!​

F​irst of all, does this have your personal support, Bob for the completion of what may well be the world's first train-tram-train mainline railway with two changes from train to tram at Brierley Hill​ ​and back to train​ ​at Wednesbury?

Does it have your personal support for commuter and regional trains between Stourbridge and Brierley Hill and between Wednesbury and Burton on Trent, instead of more tram extensions, bus rides and even an extended cycle-walkway on an existing double track mainline railway between Walsall and Lichfield?

Would the regional and national Left Unity ever be able to agree to the TRAINS AND STATIONS going back on this existing double-track mainline railway?

Would the regional and national Left Unity ever be able to agree that COMMUTER TRAINS AND STATIONS should return to existing, not yet destroyed, railway lines in heavily congested urban conurbations like the West Midlands?  There are 106 Kms, minus the 6.7 Kms going for trams, that are freight only or mothballed for trams and cycles.

What is your honest opinion of what seems to me the blindingly obvious thing to do to reduce congestion, air pollution and rising, deadly greenhouse gases?

With all my e-mails, phone calls and speaking since the 1990s, I feel I have won a major success that the authorities are now thinking about​ ​(and even a little action) ​over ​"Restoring Your Railways"!

This is also an easy WIN for Left Unity to send us on our way!  It is being positive, constructive and helpful.

Or, is it a far too revolutionary a concept?  And it is me that is eccentric, a loony leftie and completely out of my little mind?

Best wishes


Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Confident, pinpoint navigation depends on accurate maps for the walker and mountaineer

 Thanks very much for the e-mail and yesterday evening's discussion.

I made good use of the DM in January 2019 in re-opening Worcs 514(A is my insistence) (actually, 514(D) because the landowner was only too happy for it to become invisible/grown over, to further protect her caravans in her caravan storage park in the railway cutting.  She is now using my new path, herself!).  The large scale paper version proved beyond doubt it was a right of way and, with the note, "farm cart track".  It runs between two long rows of railway concrete posts, twelve of which I straightened!  I would love to show you, one day, because it opens up the extensive path network in our 32 sq Km Golden Green Triangle from Hunnington cricket ground and the proposed housing development at the Blue Bird sweet site.  It allows more circular walks from Bromsgrove Road.

I certainly want more paths or obvious desire lines and, lost paths to be added to the DM but would prefer the Ordnance Survey, when there is conflict between the old DM path and the actual path on the ground, to map the one on the ground and not the invisible one.  This, for clarity, to not clutter the map and to avoid confusion for walkers that then lead to complaints to the OS at Southampton.  The DM will always remain as the final arbiter and protector.  I'm attaching three screenshots of the zig-zag path at Neen Sollars that is even more important because it appears to be a sunken lane but is missed off the OS maps.  Very poor!

I'm simply insisting on accuracy, correctness and to be able to hone my much sought after pinpoint navigation skills on 100% reliable maps!

Thanks so much for your point of view that has informed me so helpfully.

All the best

Monday, 5 October 2020

South Staffordshire Line and West Midlands Metro Wednesbury – Dudley Brierley Hill extension.

8 September 2020

South Staffordshire Line and West Midlands Metro Wednesbury – Dudley Brierley Hill extension.


Historical Perspective


The Stourbridge – Walsall “South Staffordshire” railway line and associated link from Walsall to Lichfield closed to passengers in the 1960s, due primarily to a lack of demand at the time as we all rushed out to buy cars and to use them even more and forevermore.  But, this should not have meant that our railway lines were sold off, piecemeal to any old Tom, Dick or Harriet.  They should have been kept in public ownership and mothballed, as 56 Kms of the Black Country Railway was - the only UK mainline that was!  The top and bottom ends, the Derby and Worcester 64 Kms sections were kept in use.  We, in the Black Country, were not allowed to have our trains and stations back.  Only because your fellow councillors, Ian from 1981 onwards, were determined to use 6.7 Kms out of 56 Kms for Metro trams.  And to rebuild the tram network, that they had destroyed in the 1950s, on the railway network that was closed in the 1960s and 70s!


The line between Round Oak and Walsall/Bescot closed completely in the early 1990s and in order to reopen it would effectively need to be completely rebuilt to modern standards after being abandoned to nature, vandalism and metal theft for a quarter of a century.  Since the mid 1990s up to the 00s, I have been walking the Dudley borough sections and Dudley railway tunnel beneath Castle Hill.  That section had modern concrete sleepers and continuously welded track.  There was not a brick out of place in Dudley tunnel, too.  It was safe and easy to walk through the 800 metres!

In addition, my young son and I visited the unlocked Victorian signal box at Round Oak in the mid 90s.  We even went up the stairs.  When I went back on my own, a short time later it had been vandalised and burnt.  Such was the contempt that our railway staff and unions had for their own industry there was no security and no-one could be bothered to lock the door!  And, of course, even worse they destroyed about a third of the national railway network we modern-day, technological whizz kids thought would never be needed again.


The Walsall - Lichfield ceased to be a through railway from 1984 with the track removed completely between Ryecroft Junction (Walsall) and Brownhills with much of this now used as a footpath. And, to be extended all the way to Lichfield, on this forgotten mainline railway, if Cllr Richard Worrall (former transport boss) gets his way (with cycles, too), over the bridge in my photos, here:

The section between Lichfield and Anglesea sidings remained open to serve an oil terminal until 2001.


It must also be recognised that the “South Staffordshire” railway line was never major North – South main line railway. From a national perspective this route was always a secondary railway line served predominantly by local / regional passenger services and freight traffic and the occasional diverted long distance service.  It needs, NOW to be a major north-south mainline railway because of the growth of settlements near it and next to it and, the congestion of the M5, M6 and other main roads that cross it.

It is also the ONLY north-south mainline railway between Brum city centre and the Irish Sea, apart from the Hereford to Crewe railway line.  Plenty of lines to the east of Brum, including the £106 BILLION HS2!  £106 BILLION of extra greenhouse gases causing extinction (watch Attenborough's film on Sunday 13 Sept at 8 pm), that we could well do without!


Addressing Transport Connectivity Issues on the Stourbridge – Walsall Corridor


The end of passenger rail services in the 1960s left many areas of the Black Country, especially around Dudley and Brierley Hill with only a bus-based public transport network which, whilst extensive, is categorised by slow journey times, especially to and from Birmingham.  Therefore, bring in the obvious bus priority measures, electric buses and fare-free public transport in the West Midlands for everyone, that my age group has had for years.  12 years in my case.  Fare free in Luxembourg, Dunkirk, Tallinn and many places in E Europe.


Transport for West Midlands and its predecessors have been seeking for many years to address this issue of poor public transport connectivity for these affected areas, but have been hampered by lack of funding.  Lack of funding because you foolishly chose to rebuild the tram network you destroyed, on the railway network that was not closed but survived the buildings that went almost everywhere else on the railway lines.  And, a tram network that is the second most expensive transport mode to construct after HS2!


The extension of the West Midlands Metro tram line, which is now under construction from Wednesbury to Dudley, Merry Hill and Brierley Hill, was identified as the most cost-effective way of providing this improved connectivity for both local residents and businesses.  The most expensive way.  See:

This is largely because the use of light rail enables a high frequency service to operate providing direct access to both the heart of Dudley town centre and the Merry Hill shopping centre.  To speed Dudley town residents to Merry Hill to make things even more difficult for Dudley town businesses.  There is already a good bus service that needs investment to make it more popular.  And, the bus service needs to be free and electrified and put in bus lanes with traffic light priority.


This would not be possible with a traditional train service, which would be unlikely to justify more than a half hourly frequency service and which would be confined to the former railway alignment rather than providing access to those areas to which people actually want to travel.  In so doing, you thoughtlessly, spoil a 120 Kms mainline railway, the UK's last that could still be finished but, now, only as a train-tram-train mainline (hardly mainline with the changes) - a world first!  If you had chosen the train to finish the 120 Kms railway, instead, electric buses could have linked the railway station with Dudley town centre.


The West Midlands Metro Wednesbury – Brierley Hill extension will also be connected onto the existing West Midlands Metro line 1 at Wednesbury, providing direct links to Birmingham, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich and will also provide the opportunity to change at Dudley Port Station for local train services.  All these links already exist - using buses and, would be much improved, if you simply finished the railway line with TRAINS!


In line with the West Midlands Combined Authority’s “Movement for Growth” strategy, the West Midlands Metro line can also be relatively easily extended on an incremental basis, either as a light rail or tram-train service, both south towards Stourbridge and north towards Walsall as and when funding permits.  So you then break up the full 120 Kms, you spoil a regional and even a national railway line that Network Rail and DfT insists on calling a "railway of national strategic significance."  See

On  a "railway of national strategic significance" you put a tram line on two short sections and, between them you have a Very Light Rail test track.  What a waste of a very important railway!!  This is getting embarrassing with its folly and incompetence.


In contrast, for a rail option to operate effectively, the whole length of the former railway between Round Oak and Walsall would need to be reopened in order for an effective public transport service to operate.  Exactly what you have to do.  You've got it in one.  But finish the FULL 56 Kms with trains and the nine stations Railfuture wants.


Even if the line were reopened for passenger trains, it would not be possible to operate through train services from this rail line to either Birmingham or Wolverhampton due to limited rail network capacity at these locations for additional rail services.  YES because you have been running roads, houses, shops and offices down our railway lines and stations for decades.  In addition, you foolishly chose to turn the Snow Hill to Wolverhampton commuter and regional railway line into a tram line.  That destroyed Wolverhampton's second mainline station at a stroke and destroyed 3 or 4 Kms of double-track railway line either side.  An improved service to Shrewsbury was also lost.


We do recognise that there may be a long term requirement for the former Stourbridge – Walsall rail corridor, primarily to meet future rail freight demand. However, indications from the rail industry based on current freight growth forecasts are that such rail network capacity would not be required until the 2040s at the earliest.  This has been a familiar statement from Network Rail, the railway 'experts' for decades, despite relentless economic growth and population growth and road congestion growth.  Always, freight must go on roads, first and foremost.


However, the current Wednesbury – Brierley Hill light rail proposals would not prevent the Stourbridge - Walsall route reopening for conventional freight and passenger train services in the longer term should this ever be required.  This is totally impractical with six to ten trams every hour.  It is a lie.

 This can be demonstrated by the fact that shared running of trains and tram services over the same infrastructure already occurs elsewhere in Europe and has now been introduced between Sheffield and Rotherham.  Sheffield Cathedral to Rotherham Parkgate is 20 Kms.  Our unfinished but every major structure is in place, mainline is over 120 Kms - quite some difference!  PUT SIMPLY, PLEASE TRY AND RECALL THAT TRAINS GO ON TRAIN LINES.  It's so obvious that even a dull, 11+ failure like me who went to a secondary modern, can get it!


As a region we have extensively considered the options to address the connectivity problems facing communities and businesses on this former rail alignment (but NEVER considered the bleeding obvious option!) and, for the reasons outlined above, have identified the West Midlands Metro Wednesbury to Brierley Hill scheme as both the optimum initial solution and the option which also best facilitates a future incremental approach to further improvements as funds and business cases allow.


If you require any further information, please let me know.

They now need to send me their intelligent, carefully considered rebuttal to my rebuttal - if they would be so good, please.

Tim Weller

Universal basic income

5 April 2020

If we can give everyone a basic income to provide food, shelter, clothing and a life free of disease, the present state of quiet roads, cleaner air and less economic activity would be quite appealing to me!  Green or ecosocialism.  Equality from fair shares for all.  Levelling out = levelling down for the rich and levelling up for the poor = sustainable or ecosocialism.

Lockdown is meaning a slow down of greenhouse gases and, hence, ecocide.  But many are suffering.  Even more so with resource depletion and a stir crazy climate.  But we have to spend less and get green, ecological growth to reverse ecocide.

"the legal, lawful, be all and end all, the last word, authoritative, Definitive Map (DM)"


1 October 2020

Thanks David.  You are brilliant at engaging - ten out of ten - and others could take note and learn from you - hint, hint!!  But sorry, it means I make more work for you in having to read this!

At New Brick Barns - OS Grid Ref: SO 66421 69882 - your cartographers have the PROW, very sensibly going round the house and garden but the legal, lawful, be all and end all, the last word, authoritative, Definitive Map (DM) has it going slap bang through the middle!  See the maps, attached, below.

Further north, both yours and the DM have the bridleway Shropshire Rights of Way: 0549/15/2  going due north to Tetstill​, in almost a straight line​.  On the ground, it is a sunken lane ​zig zagging diagonally down the steep slope to the west, towards the R Reathen, NE​​.  OS Grid Ref: SO 66172 71149.  See my screenshots, below.  Your aerial photographs should have picked up on this.  Very poor!

But, how do your cartographers decide when to follow the DM and when to follow your own aerial photographs, David?  

There are further discrepancies/nonsense at Marlbrook Farm/Dower House on this same bridleway.  In total, five PROWs at Marlbrook in a one kilometre square need attention.  But nothing important ever seems to change and we get stuck in the dim and distant past in a fast, climate changing world!

​I think, y​ourselves and the local authorities need to get your act together and be much more accurate with your mapping.  Otherwise, it leads to trespass that is becoming a criminal offence.  Reform is much needed.

On open access land, some paths marked on OS maps are drawn as straight lines or beautiful curves, in places​,​​ even when they are invisible on the ground​.  This is really misleading, not good enough and can be dangerous!  Please leave them off and just give us the accurately mapped​,​ ​as possible, ​crossings for rivers, hedges, fences, walls in open access land.

Best wishes and thanks for your excellent attention.

5 October 2020

As someone who works with the definitive maps (DM), I would like to read your perspective on what I have written in the e-mail, below to Ordnance Survey Customer Services.

Like Tony Blair's modernisation when he was PM, I do think the venerable DMs need modernising, updating and made easier to correct.  I am told, "We cannot amend the definitive map without a legal order being processed."  For less than 100 metres of many decades of a  bramble blocked and cul de sac PROW that has a sensible alternative that prevents the trespassing of the DM path, this is still not happening.  Is this because it is far too expensive and too long-winded a process for Worcestershire CC and they are short of staff?

However, here is an example where things have worked well.  I met a builder in Shropshire who paid £2,500 to move a PROW 100 metres to the next field corner along the road.  I think this was fair enough for the cost of the kissing gate and its installation.  The new map does appear on the Shropshire digital DM - money talks - but, it is taking a long time for the new path to show on the OS digital map.

Now, for the email, below for your comments, please.

Best wishes

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Hell and High Water, by Alastair McIntosh

Ultimately, McIntosh concludes that in a competitive, capitalist, consumer society, there is a fundamental disconnect between what we know we need to do to stop climate change, and our willingness to do it. Our politics and our culture are simply not up to the task of crossing the “vast chasm” between our over-consuming selves and a sustainable lifestyle.