A Video From We Own It

A short video from campaign group We Own It.

INTRODUCTION

This short but powerful video was brought to my attention by an email from We Own It, and I am sufficiently impressed by it to share it here, so that those of my followers on this blog who do not use Twitter, Facebook or Youtube can see it.

THE VIDEO

Some Suggestions Re Public Transport

Some thoughts on public transport, prompted in part by Lord Adonis’ resignation statement.

INTRODUCTION

The timing of this post is due to the resignation statement of Lord Adonis, a man who I have very little in common with, but who hits the nail on the head with his resignation statement, which you can read in full, courtesy of The Guardianhere (an excerpt is reproduced below, courtesy of twitter):

adonisresig

EAST COAST FRANCHISE LOWLIGHTS

The first time the East Coast Franchise hit difficulties, it was being run by National Express. The then government took it into public ownership, albeit with the (stupid) rider that it be reprivatised as soon as it was back in the black. On reprivatisation it passed into the hands of Virgin Trains, run by a combination of tax exile Richard Branson and the Stagecoach Group (as a non-driver who lives in Norfolk I know them too well and like them too little for comfort). The East Coast Franchise is now back in trouble, and the current transport secretary, Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling, as well as being a strong contender in the ‘most incompetent minister ever’ contest is such a ‘private good, public bad’ zealot that rather than take the logical option of taking it back into public ownership is bailing it out at vast cost, thereby setting a horrendous precedent which will enable any other rail franchise that hits trouble to demand a bail out. 

RENATIONALISATION AS START POINT

Not only should the East Coast Franchise be renationalised now, with it being made clear that it will not be privatised again, the whole railway network needs to be renationalised. The Labour party have laid out how this can be achieved – namely by refusing to put each franchise up for tender as and when it expires. For further detail check out We Own It’s Railways page. However, this is only a beginning – both because railways are only one part of public transport – there are also buses, and because one needs to consider how the system should be run. As I was typing this, the following came through on twitter from We Own It:

we own it buses tweet

Bus and railway services need renationalising, and they need to be run jointly. As to how they should be run – well there are two groups of people who should be represented in the body that runs public transport services: those who use the services and those who provide the services. If services are to be publicly owned (and these should be), they need to be fully publicly accountable. 

SOME EXTRA RESOURCES

I have three final links to share which relate to this piece:

  • A second piece from the Guardian on the Adonis Resignation
  • Mike Sivier of Vox Political has offered his take here.
  • The Mirror has demonstrated yet another way in which privatisation is failing us, with fares going up by an average of 3.4% (when we already pay on average five times as much as our fellow Europeans for a service that is probably not even on fifth as good as most of them get – I have travelled extensively in Europe over the years and most countries provide far better services than are available here in Britain) – we have on average the oldest carriages since records began (that average is 21 years old, with the Caledonian Sleeper holding an unwanted record with 42 year old carriages).

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here is you reward for reaching the end of this piece:

TW30TW29TW28climbing squirrelrunning squirrelTW27TW26TW25TW23TW22TW21TW20TW19TW18TW17TW16TW15TW14Sun on the Great Ouse11 lapwingslapwings and gullMallard drakes and white duck

 

Welcome to 2018

A little something to kick off 2018 on aspi.blog

INTRODUCTION

Happy new year everyone. This post will give you a few hints as to what you can look forward to in 2018 on aspi.blog.

ASPI.BLOG STYLE GUIDE

Headings will generally be in a cycle that runs red/green’purple, although this is subject to variation in certain circumstances.

Body text will always be in black unless I am writing about autism, in which case I will use #RedInstead

When sharing content from another site I will always link to the host site and the specific post and where possible will mention the author by name – such links will be a different colour from regular body text and will be both bold and underlined. 

It will be a very rare post that does not congtain photographs.

LIKELY SUBJECTS FOR 2018

  • Autism
  • Public Transport 
  • Nature
  • Science
  • Religion
  • Cricket
  • Books
  • Photography

I will also probably find other things to blog about in 2018.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Cormorant and otherslapwingsCormorantfive lapwingsChurch and cormorantlapwings and gulls IIMoorhenssmall birdlapwings, cormorant and otherslapwings and gull11 lapwingsCormorant, gulls, lapwings

A COUPLE OF CLOSING QUESTIONS

Please feel free to use the comments to answer the questions below?

  1. What are your blogging ideas for 2018?
  2. What do you think about mine?

 

Acts of Parliament Relating to Railways

A little bit more detail on my latest acquisition.

INTRODUCTION

Those of you who read my post about James and Sons last auction of 2017 will recall that I secured a collection of copies of Acts of Parliament relating to the development of railways. I am now going to provide a little more detail about each item in that collection.

LOT 544 ACT BY ACT

I am going through these documents in the precise order in which I came across them when I photographed them individually on Friday, starting with…

FARNHAM AND ALTON

Farnham and Alton

The section of line this refers to is a branch that diverges from the main line towards Basingstoke and Salisbury at Brookwood, calling at Ash Vale, Aldershot, Farnham, Bentley and Alton. These days there is also a side branch from Aldershot to Ash, Wanborough and Guildford. 

HAMPTON COURT

Hampton Court

This little branch, which is still very much in service today diverges from the main line at Surbiton and has only two further stations, Thames Ditton and Hampton Court. More information about Hampton Court itself can be found here. I cover a potential use for this branch as part of a greater whole in this post.

EGHAM AND CHERTSEY

Egham and Chertsey

This branch, which diverges from the Waterloo-Reading route at Virginia Water has stations at Chertsey, Addlestone and Weybridge, the last named of which offers an jinterchange to the main London-Portsmouth route. This branch, still very much in service, is a part of my envisioned London Orbital Railway.

ARRANGEMENTS WITH OTHER RAILWAY COMPANIES

Arrangements with other railway companies

Rather than dealing with specific infrastructure plans this one seeks to provide the London & South Western with powers to make arrangements with other railway companies. The necessity of bills of this nature, and the fact that on many occasions the companies concerned were at such loggerheads with each other as to be chiefly concerned with doing one another down rather than with providing the best possible service hints at serious weaknesses with having railways in private hands. 

READING, GUILDFORD AND REIGATE

Reading, Guildford & Reigate

This is a substantial line, running in fact from Reading to Redhill, one stop beyond Reigate, and these days having a southern spour from Redhill to Gatwick Airport. There are intermediate stations at Earley, Winnersh Triangle, Winnersh, Wokingham, Crowthorne, Sandhurst, Blackwater, Farnborough North, North Camp, Ash, Guildford, Shalford, Chilworth, Gomshall, Dorking West, Dorking Deepdene and Betchworth. 

LONDON BRIDGE

London Bridge

This was a matter of gaining access to a major London terminus. Today London Bridge remains a very major station, with interchanges to London Underground’s Northern and Jubilee lines.

WHITCHURCH, ANDOVER & SALISBURY

Whitchurch, Andover and Salisbury

This refers to the section of line that heads west from Basingstoke calling at Overton, Whitchurch, Andover, Grateley and Salisbury. 

GUILDFORD, FAREHAM AND PORTSMOUTH

Guildford, Fareham, Portsmouth

This covers half of the line between Portsmouth and Southampton on todays network and the stretch from Portsmouth to Guildford which goes by way of Fratton, Hilsea, Bedhampton, Rowlands Castle, Petersfield, Liss, Liphook, Haslemere, Witley, Milford, Godalming and Farncombe.

RICHMOND TO WINDSOR

Richmond to Windsor

Both the Hounslow loop and the line to Windsor are still very much part of the network. This is one of two lines to Windsor, the other of which runs as a shuttle service between Slough and Windsor. These two branches which currently have terminuses so close together feature in a scheme I have in mind for the District line.

STAINES TO WOKING AND WOKINGHAM

Staines to Wokingham and Woking

These days there is no direct connection from Staines to Woking. The other route, with stations at Egham, Virginia Water, Longcross, Sunningdale, Martins Heron and joining the western end of the Reading and Reigate line referred to earlier at Wokingham. When I attended Richmond Upon Thames I sometimes used trains travellingf this route because they used to go non-stop between Richmond and Clapham Junction. In those distant days the rolling stock had doors that had to be opened and closed by hand – no push buttons on that line, and it needed either considerable care or a willingness to make a very loud bang to be sure that the doors actually were closed.

WIMBLEDON TO CROYDON

Wimbledon to Croydon

This little line is now the northern spur of London Tramlink. For more detail on this line and its possible role in a wider scheme go here.

READING EXTENSION

Reading extension

This can be though of as tying up a loose end, and the arrangements still hold to this day.

HAVANT TO GODALMING

Havant to Godalming

This line comprises the majority of the main line between London and Portsmouth, and still fucntions today pretty much as it did then (save for South West Trains’ continuing problems with reliability and punctuality).

SALISBURY TO YEOVIL

Salisbury to Yeovil

This little section, which from Salisbury calls at Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherborne and Yeovil Junction was conceived as a useful link. Yeovil has two stations, Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Pen Mill which are so close together as to be considered effectively an interchange.

YEOVIL TO EXETER

Yeovil to Exeter

A short western extension, which is still in use today, with stations at Crewkerne, Axminster, Honiton, Feniton, Whimple, Pridhoe, St James Park, Exeter Central and Exeter St Davids. 

BRANCH TO CAMBRIDGE TOWN

Branch to Cambridge Town

No misprints here – what was then known as Cambridge Town, Surrey is now called Camberley, and this branch, which diverges from the line to Reading at Ascot and calls at Bagshot, Camberley and Frimley (well known to those who enjoy darts) before joining the Aldershot line at Ash Vale, is still very much functioning.

SUSSEX AND SURREY

Sussex and Surrey

The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway clearing the way for future developments in Sussex and Surrey, many fo which came to fruition and are still in service, and some of which fell beneath the Beeching axe in the 1960s. 

AMALGAMATION

Amalgamation

The London and South Western getting the go-ahead for expansionism. 

BASINGSTOKE TO NEWBURY

Basingstoke to Newbury

There is these days no direct connection between Basingstoke and Newbury. The mentions of Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon are of interest to me as this is the part of the world I grew up in. The station referred to as Lower Merton is nowadays called Haydons Road. All of Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon nowadays have London Underground stations serving them as well – the District reached Wimbledon in 1869, while Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon (which between them cover Tooting and Merton) were all opened in 1926 when the Northern line was extended southwards from Clapham Common to Morden. 

DORSET

Dorset

Purely about improving access, and having travelled that way many times over the years I can tell you that the track widening referred to did take place. There are still regular services from Bournemouth and Poole up to the Midlands, as well as between London and Weymouth. 

NORTH CORNWALL

North Cornwall

Something of a ‘portmanteau’ act – covering operations in a vast area and relating to many different sections of railway. Over 2,100 years ago a Roman consul named Titus Didius recognised the undesirability of unrelated matters being tacked together in big unwieldy pieces of legislation and outlawed the practice – an aspect of Roman law that we would have been well advised to incorporate into our own laws.

Excl: case studies show Labour investment WILL pay for itself

A very important post from the Skwawkbox

The SKWAWKBOX

In a bid to divert attention from the wet blanket of Philip Hammond’s budget last week, the Establishment has been attacking Labour’s plans for borrowing (only) for investment.

Channel 4’s FactCheck issued an article criticising Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s supposed lack of understanding of how government borrowing works – allowing Tories to crow briefly and erroneously – only to have to issue a corrected version. Other ‘MSM’ piled in with similarly-misplaced attacks.

The push-back against this nonsense has started. A group of twenty-three renowned economists also made a firm, public statement of support for the sound economic principle of government borrowing to invest to strengthen the economy – and the tax take.

Now the impact of government investment – and the reality that it pays for itself in economic growth and improved tax-receipts – can be seen in these previously-unreleased case studies of three planned Labour investment projects:

Crossrail for…

View original post 511 more words

Southwestern Publicity Materials

Some publicity materials fro,m the Southwest.

INTRODUCTION

This is the final post I shall be producing about my first visit to my parent’s new home in Cornwall. There will be photographs of all the publicity materials that I picked up while down there, captioned where appropriate with links to the posts that they relate to, except for one section where I am following the route of my journey to Penzance and flag that at the start of the entire section. Thus, this post will contain links to every other post I have produced about the visit.

THE PUBLICITY MATERIALS

We start with…

THE RAME PENINSULA OFFICIAL LEAFLET

This is the particular area in which my parents new home is located, so in one sense it relates to all of the previous posts in this series…

Rame 1
The posts that relate most closely to this are those relating to Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Rame 2

Next we have…

A DOUBLE SIDED RAILWAY MAP

This features the Great Western Railway network map on one side and the whole national railway network on the other:

GWR Map
This map particularly relates to the posts for Wednesday, the first of the Saturday posts and Monday.

Network Rail mapGWR Map cover

Our next port of call is…

A SOUTH DEVON GUIDE

This is a stout little booklet, with a pictorial map as a centrepiece:

South Devon mapSouth Devon Guide

Next we come to…

A SELECTION OF RAILWAYANA

These are all unrelated to anything I blogged about, but represent things to consider for future visits…

Riviera line 1Riviera line 2Avocet Ambles 1Avocet Ambles 2Avocet Ambles 3Avocet lineScenic railways in Devon

We are now going to cover…

CORNISH TRAIN JOURNEYS

For most of this section we will be following the route of my journey to Penzance, but first a couple of pics to set the scene…

Scenic RailwaysScenic Railways 2

Now starting our survey of stuff that relates closely to my Saturday journey we begin with the St Germans Walk…

St Germans Walk 1St Germans Walk 2St Germans Map

Our next staging post is Bodmin Parkway, for the Bodmin & Wenford Railway:

Bodmin & Wenford 1Bodmin & Wenford 2

Continuing our westward journey our next diversion is at St Austell where those so minded can catch a 101 bus to The Eden Project (the officially recommended way of visiting that great attraction – they are not great admirers of the motor car).

Eden 1Eden 2

Before arriving at the destination for our next section we give a passing wave to Camborne Town:

Camborne townCamborne Town 2Camborne Heritage Trail

It is now time to move on to…

PENZANCE

Here are some maps of the Penzance area…

Discover Penzance 1
These maps relate to my post about my day in Penzance. The first two pictures are of the only item in this collection that had to be bought, for a whopping £1!

Discover Penzance 2Penzance mapPenzance map close upPenzance town mapPenzance town map close up

We have almost reached the end of this post, which we do with…

A FEW LAST PICTURES

These are the last few bits…

GWR timetable
The official mainline timetable
Devon & Cornwall Railcard
I will not be able to make use of this, but some of you might.

Devon & Cornwall Railcard 2Cross Country 1Cross Country 2

Homeward Bound

My account of the homeward journey from Fort Picklecombe.

INTRODUCTION

We have reached the penultimate post about my Cornish holiday – the last day. This post details the long journey home.

STARTING OFF

The length of time it took to get from Plymouth to Fort Picklecombe on the Thursday was playing on my mind, and I wanted to be sure that we were away before 9AM, since my train was due to depart Plymouth at 10:44, and I reckoned that a single ticket from Plymouth to London bought on the day (London-Lynn would still have been valid on the original ticket) woulkd probably cost more than my original ticket (in this assessment, to borrow from history, there was the proverbial “cubit of error my way that does not obscure the 99 cubits of error the other way” – actually said ticket would have been fractionally less. Nevertheless, I did get a few lasy pictures before leaving the fort:

Sun on waterthree boatsTwo boats

Heron
A first for me – the first time I have captured a heron on camera.

On the journey into Plymouth I managed to snap two pictures from the back of the camper van:

Water viewBridge, Plymouth

I had some time to kill at Plymouth station and did so by taking photographs…

Platform 7, Plymouth

Gull waiting for train
An avian passenger?

Posters 1Plymouth PosterPenzanceDevon PosterDevon Poster 2Departure Board

PLYMOUTH – LONDON

This train was a service called “The Cornish Riviera”, which starts in Penzance and snails up through Cornwall stopping pretty much everywhere and then makes up time by calling only at Exeter St Davids and Reading between Plymouth and London. Although I had an aisle seat on this journey, and no opportunity to move to the window seat I was not going to be denied at least some photos. I got a good few between Plymouth and Exeter and a handful thereafter…

Across the water from the trainAcross the Water from the train IIBridge from trainThe seaCliffsAcross the water from the train IIIHeadland from the trainTown across the water from trainBoats and buildings through the windowBoats and Buildings from train IIBoats and buildings from train IIIAcross the water from train IVBoat and housesboat and buildingsRed cliffsRed cliff and two big housesStately homeRed cliffs, buildings and treesRed cl.iffs and red houseWaterfront buildingsWaterside viewView through the bridgeAcross the riverLarge churchLarge church IILarge church IIITwo towersSpire through treesSpire II

Plat 1
Exeter St Davids (two images)

Exeter St DavidsMonument

Chalk Horse
This chalk horse, carved directly out of the hillside, is visible at distance at a time when the train is at full speed.

Chalk Horse II

Reading
Reading station
Royal Oak
Royal Oak – the Hammersmith & City line’s last station west of Paddington. The next station towards Hammersmith, Westbourne Park, used to offer an interchange with mainline railways but nowadays Ealing Braodway is the last mainline station before Paddington. Back in the old days there was a connection – the first locomotives to run over what was then The Metropolitan Railway were supplied by the Great Western, while this extension to Hammersmtih opened in 1864, only one year after the original.

LONDON TO KING’S LYNN

I crossed to the Hammersmith and City line platforms, nos 15 and 16 of the main station, and waited a long time for an eastbound train, then discovering that it was terminating at Edgware Road (very odd indeed for a train from Hammersmith), so I had to change again. I arrived at King’s Cross and was just in time to catch the 14:44 to King’s Lynn, which was not overfull (as the 15:44, the next service, certainly would have been). This means that I was at home and unpacking by 5PM. 

Paddington 1View from the Hammersmith & City line platformsPaddingtonH&C trainCablesTrainEdgware RoadEdgware Road from aboveEdgware Road Plats 1&2

Hammersmith & City line
This picture was the cause of minor quarrel – I was challenged by another passenger as to why I was taking pictures of his friend, and it took my a while to get the point across that I was not, and that it was this map which was my target. His friend’s hat did appear in the uncropped version, but no face was visible, and my only interest was the map. I was perhaps a little harsh as I was fully expecting to miss my intended connection at Kings Cross due to the delays on this leg of the journey.

Great Portland StreetEuston Square

Kings Cross clock
The platform from which the train to King’s Lynn was l.eaving was revealed with a mere eight minutes to spare, and if you going to Lynn you have to go to the front of the train (or else get out and dash along the platform at Cambridge).

Kings Cross arched roofTrains at Kings CrossKing's Cross just before departureJourney PlannerAeroplaneStansted ExpressStansted Express 2

Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral.