Rail Electrification to Blackpool


See it and weep Nottingham – fresh track and shiny new OLE.
Like what we’re no longer scheduled to get.
On the other hand, it’s meant buses for months, with now a reduced stopping service as staff are brought up to speed.
And who’s to say it didn’t cause 4 hours of chaos as signalling went down in Preston.

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Rail fares protest

Joined the nationwide RMT protest on rail fares increases at Nottingham Midland station.
Rail fares have gone up on average by 3.4% when wages haven’t.
Did 4 media interviews and concentrated on the £2,000 million bail-out given to Richard Branson and David Soutar – multi-millionaires who wanted a better deal on a franchise already agreed on East Coast Main Line – which has been run by the public sector for a surplus.
Repeated Tom Watson MP’s complaints about the Conservative Transport Secretary staying low and silent, who it turns out wasn’t available until late in the day (for interviews by mobile phone from Qatar).
Thatcher’s promise on cheaper fares has not been upheld – nowhere close in fact – but when privatisation started, weird things happened like a big step increase in investment and drivers wages.  All to be overshadowed by the collapse in the network when “corner guage cracking was rediscovered.
In calling for a return to public owenership, have got to watch out for railways being starved by central government again.

Ilkeston railway station is open

After 50 years, Ilkeston is back on the map.


Holding the Notts County Council Transport policies and programme for 1996/97, which included aims for a railway station in Ilkeston (2 in fact).
The new station is very near to Awsworth in Nottinghamshire, where Lisa is standing for Notts County Council in Stapleford and Broxtowe.


On the 10:46 to Nottingham, talked with a Mum, Gran and daughter from Ilkeston on the way back.
It was the daughter’s first trip on a train.
Mum said the bus trip could take 30 minutes to Nottingham, so perhaps 12 minutes quicker, but a much smoother journey.

A train operator spokesperson said journeys from the station to Nottingham should hopefully sell themselves – cos of the time gains and avoidance of congestion.

IMG_6708 (2)
Meanwhile bumped into Steve Calvert who I met in the Summer of 1993 (I was a new County Councillor) to explore how we could get railways stations for Ilkeston (yep stations, we wanted a north and south, for a town that once had 4!)
They didn’t listen then, they’re half-listening now.
But 24 years for a simple railway station is another reminder of how difficult railway development outside of London and the South-East is.
And we wanted a suburban rail network for Nottingham.

‘Allo, ‘Allo

allo_allo_castYeah,secret-army-p01nkrzh never a fan of “‘Allo, ‘Allo“.
Never watched it.
It seemed to me an insult.
I loved the earnest “Secret Army” which dramatised the underground organisation that put so much at stake in their efforts to get 300 RAF personnel back to Britain.  And “‘Allo ‘Allo” came in to ridicule it. private-schulz-ac720264-523f-4e32-8c66-7815da29e4b2
It was backwards in other ways – stereotypes for characters.   Contrast with “Private Schulz“, broadcast a year earlier, was a drama-comedy that was grown up, featured German soldiers as lead characters and tackled foreign accents by speaking very formally when speaking in a foreign language.
Still safe enough dads-army-hqdefaultwith Dad’s Army eh? Some stereotyping, with an dads-army-criticismelement of idiocy (that even Morecambe & Wise used).
Then a mate of mine rips into the titles!  (‘Feeding a myth of plucky Britain when our army’s leaders had made idiotic mistakes.’)
Comedy – tricky, especially if you take a political view.
My trade union, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, has published a video highlighting the absurdity of the privatised British train operating companies, being owned in many cases by European state owned railways, and making profits because they are subsidised.
Take a look.

1.7 million views within its first 3 days.
I think the video is misjudged – for an internationalist organisation like my union – the TSSA.
Elsewhere, others have said it well – why make the Europeans in the video appear to crow over British people?
Don’t thi
nk it’s stereotypical but it is a tad unpleasant.
Daily Mirror Front Page 240696A more internationalist approach would be to say – hey, here’s why we’ve stuck with tssa-g-large_trans_nvbqzqnjv4bqmb1puxpjlcnrgg6rsffrzn0bo8whxbcsthi7hcpsx9m-pngpublic ownership, and then point out how British tax revenues are subsidising companies maing profits.
Always gotta be careful using England vs Germany football matches, cos that generates some other emotions, but as it happens, it’s a British, not English, issue.
That said, I think MP Stella Creasey’s criticisms of the video are a bit unthinking too – the characters are not portrayed in a stereotypical way.
Stella attacks Momentum for promoting the video, but interesting to see that Momentum were sensitive about criticism by tv critic Charlie Brooker about Jeremy Corbyn.  Some great lines here.
Comedy, eh?

 

Jealousy

Watching the Mick Rutherford Band and it turns out the harmonica player works on the steam engines at the Wollaton Industrial Museum.
Then Lilian Greenwood MP announces she got to work on the footplate  on a steam locomotive.
And the LMS’s Princess Elizabeth is in Derby, which I think my Dad once drove (I know he drove Castle class locos).
And all I have to boast about is that I once operated IBM XT’s with their optional 256k of RAM and their 10Mb hard disk.
La de da, la la.