Tuesday, 31 May 2022

TO MALCOLM HOLMES, Executive Director, West Midlands Rail (WMR), and Director of Rail, Transport for West Midlands

TO MALCOLM HOLMES, Executive Director, West Midlands Rail (WMR), and Director of Rail, Transport for West Midlands

Hi Adam and Malcolm - and copied to local train driver, Dave Parsons, and a Railfuture member, for their opinion/advice.  Malcolm to please amplify, correct or confirm what I have written here, please.

Thanks for your decency in replying, Adam.

You wrote,

"a passenger rail service could only ever be delivered if a Rail Operating Company came forward with a business plan to develop and deliver it."

There is already a toc or train operating company!  They are the tocs that use our 120 Kms Black Country Mainline Railway at the northern (Derby) and southern (Worcester) ends.  If allowed, they might be willing to provide a service in the middle, as well.  However, for forty years the section between Stourbridge and Walsall has been reserved for Metro trams.  The tocs are forbidden to use it!

YET, this was no obstacle last decade when the contracts to run the services were up for grabs.  One company, was it West Midlands Railway, wanted to extend their service to meet the tram at the Canal St tram stop with their trains from Snow Hill to Stourbridge Jct reversing out of Junction to Canal Street - and then back to Snow Hill via Junction station.

Do please, Adam press for our Black Country Railway to be finished to revive the Black Country and to compete with Brum and to bypass their New Street Sta (aka 'Grand Central Diesel Perfumed Underground Station Stuck in the Basement of the Closed John Lewis Store')

"New St Station is one of the worst rail congestion bottlenecks in the UK" - Peter Plisner, Transport Correspondent on BBC 'Midlands Today' for very many years.

Your statement was no obstacle to having the trains and stations back in Brum on their Camp Hill line or, between Wolverhampton and Walsall.  Both are now finally being achieved after decades of asking but Dudley has to wait, despite the fact it is the largest UK town, by population, without a railway station!

Funny how poor old Dudley gets palmed off with second best.  Actually, gets landed with the worst possible outcome.  The whole mainline railway is broken up into HR, LR, VLR, ULR - and fresh air!  HR = heavy rail; LR = light rail; VLR = very light rail; ULR = ultra-light rail.

Best wishes and thanks again for writing.  But don't leave it there, Adam.  Right is on our side!



Funny behaviour by our dear betters and masters

from W Mids Climate Coalition

Nine Action Points

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Singapore and John Nightingale

Thanks for responding.  I heard about Singapore's transport from a TV documentary many years ago about how strict they were about limiting cars and dealing with traffic congestion.  I would like our transport officers to get acquainted with how they do things there and report back at a future quarterly forum.

Certainly, there seems to be no multi-modal, multi-mixed-up transport of different modes as they are giving to us, according to one email I had from Andy Street, ie HR, LR, VLR, ULR, Sprint and regular buses!!

For me (for you too, John?) this is a moral issue, as here:

Scandalous misspending

£7m/Km for rebuilding the Borders Railway in 2015; £21m/Km for M6 Toll in 2003; £75m/Km for Westside Metro; £133m/Km for Eastside Metro; over £200m/Km for HS2. All this scandal as so many are in even more dire poverty and cannot pay their bills.

"Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) was launched in 1987 and has grown continuously to cover most parts of Singapore"
Our MRT was launched in 1981 and is one line from Wolverhampton to Brum with the extension to Edgbaston Village tram stop opening next month, I've read.  The first line, opened in 1999, destroyed a mainline railway from Snow Hill to Wolves Low Level that would have improved services to Shrewsbury if the line had been used for commuter/regional trains instead of trams.  The first extension pushed buses out of Bull Street and Corporation Street to the edge of the city centre.  The second extension to Edgbaston has stopped buses using Five Ways underpass and Broad Street.  This has meant all eleven bus routes are greatly inconvenienced by narrow side roads jammed with parked cars and a longer route to Colmore Row.  Or, you change from bus to tram at Edgbaston Village for the tram and have a wait for up to 15 mins before the tram leaves.  This is not an improvement or efficiency!

In Singapore, "Avoid traveling from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on public transport whenever possible."  Not as good as I thought, then!

Can Footsteps please speak out and help me, John?

Scandalous misspending

 £7m/Km for rebuilding the Borders Railway in 2015; £21m/Km for M6 Toll in 2003; £75m/Km for Westside Metro; £133m/Km for Eastside Metro; over £200m/Km for HS2. All this scandal as so many are in even more dire poverty and cannot pay their bills.

to Paul Homewood

How do all you wise heads answer the statement from decades ago, "Either we get our numbers and our activities in line with the powers of the earth to support life or, collapsing ecosystems will do the job for us"?  As we are all part of nature is this not a self-evident truth?  I just hope I'm wrong and we can continue, as we are doing, to live it up to our hearts' content without restraint or restriction!

Friday, 27 May 2022

Nine Action Points

Nine Action Points

These actions were created by W Mids Climate Coalition to lobby the West Mids CA in support of a zero-carbon region by 2030.
RETROFIT BUILDINGS. Domestic insulation and heating programs need to be massively accelerated. This is a rapid way to reduce carbon emissions and save households money on their heating and energy bills. The WMCA should immediately publish and implement a comprehensive plan for the retrofitting of housing in the WMCA constituencies with the highest levels of fuel poverty revealed in a new league table from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, based on Government figures.
FARE FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORT. Transport for West Midlands should follow the lead being given by Swansea, Newport, and Herefordshire by setting up free public transport schemes. A feasibility study into the economic, social, and environmental benefits of FFPT for the West Midlands should start work now. The WMCA should bring the region's buses back into public control, following the example of Greater Manchester, as a step towards FFPT. 
END SUPPORT FOR HS2. Apart from the environmental devastation it is causing, HS2 is vastly expensive. The money should be used instead for big investments in local and regional public transport. The current business model of the HS2 project is to increase economic growth and consumerism, however this will contribute to planetary destruction, and is not something we need more of.
DIVEST THE WEST MIDLANDS PENSION FUND FROM FOSSIL FUEL INVESTMENT. Pension funds investing in fossil fuels are contributing directly to uncontrolled global warming and in support of a sustainable future for all should invest instead in green renewables. 
END THE INCINERATION OF WASTE. The continuation of waste incineration is an environmental crime. Plans should be made immediately to increase recycling (including food waste) and to transition to ecologically sustainable degradation.
CURB AVIATION. The WMCA should encourage its residents to limit the excessive use of environmentally damaging national and international flights (pending the development of zero carbon planes) to one return flight every two or three years. 
TEACH THE CHILDREN. Local authorities within the WMCA area should actively promote proper climate and environmental studies in all schools for all children and young people, appropriate to their age.
PAUSE TRAM DEVELOPMENT. Trams are more accessible than buses and trains for disabled people and prams, but they are also hugely expensive to build and emit a large amount of carbon dioxide from cement and steel in their construction. New growth of this network should be paused, and the money diverted into upgrading the current regional public transport system, including the opening of new routes.
BUILDING A WORKFORCE FOR THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY. The WMCA should use its resources to collaborate with the region’s trade unions, FE colleges, universities, and employers to create and implement a long-term strategy for the creation of green jobs and a just transition for workers in high carbon workplaces as they decline.

The 10th action point from me is:
STOP multi-modal, multi-mixed-up transport of different modes as they are giving to us, according to one email I had from Andy Street, ie HR, LR, VLR, ULR, Sprint and regular buses.  Make every bus and every bus stop as welcoming to every fossil-fuel free, 4-wheel user as trams.  Andy Street's Jan 2020, 20 year, £15 BILLION plan for mainly 150 miles of trams must go to the many who need help with paying their bills.

FROM Phil Wears of St'bge FoE

YOU ASK:  "However do you think passenger numbers would be low with this big 'central place' missed out. So would the gain be more for freight?"  

MY ANSWER:  NO, for passengers.  A "big central place missed out" (the 1 m population of the Black Country) means lots of people and lots of potential passengers.  Do you agree, Phil?  Even more important for freight because of passenger services returning to the Kings Norton, Kings Heath, Moseley freight railway - one success, after decades of asking!
  1. Our Black Country is not so small and insignificant that it is not allowed to have half a billion pounds of Metro trams!
  2. Brum is very big but so is the Black Country.  Each has about 1 mill population.
  3. Our Black Country is as congested and polluted as Brum
  4. Dudley has already destroyed SIX of its railway lines!  The 120 Kms Black Country (Bypass Brum) Railway is the seventh and last!
  5. OUR railway is already built and runs underneath congested M6 at Jct 9 Wednesbury.
  6. Every bridge, tunnel, underpass and flyover is/are already built.
  7. 'Grand Central Diesel Perfumed Underground Station Tucked Away In The Basement Of The Closed John Lewis Store' is so congested with train services that they need some train services to go through the four Black Country boroughs instead!
  8. This had been known about for decades when railway passengers numbers were doubling over 25 years to 2020!
  9. There are plenty of train services to the east of Brum but only one between the W coast of the UK and Brum!  That one is Crewe, Shrewsbury, Hereford line.
  10. They want freight and passenger trains back but think trams must be put on first!
  11. OUR railway is "of national strategic significance" 

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Law breaking booze ups in Downing Street; undemocratic imposition in Brum

The centre of the universe is not Brierley Hill but the London HQ of our national government, that is the principal partying, brewery booze-up, law-breaking capital of London, viz 10 Downing Street.

When it comes to our regional government, 16 Summer Lane is the HQ of the national tram lobbying organisation and the regional Transport HQ to make the joint Combined Authority that acts strangely by imposing, without any debate and vote in a single council chamber, a billion-pound expenditure every year to 2040 for 150  miles, 8 tram lines and 380 tram stops for Metro expansion.

Well, the Combined Authority does have to combine trams with trains and combine trams with buses and cars to add to the traffic snarl-ups.

Funny peculiar, rather than fun funny!

Why does everyone in Stourbridge want their principal mainline railway wasted in parts and destroyed in other parts?

Why does every person feel it's fine enough for the nearest thing that Merry Hill has to a wildlife site and a public open space to be completely obliterated by a 400 m, double track, railway viaduct?  I have my own landscape enhancement scheme there to be covered over by the viaduct!

Why do even towpath walkers and canal boaters want their view of the distant hills and countryside spoilt by the concrete and steel viaduct from the high canal embankment?

Why is no one bothered, no one thinks there is anything eccentric or, weird and wonderful by this behaviour?!

Monday, 23 May 2022



Laura Shoaf laura.shoaf@wmca.org.uk

Customer Services    customerservices@tfwm.org.uk

Customer Services at WMCA customerservices@wmca.org.uk

George Duggins george.duggins@coventry.gov.uk

Ian Brookfield    ian.brookfield@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Ian Courts    icourts@solihull.gov.uk

Ian Ward    Ian.Ward@birmingham.gov.uk

Mike Bird    cllr.mike.bird@walsall.gov.uk

Patrick Harley    Cllr.Patrick.Harley@dudleymbc.org.uk

Rajbir Singh    Rajbir_Singh@sandwell.gov.uk

Deborah Cadman    deborah.cadman@birmingham.gov.uk

Dr Helen Paterson    Helen.Paterson@walsall.gov.uk

Kevin O'Keefe (Kerry Jones)    Kevin.OKeefe@dudley.gov.uk

Kim Bromley-Derry    Kim_BromleyDerry@sandwell.gov.uk

Martin Reeves    martin.reeves@coventry.gov.uk

Nick Page    npage@solihull.gov.uk

Tim Johnson    tim.johnson@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Midlands Connect    mcstrategy@midlandsconnect.uk

Richard Parry richard.parry@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Mayor’s Office MayorsOffice@wmca.org.uk

  1. BBC's Nick Robinson correctly called Partygate "Lie Gate" in 'Political Thinking' on 7 May 2022 with Jacob Rees Mogg.

  2. In 1997, Dudley MBC and the Canal and River Trust oversaw the most useless and incompetent canal restoration in (not so) heavenly Halesowen - putting water in the canal might now cause the whole canal embankment to collapse!!

  3. The "Revolution of Dignity" is the overthrow of the fairly elected pro-Russian President of Ukraine in 2014 to kick off the killings; now escalated to the Ukraine War.

  4. Russia's "special military operation" for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

  5. Centenary Square was built, demolished, and rebuilt three times in less than 20 years - in this century.  The latest version cost £16 m!

  6. The free-flowing Brum inner ring road was demolished in three places to bring us all clogged-up traffic, lots of traffic lights and a greater distance to slowly drive on one-way streets!!

  7. The canal at Selly Oak's Sainsbury's is safeguarded but these wealthy corporations and authorities could not finish it with water.

  8. Matt's cartoon in the Telegraph with the delicious truth:

Tory banner on the side of a campaign bus: "CONSERVATIVES: Reducing crime by committing less of it."

(re the top party-goer who is the PM - Party Master - and head of government lying and law-breaking repeatedly over the shocking spate/flood of illegal Downing St parties, aka "gatherings"!)


My cartoon that needs the Telegraph's Matt-like skill to draw this:-

Transport officials peering down from a disused railway bridge upon a gridlocked motorway, scratching their heads & agonising about how to reduce congestion.


This refers to every tunnel, bridge and viaduct built over 120 Kms but 56 Kms in the middle are still without freight and passenger trains. Yet, it runs parallel or near, to traffic-choked main roads, M5 and M6!

'Ah! But you don't mention, Tim that trams must go on a total of 9 Kms', say the transport officials, as "Light rail investment provides the basis for restoring heavy rail services at the appropriate time."

However, the appropriate time has never come in 22 years.  And how eccentric and weird to think that a principal mainline railway "of national strategic significance" can only be finished with the rather vital freight and passenger trains and stations, by first putting 22 mph Metro trams and 17 tram stops on two nibble sized sections!!


PHOTOS to be shocked or intrigued or be laughed over:

M6 Toll banner 01.jpg

M6 Toll 03.jpg

Over half a billion pounds of "bus on rails" Metro destroys the above half-finished 120 Kms Worcester to Derby railway and these trees, all for a stranded, 'shuttle' tramline on a former mainline railway that does not even connect with the two railway sections between Worcester and Derby, at either end.  It is needed for freight trains, anyway.  So what is the point of Metro?

6 glorious white trees.jpg

Exactly where the mighty tram viaduct goes!


9.  Laura Shoaf’s "passive provision" only means the same standard gauge for both trams and trains to magically enable the tramline on our 120 Kms Black Country Mainline Railway being upgraded to a full mainline railway, only after well over half a billion pounds has gone on the trams first.

10.  It only took our politicians nearly 50 years to pay a £400m debt to Iran!

11.  Canal boaters on a high, 400 metre embankment at Merry Hill will have their view of the hills obliterated by a massive concrete, double-track, railway viaduct for the railway of "national strategic significance" to be turned into a piddling little shuttle tram line - to nowhere!

12. The highly prestigious, wealth-flaunting, over-indulgent Metro tramline now blocks Broad Street and Five Ways underpass, to make buses join all the traffic on gridlocked side streets rammed with parked cars!


FROM: timweller1@gmail.com    0791 380 4363

Saturday, 21 May 2022


Does acting on the climate emergency mean fighting or opposing the total despoilation of the fine embankment on which stands Dudley's No 1 Canal at Merry Hill?  Especially, when there is a very much cheaper and more sensible alternative for bringing shoppers from Dudley town into the shopping centre that also uses the existing railway at Brierley Hill.

I think, eco-socialism and solidarity means helping me, not leaving me in the lurch, on my own, isolated and without a friend or supporter in the world.  SOB, SOB!!

A Canal and River Trust, worthy of its name would be actively opposing the blot on the landscape that is the substantial concrete viaduct alongside the 400 metres of Dudley No 1 Canal.

Perfidious Albion has become Perfidious Europe

Fighting President Pariah Putrid means, for me, playing fair with the man and, at the same time, acting on the climate emergency.  Therefore, before 24 Feb 2022, without it being called appeasement, could we not have removed our nukes from the former Soviet states, ended our military exercises in those former Warsaw Pact countries and even reassured Putrid that Ukraine would not be allowed to join NATO in the foreseeable future?

In the 1990s, could we not have dissolved NATO at the same time as the Warsaw Pact was dissolved at the instigation of Russia?  Oh, no.  That would be seen as weakness or, worse as appeasement.

So, instead, more and more of the Warsaw Pact members joined NATO.  Such provocation to our longstanding, no 1 sworn enemy should have been foreseen by all our Western politicians and NATO officers.  However, that kind of empathy and understanding for the other side's feelings is rare, especially among politicians and the military - and men, even  more so.


The constant repetition that NATO is only a defensive alliance and has no intention of attacking non-members is dishonest and inaccurate.  Over the years, attacks have been seen, even without UN agreement, from its member nations.

The constant cry of defensive weapons, only being sent to Ukraine is as deceptive as renaming the Secretary State for War as the Sec of State for Defence.

The frequent warnings to Russia that if they attacked would mean sanctions, did not warn of 'defensive' armaments being sent to Ukraine to boost their defence and to win their ultimate victory.  Such a policy is dishonest, misleading and unfair.

Individual NATO members have declared their intention to win the war with Russia's defeat and withdrawal of land occupied.  This ups the anti and means even more military assistance must be given to Ukraine to ensure their ultimate victory.

It also prolongs the war, prolongs the killings of Ukrainian and Russian alike and makes it even more difficult to stop the war without one side losing face.  Unconditional surrender of the enemy is the declared policy of both sides.  Without a full and transparently fair agreement and signatures, it means a longer war and one side ending up bitter and angry, as we saw from 1919.  That led to the 1945 World War.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

to Cllr Rebbekah Collins

Dear Rebbekah

It was lovely to hear from you.  Thanks so much for your email.

I wonder if you might explain your thinking on a couple of points.

Your "unavoidable environmental disruption" means the complete covering over of the nearest thing that Merry Hill has to a wildlife site and public open space, with 400 metres of double-track railway viaduct for the Metro trams. This, for a cost of over £50 million for the viaduct alone, will isolate the trams from the railway line in Brierley Hill. The tramway connects only with buses and the railway remains wasted!

Do you think all this could be avoided if the trams STAYED on the railway line all the way to Stourbridge Jct railway station with a tram stop still in Brierley Hill?

You say it is too late to change the plans. Many others have also said this over the decades, including a former leader of ours, Cllr Fred Hunt. In the 1990s, he also told me, quite seriously, that the Dudley Tram would be up and running by 2000. ​That is ​22 years ago.  How wrong he was but, as everyone has always thought, since the 1990s that it is too late to stop the Dudley Tram, it has always stifled discussion on the more responsible ​and sensible ​alternative!

Do you think it would be less expensive, easier to achieve and save the environmental disruption, for the trams from Dudley town to link up with the trains in Stourbridge, via your ward?

Many thanks for giving me your thoughts and writing. It is really good of you.

Educate the VERY BEST at public schools and Oxbridge

 "... indigenous people are not just on the front line of holding back today’s remorseless destruction of the natural world, but remain the best and wisest teachers we have."

Yet, we commonly believe that the best schools with the wisest teachers are the 'public'/fee paying and the best universities are Oxford and Cambridge.

But these schools and universities have turned out our present PM who has been widely denigrated as a liar and a hypocrite and even described as "a slob" by Matthew Parris on 'Any Questions', aired on 7 May 2022.

Was one of them who was turned out our very own Sir Jonathon?!

These institutions are for the offspring of the wealthy, the privileged and for those who move in higher and finer circles than the rest of us.

Monday, 16 May 2022

To Tim Sunter

Dear Tim

Why do you fully support the spending of public money of over half a billion pounds to build the 10.7 Kms Dudley Tram when it destroys the UK's last principal, mainline railway "of national strategic significance"?

And, destroys the only public open space at Merry Hill for a 400 m double-track, concrete, railway viaduct alongside Dudley No 1 Canal?

And destroys the nearest thing that Merry Hill has to a nature site?

Why not reinstate the monorail but, this time, link it to the tramline at Round Oak?

FROM WIKIPEDIA:  "There were to be five stations, with the system extending over the canal and terminating close to the site of the former Round Oak railway station where an interchange with a West Midlands Metro extension was proposed. However, only the first four stations were completed; Waterfront East, Central Station, Times Square and Boulevard; with Waterfront West planned as a future development.[18"

"West Midlands Metro Line Two[edit]

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) will open a new line of the West Midlands Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill, with a new stop at Merry Hill, planned to open in 2023. The line was first planned in 1986 and was expected to be built during the 1990s, but funding and planning difficulties resulted in a 30-year delay to this project becoming a reality.[29]"



Did the Richardson twins abandon the monorail link to the Metro tramline when they found that Centro/TfWM were not delivering the Metro extension from Wednesbury?

Were they let down by the authorities?  Did they go ahead expecting the tram/monorail interchange at Round Oak?

Were free enterprise and entrepreneurship failed by the dead hand of council bureaucracy and paralysis?


Lee and Martyn Richardson  100 Dudley Road East, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 3DY

PLEASE REPLY, TIM - and explain why you are right and I am wrong!


from Bob Whitehead

NATO should have dissolved a long time ago, agreed, but having said that, without donations of defensive arms to Ukraine, Putin's puppet government would probably be in control of Kiev by now (and it would be spelt Kiev), and there would have been Buchas and Mariupols all over the country. How can that be defended?

Tim Weller timweller1@gmail.com

2 May 2022, 11:13
to BobBobDanRobertSandraTarsammichael4t@msn.com
Thanks, Bob.  It is very difficult to defend, I know.

It is always the antecedents that are the root of the problem - ABC (antecedents,
behaviour, consequences).  Like the most foolish and unnecessary war (1914-18)
in the ecocidal history of humanity was the antecedent for the 39-45 war that led 
to the Cold War that led to the deeply serious and tragic Russian versus Ukraine/USA/West 
war now.

China seems to be keeping out of it.  The UK should take the stance of Simon Jenkins,
Guardian columnist.  Instead, we go in with all guns blazing (Liz Truss last week).
UK RULES OK - the self-appointed policeman, jury, judge, hangman of the world!

In talks, everyone has to compromise, get a settlement and end the killings.

And the men and women of violence from all sides keep the killing going.
Plus my neighbour who builds the weapons!



Hundreds of millions of our money is being wasted to

  • break up (destroy) the half-finished, 120 Kms Black Country Railway "of national strategic significance" between Worcester and Derby into both tramway and a regional railway;
  • to turn the whole of the nearest thing that Merry Hill Shopping Centre has to a wildlife site and public open space into a double-track railway/tram viaduct.
  • This, alongside the premier 'Dudley No 1 Canal'.
  • Over half a BILLION pounds to still leave 47 Kms with NOTHING but fresh air!

Customer Services    customerservices@tfwm.org.uk
Customer Services at WMCA     customerservices@wmca.org.uk
George Duggins     george.duggins@coventry.gov.uk
Ian Courts    icourts@solihull.gov.uk
Rajbir Singh    Rajbir_Singh@sandwell.gov.uk
Dr Helen Paterson    Helen.Paterson@walsall.gov.uk
Kevin O'Keefe (Kerry Jones)    Kevin.OKeefe@dudley.gov.uk
Kim Bromley-Derry    Kim_BromleyDerry@sandwell.gov.uk
Martin Reeves    martin.reeves@coventry.gov.uk
Nick Page    npage@solihull.gov.uk
Midlands Connect    mcstrategy@midlandsconnect.uk