Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Second to Norman Baker

Dear Norman

Thank you for your email.  Brilliant!

However, from your reply, it seems you have not read all the evidence I sent you about the tragic consequences of your disastrous decision.  Please read my attachments, Norman from my first email.  It is so important that you do so, please because CfBT from the days when it was Transport 2000 has always been in favour of tram developments.  And has CfBT ever opposed HS2?  Or has the organisation always been neutral on it from its start in 2009?

You wrote,
"I agree that tram schemes have tended to be overpriced (very true!) which is why I helped set up UK Tram to bring about common procurement, and also instigated a review of utility costs, a major factor." UK Tram Ltd was allowed in the same building as Centro, now Transport for West Midlands - and still to this day they remain at 16 Summer Lane.  Therefore, improper influence/vested interests at play, so please read my
What was the result of your "review of utility costs", please?

It may be the case that heavy rail may on occasion be a better option, but that is even more expensive by some distance. SELF:  That is not true, Norman.  Please read:
What I was keen to do was to lay down tracks where possible rather than relying on guided busways.  There was never any wish for guided busways in Birmingham or the Black Country.  Existing railway lines reinstated with railway trains was always a very secondary matter to the bigger, more expensive and prestigious prize of trams.  And NEVER for guided buses.  Only "bus on rails" trams (UK Tram Ltd quote, on the 'Today' programme, at the time of the Croydon Tramlink crash that killed or injured every one of the 69 passengers).

Norman, you were hoodwinked into giving your very costly and disastrous approval for the Metro extension that accelerated even more trams on railway lines and for taking over bus routes.
You thought that Snow Hill and Grand Central (aka New St station) would be linked, as you were told.  That was a lie.  You were deceived.  The tram now bypasses Snow Hill station and the nearest tram stop in Bull St is a 300 metres walk from tram platform to train platform!
Metro has meant two mainline railways being destroyed by Metro trams and two mainline stations gone forever - Wolverhampton Low Level and the former Dudley mainline station of 100 years that was mothballed for trains, until it was turned into a tram stop this decade!

CfBT has always been in favour of trams, the second most expensive transport mode to construct after HS2, and that has always prevented me from joining an otherwise excellent organisation.

For the record, it was Labour who won the Tories over to Metro trams in 1981, in the days of the county councillors and Cllr Phil Bateman.  But, if I remember correctly, won them over after committee discussion but no votes in full council in even one of the seven councils!  This was very different from Edinburgh City Council where the Conservatives vigorously opposed both of their highly expensive tram projects on grounds of cost and knowing the money could be more wisely spent on much more important priorities (for me, like retrofitting and the poor first).

Extravagant, very foolish, incompetent spending by the officers and members has worsened the climate emergency and put the WMCA in financial difficulties ever since last summer.  Transport projects, since then, remain seriously delayed and some suspended.

Please do write again, Norman.  Thanks for doing so, today - and for actually engaging.  Very good of you!

Tim - and have a go at my fun quiz, please, below:
PS bonus:

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