John Reid Bus Corporate Fiefdom Via John Prescott !

John Reid Bus Corporate Fiefdom Via John Prescott !

Bristol VRT - 38749 (1147) - AFJ 749T - Ex First Devon & Cornwall

The old girl in the video sounds like she is fitted with the original Leyland 500 Fixed-Head Engine and a semi-automatic 5 speed gearbox, the ones I enjoyed driving at Ribble were fitted with Gardner Engines and could only manage 50, whereas she would probably do 60 !

The Achillies heel of the 500 engine was its crankshaft bearing which due to imperfect understanding of Frictional Torque in Bearings Theory were too small in diameter as perhaps the boffins thought they could save fuel, but unless you kept a close eye on the oil pressure and slipped in new shells in time the engine was wrecked !

Another problem with the earlier VRT's was that they had insufficient Castor, a throw back to the days before Power Steering and corrected in the 1980 VRT's they had at Ribble, the 1977 Clitheroe based VRT's has fully auto boxes which changed up into Top Gear by 20 and performed less than optimum.  Another problem was that unless you changed the shock absorbers at regular mileage they rode really rough, not a problem with the original multi-leaf springs though, more expensive in first cost air suspension Olympians ended the debate'.

At Clitheroe on countless occasions the service was delayed ( and sometimes cancelled ) due to the electronic ticket machine malfunctioning, the object of their exercise being to collect passenger number data, and stop the driver fiddling although it was dead easy for them to short change you via the shoot anyway.

info: Chatbrrp.wps 12 February 1999, 12:18:28



I Realise that you probably think I’m crazy with my reference to “
ethnic cleansing by stealth “, but many of Britain’s social
problems are probably due to Tory policies which allow individuals to
“ socially exclude “ lower income families from certain areas,
either by denying them access to affordable transport, or by
destroying the jobs which provide some measure of economic stability
for the local area.  Since the World’s Stock Markets have almost
certainly broke themselves by investing in technology which the
majority of people can never possibly afford without risking turning
themselves into virtual bank Slaves, and the banks now appear to be
seeking to steal back all the false profits made by home owners
during the Thatcher housing boom.   The “ global economy ” has
allowed the stock market to asset strip the UK of its essential
manufacturing industry, but more recently job losses appear to have
been targeted on those areas likely to attract the more affluent.
Sunderland is perhaps a prime example, with plenty of scope for
building a marina on the Grove Cranes site next to the river, and
well built council housing left empty due to continual harassment of
the existing residents by gangs of “Thatcher Youth ” thugs.
Believe it or not, a similar situation exists in Chatburn, of which
more later.

I joined the Labour party because I actually believe in the statement
printed on the back of my membership card, but Labour can never
achieve its stated aim by attempting to follow all the Tory “ false
economy “ policies left festering in the lower intestines of the
civil service.  If the civil Service can fool Robin Cook into
allowing “ arms to Africa ”, it is probable that a large
proportion of the information provided to other ministers is also
suspect, particularly if the multinationals have launched a fleet of
lobbyist’s to press the case for their “ brilliant “ ideas,
such as GM food.  Big business has become far too powerful since the
creation of the global economy, which has allowed them to create a
corporate multinational cartel ( CMC ), which is more economically
powerful than any single nation state.  The CMC has become a threat
to British democracy, yet Tony Benn appears to be the only mainstream
politician courageous enough to speak out openly against it.  John
Prescot worked a miracle to get the first stage of the CTRL under
construction, after the greens allowed the CMC lawyers to steal all
the private money originally raised for construction, but he may need
to walk on water to get the far more important cross London link
built.  There is also the problem of Railtrack, which was the final
piece of the jigsaw the Tories needed to create The Great Smashem &
Cheetam Railway, which perhaps only profits because of excessive road
fuel duty, another useful tool for “ corporate ethnic cleansing “.

It is probable that excessive duty on Derv has destroyed far more
manufacturing jobs in the north of England than the alleged strong
pound, or high interest rates ever did, and as the government has
denied itself the option of increasing the top rate of income tax,
the damage looks set to continue.  It is possible to buy Derv at 26p
a litre in France, so any export manufacturing jobs beyond the range
of a full tank of fuel are in grave danger, including Longbridge,
which is probably on the CMC closure list, along with Lucas, when
Wall St get their hands on it.  LDV was also a probable CMC target
for closure, as its 1970s designed van range was far superior to
anything Ford or other CMC manufacturers produce, but it does help
the CMC when South Wales politicians exclude LDV from local authority
tendering because LDV do not fit ABS brakes, side impact bars and
Airbags; because they don’t need them, and the customers who buy
vans with their own money don’t want them because the cab is
already strong enough to protect the driver, plus they know from
experience that ABS brakes are potentially dangerous, and expensive
to maintain.  I have personal experience of ABS brake failure on the
trailer of a 38 ton artic, and many experienced HGV fitters can no
longer hold their hand on their heart and claim the vehicles they
maintain are safe.  Drivers are now almost forced to work a 26 hour
shift, get up half an hour before they go to bet, and lick there
vehicle clean before going home at weekend, just to absorb the fuel
Of course drivers working conditions could improve if Britain made more
use of the railways for freight, particularly long distance export
freight, and the easiest way to achieve freight interchange is by
using ISO containers.  The new weigh limits could help, but if the
gross vehicle weight was thrown away and substituted by a Max axle
load of 8 tons, it would be possible to use an eight wheel tractor
unit and tri-axle trailer with the same axle loads as the 1960s.
Perhaps the most damaging trucks for the road are 17 tonne four
wheelers, on which the 7 tonne front axle is subjected to load
transfer on braking, yet over the years politicians have been mislead
to believe that they cause less damage than multi-axle vehicles with
more than twice the total weight.  The use of freight interchange
depots at strategic locations around the country could reduce the
number of night spent away from the home depot, and make the roads
safer because the drivers know the local roads well, and are also
know to the locals, so if they drive like lunatics, they know they
will be reported.  ( it works in NZ )

In addition to my previous objections to the weight limit on Chatburn
Station Bridge, I intend to submit the following paragraph.

It is probable that a weight limit on Chatburn Station bridge will
severely limit the prospect of any future industrial development of
the land adjacent to the railway, which was formerly part of the
Horrocksford Lime Co.  Part of the now derelict Horrocksford site
could in future be developed as a rail freight interchange centre, as
the Blackburn-Hellifield line is situated on a strategic alternative
anglo-Scottish route, which carried a large amount of freight back in
the 1970s.  If rail freight traffic is to increase as part of an
integrated transport policy, Chatburn is probably an ideal location
for an interchange depot, not only serving the Ribble Valley, but is
also a convinient central location with good road access to nearby
towns, and towns across the Yorkshire border, which may not have
access to fast overnight rail services from the west coast main line.
The Horrocksford site is well away from residential housing, which
may be subject to the noise of railway operations, especially at
night, and is not constrained by low bridges, unlike the current
nearest rail freight depot at Blackburn, which is inconvinient for
goods vehicles due to its town centre location. The future viability
of Castle Cement Clitheroe appears to be in some doubt, but a new
rail freight interchange at Chatburn could provide much needed jobs
for any workers made redundant by the closure of Castle Cement,
especially the many drivers who currently work in the local haulage
industry.  If the above bridge is in true need of repair, the cost
could be fully justified if it resulted in the creation of new jobs
in the Ribble Valley, and help the integration of road and rail
transport, perhaps removing many current long distance lorries from
the road network, and keeping them out of town centres where they
generate the most pollution when sat in traffic jams going nowhere.

If LCC records went back into the 1950s, their officers would probably
be aware of the fact that Chatburn once had probably the largest road
haulage contractor in the area .  J.H. Holgate once employed most of
the villagers not employed at Stonebridge Mill and the quarries.  The
success of Holgate’s was not simply based on the local quarries,
but also on general freight from the extensive former railhead on the
site now occupied by Pendle Trading Estate.  The closure of the
railhead had also closed Holgate’s by 1969.

It is reasonable to believe that if any conflict of interest is
operating over the future of Chatburn Station Bridge, perhaps the
prospect of a company opening a rail-freight interchange depot on the
Horrocksford site is probably the key.  A new rail depot at Chatburn
would not damage the current nearest railhead at Blackburn, which is
severely limited by its town centre location and may never be able to
expand much above current capacity.  Perhaps the key is who controls
the current Blackburn freight depot operator, ( not the name on the
door ) and to check the list of objectors to date, which I am
informed may not include the most obvious current main user.  Mike
Neville was very helpful in working out the link, and although I have
not informed him of my suspicions, my questions may have given him
the clue, especially after I informed him about the local NFU, who
have now objected.  Needless to say, the conflict of interest appears
to point towards a large multinational with a dodgy human rights
record, and perhaps LCC is being tricked into denying the opportunity
of future sustainable jobs for the Ribble Valley, in order that the
multinationals can restrict any future rail-freight traffic growth.

Chatburn was once a quiet village, but over the past three years it has gained
the dubious distinction of the highest crime rate in the Ribble
Valley, particularly youth crime and vandalism.  The local policeman
is said to believe that it may even be organised crime, and it all
started with youths in cars playing loud music outside the homes of
pensioners at all hours, but more recently, the local gang has taken
up occupation of the Tyre Depot and car wash, throwing stolen scrap
tyres all around the village, knocking down fences and generally
thieving anything not welded down. 

They even stole the low voltage village Christmas Tree lights twice, and have been harassing the
local pensioners in the village centre sheltered accommodation (
Holgate’s former yard ) by standing outside the front windows
drinking cans of ale just over the boundary wall opposite the Black
Bull.  this may be deliberate targeting, as the footpath runs well
beneath through the bus stop at this point, and perhaps they are
actually being paid to cause trouble.  The local policeman has
stamped out most of the trouble since Christmas, perhaps because one
of the main accomplices has had his “ political “ protection
removed.  The local youths appear to be from more affluent families,
but as usual, the single mums kids have taken all the blame until

It appears that certain primary schools in the area are operating a
policy of discrimination against the children of low income families,
or single mothers on state benefits.  A friend’s  8 year old
grand-daughter was recently upset because he was not happy about her
telling her teacher she could do computer homework without first
obtaining his consent, but it appears that the children have been
split into two groups, those with a home computer, and those without.
 It may be the case that the NEW teacher has links with a computer
retailer, and is attempting to get kids to put pressure on their
parents to get one, whether they can afford one or not, but it may
also allow individuals to “ socially exclude “ kids from low
income families.  The computers in schools initiative is a brilliant
piece of forward thinking Labour policy, but it may also be used as
tool to for discrimination against low income families.

A similar case happened at another school last year, when an ADD kid
was excluded for being aggressive towards a member of the teaching
staff, and his long standing behavioural problem started at the same
8 years old.  The boy was eventually excluded just after the
Christmas in the last year before leaving for secondary school.
Although already  statemented, no secondary education had been
organised by June, so his single mother parent asked me to compose a
letter: in which I suggested the possibility that if nothing was done
to quickly arrange secondary education for her son, he was likely to
end up on the social exclusion scrap-heap.  It did the trick, and her
son is now receiving first class special needs help a local secondary
school, but his new special needs teacher could not understand why he
needed extra help, until he described the cause of the incident which
led to his exclusion.  The teachers at his new secondary school could
not understand why he never played out at break time, until they
reached the conclusion that he had been bullied in the primary school
playground so often that he dare not go out at his new school.

The boy told his new special needs teacher had been attacked by two
larger boys in the playground, but despite calling for help from the
attending teacher, she proceeded to tie the shoe laces of another
child whilst the two larger boys “ kicked him in the head “  The
boys who kicked him in the head are now also receiving special needs
teaching at secondary school, and are still causing problems,
although my friends son has been given a special award for
improvement during the winter term, and apart from his academic
ability, is no longer cause for concern.  The two bullies came from
affluent families, so perhaps it OK to be a school bully if you have
got plenty of money, or perhaps its allowed to happen in the hope
that the one parent family will leave the area.  It is probably dead
easy for the CMC to lubricate “ new “ teachers to discriminate
against the children of low income groups, and I believe that
discrimination in schools was the original cause of the unrest in
Kosovo.  One school in question was recently given an Ofsted award
for high standards, so perhaps the best way for headmasters to get a
big pay rise is to employ teachers who put low achieving kids under
such pressure that they can be excluded when they finally crack under
the strain.  Other law abiding “ not likely to move out of the
village “ home owning families may also have been subjected to
targeted harassment by an individual who was eventually arrested for
various offences. The individual in question has now left the village
but the vandalism continued.  The trouble appears to have reduced
since a new landlord took over the Bull, which is now to close down.

It appears that similar harassment occurs on council estates throughout
Lancashire, perhaps especially those which may be privatised and
handed over to the control of a housing association.  It may be the
case that housing associations are funding groups of individuals to
force out any resident who purchased their council house, and could
spoil any plan to gain control of the entire area.  A Preston estate
recently featured on ITV “ Neighbours from Hell “ was perhaps the
classic example of the “ ethnic cleansing “ of  areas of towns,
perhaps also assisted by traffic calming, which reduces through
traffic, but is also said to reduce the number of  “ quality
witnesses “ who know the area.  Of course the police never have
sufficient evidence to arrest anybody, and the housing association
can’t get enough evidence to evict the probable source of the
trouble, perhaps until all the existing law abiding residents have
left the estate.  As long as council officers are allowed to take
jobs in similar executive positions within the private sector, the
current crime and disorder on council estates likely to be sold to
housing associations may continue.

There was nothing basically wrong with the NBC inheritance, and but for the
steam cleaner through the radiator of the old MK1 Leyland Nationals,
and the need for someone to re-design the wipers on the Mk2
Nationals, they were very reliable when serviced regularly by
properly trained skilled staff.  But you are likely to encounter
problems when you once employed a local fleet engineer who was a
maintenance engineer in a carpet factory, and an industrial gas
heating engineer instead of true automotive engineers with wide
experience of running repairs.  Of course the accountants can prove
that new buses have lower maintenance costs per mile, as they are
likely to be used on the flagship services all day, and they can
easily be shown to attract extra passengers, as when first used on
routes in competition to other operators using older vehicles timed
to arrive within a few minutes, so passengers will naturally be
inclined to try the new bus.  BR made the same fatal mistake with
Diesel Multiple units in the 1950s, reports came back about a
doubling of passenger numbers, but he original number was in single
figures and the novelty soon wore off.  As a rail enthusiast, I once
enjoyed riding on trains and even once travelled around Australia by
train, and also around New Zealand buy bus where no train existed, I
helped the driver change a blown front wheel on one overnight service
in NZ.  However, I do not relish the prospect of sitting on top of a
vibrating engine for up to four hours in air conditioned sealed box
when you can’t even see out of the windows properly; and the sealed
box is likely to become a coffin when faulty computerised modern
signalling fails.  Its hardly surprising to find that companies have
a driver shortage, as when the signals fail, the driver is likely to
be charged with manslaughter and proven guilty by media before ever
gets to court.  It is probable that Victorian steam locomotives were
providing a better, faster service in the 1930s than the current DMU
trains on comparable local services, ant it appears that many WCML
Virgin services are now no faster than 1930s steam traction and far
less reliable.

Perhaps the best bus serving Chatburn is the LCC subsidised Preston-Skipton
service operated by ABC, and pretty rapid, and if only ran every hour
instead of every two hours.  It is not much slower than the average
car driver, but that not to say that the older semi-express cross
country buses were immune from delay by slower cars, perhaps
reluctantly driven by St Dunstans school of motoring, who would
probably give up driving altogether if they had a decent bus service
nearby.  And then there was the new electronic real time bus
information service to tell you “ You’ve just missed one “ and
the next one is an hour later, by which time you had hoped to be back
at home, so you use the car instead.  I believe that the new
information system does not work properly, and may never achieve the
suppliers promises, so perhaps the electronic bus information system
is LCC’s version of Nimrod, but without the job creation.  The
promised new comprehensive timetable information notices are a
positive step, but the main bus shelter is now in such poor condition
that it will probably collapse under the weight of the sign, so the
parish council have put in for a new one.

It appears that dog owners from outside Chatburn are coming by car to
exercise their pets on the playing fields, and the dog excrement
problem around the children’s swings is now so bad that the parish
council is considering investing in a doggy-loo bin, and armour
plated fencing to surround the playground equipment.  Anyone might
think that the new fencing was gold plated, as the cost is over
£5,000, and although wood fencing would be far cheaper, the “
Thatcher Youth “ would be likely to soon tear it down.  There are
likely to be several property developers interested in building new
houses on the large flat playing field, and they could get it if they
make everyone’s life a misery by organised crime.  There is no
traffic calming in Chatburn, but there is a recent keep left bollard
at the bottom of Downham Road, which prevents heavy vehicles and
buses from seeing straight up the road and getting a slow “ run “
at the hill, so they make more noise and pollution than they ever did
before it was installed, and wear the road out on the corner.

It appears that local councils prefer to install extensive traffic
calming in areas which someone may intend to find an excuse to fence
off into virtual ghettos at some time in the future, so perhaps the
move away from double-deck buses and trains with opening windows are
to prevent passengers seeing over fences to notice how decrepit some
local areas have become.  If anyone is foolish enough to introduce
toll roads, it will leave the field wide open for the creation of
secret Nazi style extermination camps for the poor, and perhaps it
was more than coincidence that someone applied to build a BSE cattle
incinerator next door to the new Lancaster prison.  Perhaps Hitler
would never have got away with his concentration camps if the
population  had freedom of movement around Germany in cars, and cheap
public transport from which you could see over the fence. Perhaps
once the CMC have forced all the rural basic rate taxpayers into
towns such as Accrington, and the high rate taxpayers have all moved
into villages such as Chatburn, the CMC Utilities can cease
maintenance on essential services such as water, gas, and
electricity.  The NZ power company allowed this to happen in Auckland
last year, and most of the city centre small businesses were almost
destroyed, but the CMC had ships loaded with generators all the way
from somewhere to power their offices within a couple of days.   It
was several weeks before full power was restored to Auckland, but
perhaps there would be no need for ”  utilities “ to repair
essential services in certain areas of British towns if “ lack of
funds “ made it financially impossible, even though the company
were investing in non essential cosmetic “ safety improvements “

You may think I’m crazy, but the above can easily happen if Labour
continue to follow Tory policies and attempt to subsidise the stock
market with crazy schemes for private pensions.  It appears that most
politicians have no imagination beyond creating false economic growth
and increasing the depth of Financial Apartheid within the once
caring and less greedy Lancashire community.



you for the invitation to attend the Policy Forum at Blackpool on
20th March 1999, which I would love to attend, but due to constant
back pain caused by being forced to “ sheet up “ lorry loads of
stone in the winter rain and snow ( in order to prevent a bit of dust
getting onto someone’s new car ), I now suffer from permanent
chronic back pain.  As LCC has opted to neglect road maintenance to
fund traffic calming schemes over the past 10 years, and allowed the
Highways Agency to fill all the main roads with uneven roundabouts,
it is probable that by the time I reached Blackpool, I would probably
be in so much pain that it would be impossible for me to usefully
participate in a civilised debate about anything.  Public transport
is not really an option, as the buses must also traverse the traffic
calming, and at least I have the steering wheel to steady myself in
the car, but it is tiring to do it for 45 minutes over roads full of
humps and pot holes.  I could use the train, but the last time I went
to Blackpool by train, there was an half hour wait at Blackburn, and
then a change at Preston to get to Blackpool South.  It took over an
hour and a half to reach Blackpool by train the last time I visited,
and apart from the newly re-laid section from Kirkham through Lytham,
the track was in atrocious condition, and the jolts from the track
could cause me injury and put me out of action altogether for a
couple of weeks.  I also have difficulty sitting in straight backed
chairs with no arms, as to sit for any period of time I need to prop
myself up on my arms, but even then my muscles can go into spasm, and
the only cure is to lie down for about half an hour.

I was fortunate enough to be educated under the last Labour government
in the 1970s, served my time as a HGV fitter with a small local road
haulier, and attended day release at Accrington College, where I
gained a Pt II Motor Vehicle Technicians certificate with distinction
and National freight CPC.  I originally injured my back as a fitter,
but found employment as a Class 1 driver, where I travelled around
the UK visiting all kinds of industry from car plants to small
village workshops, and travelling around the country with drivers
during school holidays from 13 probably helped me in my career ad a
driver.  I am also a rail enthusiast, and regularly used the railways
for pleasure during the early 1980s, when you could spend all week on
the train travelling throughout the country without being late or
missing a connection once.  I spent three months travelling Australia
by train in 1987/88 on a rail-pass and a shoe-string budget, and was
impressed by the low cost of local public transport not covered under
the rail-pass.

The local transport around Adelaide S.A. was particularly impressive,
with “ smart tickets “ bought from the local shop for $1
entitling you to an hours journey on either bus or local train.  The
tickets were about the same size as the old Edmondson cardboard train
tickets still used on UK preserved railways, and you simply validated
your ticket each time you got on the bus or train, and audible signal
warning the driver of potential fare dodgers.  It was also possible
to buy a “ day ticket “ for about £1.50 after 09:00, which even
at 1987 prices was far cheaper than the UK average, and around Sidney
NSW, you could travel an area the size of Lancashire for £10 a week
using an old Edmondson ticket, stamped in an original Victorian
machine, but perhaps the cheap fares were due to the well maintained
1925 designed electric trains still in use on rush-hour trains and
some secondary lines.  That is not to say that there was no new
investment in new equipment, extra double deck trains were planned
for Sidney, and Adelaide had invested in the then new “ tracked “
bus system for areas not served by the railways, but it was true
evolution, not an expensive money wasting transport revolution like
bus deregulation in the UK.  It appears that Labour is in danger of
making the same mistakes as the Tories on public transport, perhaps
throwing away equipment with years of further use and many
sustainable maintenance jobs.

A similar cheap universal ticket scheme operates in West Yorkshire, but
with no full ticketing  between bus and train, although the station
car park at Steeton is always overflowing.  Many of the services use
refurbished 1960s electric multiple units displaced from the south
east by more modern rolling stock, but the last time I used the
service, I overheard some children returning to Keithley commenting
how comfortable they were, perhaps having travelled out on a more
modern train.  The old trains rode very well on the well maintained
sections of track, but suffered on the sections of uneven track
around the stations.  I travelled from Steeton to Bradford, then
nipped across the town centre and thence to Leeds via the Great
Northern line, where I joined a London Express to Wakefield.  From
Wakefield I went to Huddersfield, and back to Leeds, then the now
electrified Ilkley branch.  I could have visited Todmorden via
Halifax on the same ticket, or anywhere else in the Metro scheme far
easier and cheaper than by car, and if only the north west had a
similar scheme in operation.   Although I did not take advantage, the
buses also offer universal ticketing throughout the same area, and if
I lived in the area, I am sure that I would take full advantage of
the scheme.   It may be difficult to introduce a similar scheme in
the north west, as most bus operators appear to use the pensioners
bus-passes to inflate the fares, safe in the knowledge that a few
pensioners on the bus will pay all the fixed costs, and the rest is
probably pure profit; and as so few people use the buses, you can get
away with an imported mini-bus on most services, and people hate
over-crowded buses or trains, with no spare floor space for cycles or

The Tories destroyed the railway workshops needed to maintain BR rolling
stock as good as, if not better than new, and scrapped equipment
which with minor modification was probably better than the newer
equipment in use on the privatised Great Smashem & Cheetam Rly
today, but there is still time to save what remains of our BR
heritage.  The old trains must not be as bad as the media attempts to
portray if New Zealand Railways are prepared to purchase redundant
1960s BR Mk 11 coaches for conversion to 3 foot 6 inch ( narrow gauge
) track for use on expanded passenger services in a country as large
as the UK with cheap road fuel, but less than 4 million people.  The
UK preserved railways and smaller rail-freight operators are willing
to buy anything EWS or any other large private operator decides to
scrap, but perhaps EWS is afraid of competition from other operators
using well maintained British built locomotives, creating sustainable
British jobs at far lower capital cost.   The privatised former BR
freightliner sector company is currently re-building 1960s built
Brush Class 47 locomotives, which come out at half the price of the
new EWS Class 66, built in Canada, but probably be just as effective
at moving freight on the railways for the next 30 years, create
British jobs, and lighter on the track.

EWS is currently scrapping English Electric Class 37 locomotives, which
were built in the north west at sites such as Vulcan Foundry
Newton-Le-Willows, and Strand Road Preston probably still supplies
engine parts and electrical equipment.  If only the Rail Regulator
could force EWS or any rolling stock leasing company to sell alleged
life expired equipment to BR, we could save and create thousands of
worthwhile British Jobs and improve rail services for far less
subsidy, and the taxpayers money would stay in the UK, and not be
siphoned off by overseas bankers and money changers.  BR could also
run freight services, but the current poor state of the track and
signalling make freight train operation difficult and fuel
inefficient due to speed restrictions.  The steam locomotive could
run over jointed track and wooden sleepers without causing much
damage, but diesel locomotives need continuous welded rail, and
concrete sleepers to cope with the extra vibration and small wheels.
Using safety concerns to compel Railtrack to renew the track on
important secondary freight routes such as the Settle-Carlisle could
be worth any extra direct subsidy as recently suggested by John
Prescot, but only if the subsidy is linked to buying British.  New
concrete sleepers could save the British cement industry, and secure
jobs at British Steel Workington, and create new “ local “ jobs
at new concrete sleeper works, and track maintenance gangs.  There
are thousands of worthwhile jobs out there waiting to be created on
the railways, but not if the corporate multinationals get there way
and close the railways as originally intended in the Tory plans of
the 1980s, EWS can use all its expensive new locomotives on Wisconsin
Central in the US, after milking any freight subsidy to pay for them
over ten years.  Perhaps the great railway privatisation rip-off has
only just begun, EWS need two brand new Class 66 locos to replace one
20 year old Class 56 on a steel train from Newport to Shotton, and
the Brush Class 56’s are going for scrap !

Wisconsin Central now operates the railways in New Zealand, and I am informed
that they are now competing with road transport by using ISO
containers for inter-island traffic, including perishable goods, and
winning new traffic, despite the fact that road diesel costs only
about £1.50 a gallon.  High road fuel duty has a disproportionate
effect on short distance road haulage, especially when the road
engine is used for discharging bulk powder tanks, so increasing road
fuel duty is unlikely to make freight switch to “ greener “ rail
transport.  NZR has a far more restrictive “ loading gauge “ than
BR, so the current argument that higher than standard containers are
essential is probably a red herring purely designed to prevent a move
towards ISO containers in the UK, and the latest satellite tracking
reduces the lost container and load security fears. I expect that the
unions are afraid that a move over to long distance rail-freight will
destroy jobs in the road haulage industry, but the use of containers
for rail traffic in NZ appears to have created jobs in local road
transport, as drivers spend more time stationary, instead of
travelling flat out all day on a “ motorway”.  There are also
plenty of vehicle maintenance jobs, as most of the wear and tear on
vehicles occurs on site, so no problem for the components
manufacturers, the only probable losers from rail freight are the oil
companies, which may explain why they already control some existing
rail-freight interchanges.  It is most important to ensure a free
market for rail-freight interchange traffic, as if the existing large
road distribution companies are allowed to corner the rail market,
they will continue to use the motorways for long distance traffic,
and invest in the most expensive intermodal solutions, such
road-railers and piggy-back systems, all of which can probably be
sold to the USA when the UK railways eventually close to freight due
to the poor state of the track.

It is common knowledge in the non-corporate road haulage industry that
certain high profile UK distribution companies are willing to offer
free transport into warehousing over very long distances.  The whole
object of the exercise appears to be designed to wipe out the smaller
independent local haulage companies offering services to smaller
scale manufacturing industry.  It is often the case that the
multinational’s compel smaller suppliers to use the large
distribution companies and their warehousing, despite the fact that
smaller haulage operators offer cheaper rates.  It was often the case
that new EU regulations forced small manufacturers still operating
their own transport dispose of their in house “ cost price “
transport, drivers and maintenance staff, and then use a specific
large distribution company at higher rates.  In many cases, the
enforced use of more expensive transport may have led to the demise
of smaller manufacturing companies, but perhaps the best example of
transport costs destroying jobs was the introduction of the 8 hour
driving day and tachographs, and its effect on manufacturing in
Central Scotland during the early 1980s.  Increasing road fuel duty
may be a useful “ economic drug “ for redistribution of wealth,
but it has the dangerous side effect of allowing the large
distribution companies to increase their monopoly on transport.

The Banks gained control of road transport after the 1968 Transport Act,
and as most haulage companies need to borrow money to cover the
monthly fuel bill, they are probably the main beneficiaries of
excessive road fuel duty on derv.  Of course if the Banks already own
the distribution company, they can lend the money to themselves and
avoid Tax, and the bank’s manufacturing and retail customers must
also increase their borrowing to cover the increased transport costs.
  Bus operators can also use increased fuel costs to justify
increased fares, but if you do not have a reasonable bus service in
your area, and are forced to use a car to travel to work, fuel duty
can be used for economic cleansing, which probably amounts to the
Corporate Ethnic Cleansing of certain areas, with big profits for the
property developers. Of course it wont work if most of the lower
income residents live close to their work-place, but if the factory
closes on environmental grounds, or the roads are so bad that nobody
wants the hassle of transport and puts the haulage rate up, the banks
can close the factory and the workers loose their houses, which the
banks then re-posses and sell for a huge profit.  Examples of this
may already include West Lancs, Sunderland, Todmorden and the
Scottish borders, which would make ideal areas in which to live a
“green “ life-stile, working by computer from home, spend time in
the hills or have a boat moored at the marina on the canal or
sea-side. High road fuel duty is probably a “ Welfare State “ for
the Banks and other corporate multinationals, who would probably
prefer to close all manufacturing industry in the UK and profit by
simply changing money on corporate imports.

Forcing up transport costs with the intention of creating jobs in the
transport industry often results in the closure of the manufacturing
base all transport jobs rely on.  New regulations may provide a short
term boom for the vehicle manufacturers, and increase profits for
component suppliers, but over the longer term, it may cause industry
to implode due to competition from world markets using cheaper
transport.  Safety is often used an the excuse to introduce
unreliable electronics such as ABS brakes, but there have been no
Grand Prix fatalities since ABS and Traction Control were banned from
Formula 1 racing after the death of Airton Senna, which may infer
that an electronics fault caused the accident.  Perhaps its the case
that the multinationals are now designing the accidents into the
vehicles, assisted by The Highways Agency and their private road
design consultants, filling major roads with small roundabouts to
overheat brakes and waste fuel, force you to make a long detour, and
concentrate traffic into bottlenecks and wasting even more fuel.  It
may be reasonable to believe that Traffic Calming is not a road
safety measure at all, but simply a part of a corporate plan to
introduce Toll Roads, ( to privatise ) and put the relative basic
human rights of the majority of the population back into the 18th

Britain has been ripped-off for transport ever since the Tories came into
power in 1979, yet the British motor industry has been decimated,
especially the truck and bus manufacturers.  Most of the smaller
haulage companies bought British because their skilled workforce
could keep them maintained and safe through hard times, without
buying expensive imported new components.  The larger companies
allways preferred the “ easier ”  ( for unskilled men ) to drive
imported vehicles, and most of the alleged safety regulations
introduced over the past 15 years were designed to make trucks easy
to drive omedy ‘ The Lady-killers ‘, and perhaps its OK to steal
£60,000 by armed robbery, because its only a farthing on everyone’s
insurance policy.  It is probable that trucks and buses built in the
1970s are safer at over 25 years old than those constructed since
1990, and perhaps seat-belts are essential in new buses because the
ABS brakes are potentially unreliable.  You may be under the
impression that I am over safety conscious, but I am willing to risk
Lung Cancer by smoking, which I could avoid, but I prefer to avoid
vehicles with potentially unreliable electronics in safety critical
components.  One tends to become very sceptical about alleged safety
measures when you have actually passed people lying dead at the side
of the road simply because the seat belt has pulled their head into
the door pillar and sliced it wide open on the steel, which is only
0.75 mm thick, and instantly turns into a very sharp set of knives in
an accident.  Asbestos has been used as the convenient excuse to
scrap railway rolling stock, but any move to a ban on white asbestos
in older industrial premises may be used as an excuse to close
factories employing people with no health problems due to existing
asbestos sheeting on the roofs or sides.

It appears that FoE have got a Carbon tax onto the agenda, which could
benefit the UK coal industry, as most of the volatile gases are lost
from imported coal, leaving a higher proportion of carbon.  However,
the multinationals may use the Carbon Tax to justify the closure of
even more currently viable sectors of manufacturing, and the stock
markets can manufacture yet even more world poverty and depravation
by changing money on imports and keeping everyone in massive debt.
The latest scientific evidence suggests that mans influence on Global
Warming is a mere finger-print, and cutting CO2 emissions will make
no difference to climate change, which is probably due to other
factors such as Sun Spots, the relative position of the Earth’s
axis, and its relative orbit around the Sun.

It appears that the green lobby and the corporate multinationals are
using global warming as a convenient excuse to restrict the freedom of
movement for the majority of the lower income population by Financial
Apartheid.  Any statutory “ right to roam “ is pointless if high
transport costs prevent most families from getting out of the towns
into the countryside in the first place, and any future growth in the
tourism industry also relies on a large number of families being able
to visit existing tourist attractions.  One possibility for expanding
tourism in the north west would be a Blackpool-Morecambe rail
service, linking in with Leeds-Settle-Carlisle trains at Hellifield,
perhaps using preserved steam traction during the summer season.
There is a possible site for a station platform on the DOWN line in
the cutting at the side of my house close the centre of Chatburn, and
the current Clitheroe-Manchester train could be extended from
Clitheroe by means of a wrong line running order, and facing point
locks at Horrocksford Junction where the train currently changes
lines.  However, such a potentially cheap extension of this service
using the time the trains stand at Clitheroe would destroy
Stagecoach’s current monopoly on hourly transport to Clitheroe, and
perhaps force them to offer Chatburn a direct bus service to
Blackburn, Accrington or Burnley.  If a Blackpool-Morecambe service
was introduced in future, there is plenty of room for a platform and
station building on the UP line at the other side of the Ribblesdale
View road bridge, and perhaps the original engineers of the extension
line planned for a small station at this point, but in 1880, Chatburn
was too small and the company too skint to justify a new station

There is also a potential site for a rail station at Billington, just at
the south end of Whalley Arches, which is also on the main bus route
for passengers through the village Barrow, with possible bus
connections for Read and Sabden, and space for a car park if all the
adjacent land is not developed for housing as currently planned by
RVBC.  There is also a good site for a future rail-freight using the
site of the former Horrocksford coating plant at Bold Venture, but
unless Railtrack is compelled to substantially improve the track on
the Blackburn-Hellifield-Carlisle line, a freight service is totally
impractical for any operator.  It may be the case that vested
interests would prefer to close the Blackburn-Carlisle rail link
altogether, and turn the Ribble Valley into an exclusive secluded
area for the extremely wealthy, catering for wealthy tourist from
other exclusive areas.  At present, a car is essential if you live in
the Ribble Valley area, and early morning and late night bus services
are almost non existent, or take a very circuitous route, and all
cost more than road fuel at £5 a gallon for an individual.   Local
transport policy appears to be driven by the interests of the larger
bus operators, who may be using the excellent but now 60p pensioners
bus-passes to falsely inflate fares for other bus users, and replace
existing larger buses with mini-buses which have very little scope
for further increases in passenger numbers.

Perhaps the only way to smash the current virtual public transport cartel is
to regulate bus services by the provision of a licence system for bus
services within a regional area.  The regional area would simply
tender to operate certain routes, and then local authorities would
collect all the fares directly using a single universal ticketing
system, with a minimum fare rate based on time for occasional trips,
and weekly concessions for regular travellers based on zones.  A move
over to magnetic strip tickets available from local shops could ease
the pressure on drivers, and substantially cut journey times, plus if
local authorities handled all the ticketing, they could provide bus
conductors for the busier urban sections of bus routes.  Bus
operators would simply provide the vehicles to operate the services,
and could be supplied with tickets by the local authority as part
payment for the services they provided.  As the bus and rail
companies would know their annual revenue, new operators could enter
the market without fear of unfair competition, and new operators
could include local authorities themselves, and BR, as it may almost
always the case that in a true free market system, if someone can
make a large profit from hired transport, the hirer can often do it
cheaper and more efficiently themselves.  Perhaps if local
authorities such as Hyndburn had not wrecked their older buses with
traffic calming, they would have been able to continue to operate the
one excellent bus services radiating from Accrington, as maintenance
costs may have been much lower.  Brake lining life was always a major
expense for Hyndburn transport before traffic calming, but
afterwards, it may have been financially impossible to keep pace with
maintenance of both brakes and body-work, thus making it impossible
to compete with operators with a large number of services using non
traffic calmed roads.

I expect that the large bus operators and train operating companies
would probably squeal like stuck pigs if John Prescot was ever to
suggest such a radical scheme as regional licensing and centralised
ticketing, but it could provide a better use for electronic
technology than providing expensive and unreliable real-time
passenger information for almost non-existent services in villages
such as Billington.  Pensioner and disabled bus-passes would be
easier and probably cheaper to administrate through central
ticketing, and prevent the current operators from using a few
pensioners to inflate fares, safe in the knowledge that the
pensioners would cover their costs, even if they lost younger
passengers.   For most people on lower incomes, lack of affordable
transport simply restricts freedom of movement to essential journeys
only, which in most cases is travel to work, but then lack of ‘
shift work friendly ‘ public transport makes a car essential.  The
fixed costs of motoring for younger drivers are now so inflated by
insurance premiums that it is probably financially foolish to use
public transport, even on journeys where public transport would be
quicker and easier, so perhaps cheap Third Party insurance would
encourage people to use public transport.  Back in Sidney in 1987,
car tax and insurance on cars was about a third of the average
British rate, and petrol was about half price, but all the local (
staffed ) station car parks were full, as were the rush hour trains,
and perhaps there are some useful lessons to be learnt from history.

policy appear to have been driven by the need to adopt the most
expensive and inconvenient solutions to any problem, and perhaps most
Labour politicians have had there minds warped by continual
brainwashing by corporate lobbyists, or corporate funded university
experts over the past 20 years, especially if  individual experts
gain favor for agreeing with Tory policy.  I believe that Tarmac plc
was a major donor to the Tory party, and as traffic calming wrecks
the road surface in less than half the time, and perhaps traffic
calming was an example of policy for donations, just like selling
Aspirins in small packs and increasing profits for Boots the Chemist.
 Labour must break free from the “ seven eight’s are fifty four “
economics inherited from the Tories, and start obtaining value for
taxpayers money instead of creating inflation.  Here in the Ribble
Valley, most council taxpayers fork out up to £20 a week just to get
their dustbin emptied, as the roads don’t get maintained, or when
they do, they are in worse condition than before, and are filled with
expensive obstructions like Keep Left bollards which get demolished
and waste even more money.  Perhaps local authorities could afford to
provide better services if the utilities who dig up the roads were
forced to resurface the entire stretch of road plus footpaths, and be
liable for any compensation claims until they got around to doing it.
 Perhaps if the roads were maintained better, a visit to Preston
would not take myself and other chronic back pain sufferers two days
to recover from the ordeal, and a trip to Blackpool would a
worthwhile experience once again.

Most people now appear to be under the impression that politicians are in
politics simply for their own personal gain, or are simply the
puppets of big business, basically leaving them with the choice of
three evils.  Perhaps this growing hatred of politicians is due to
bad advice from council officers and focus groups with a “ green “
pedigree, leading to unfair indirect taxes which often penalise those
on the edge of poverty.  Most green policies appear to be driven by
the need to promote false economic growth, like Catalytic Converters,
which must create more pollution in their manufacture than they can
ever hope to save, and if Pinochio’s nose had been cut for timber,
perhaps there would have been no need to destroy the tropical
rain-forests.  There are plenty of worthwhile jobs out there waiting
to be created, but unless they cost billions in imports to set up,
nobody seems to be interested, and perhaps local authorities should
have a clear out of officers unwilling to look at problems from a
more cost effective local job friendly angle.  Perhaps the prospect
of becoming directors of  privatised council services, and then
instant millionaires, is preventing progress towards job creation and
value for money, but if the politicians could kill any further move
towards privatisation of services, things may begin to improve for
the better.


Originally LCC officers were intending to ban service buses from using the aforementioned bridge but Chatburn Parish Council accepted a buses exempt compromise to which I retorted that it was the equivalent of Neville Chaimberlain's Munich Agreement !

The villagers inconveniently found out that my argument rang true when the bridge was replaced taking well over a month due to Network Rail's insistence that the line be kept open 24/7 if needed for emergency diversions from the WCML, little wonder residents and business close by are complaining about the Great Western Electrification.   I woke up just in time this morning to watch the full Westminster Hall debate on it earlier this week, it seems that the whole project has been called off.

It would appear that Network Rail have conspired with Dick Turpin & Co Contractors to lower the track bed in BOX Tunnel, perhaps the highest tunnel ( and famous for being ) in the land, I believe contemporary tunnels like the one on the  WCML at Watford Gap took 25Kv wires no problem.

Perhaps a cheaper electrification option would be to use the Dick Kerr 1914 1200V DC Side Contact Third Rail system as originally used on what now forms the Metrolink Tram from Manchester Victoria to Bury, which was probably only scrapped because the essential protective wood insulation had rotted away.  An Electro- Diesel / Mechanical variation of the Fell Locomotive could save the track, and provide a reduced speed service during a power cut or after the plough's had cleared the line from the likely regular heavy winter snow we will experience during the forthcoming Little Ice Age !?!


Gordon Pye Nov 28, 2016 · #5

Whilst out there during the Gulf War in 1991 in between trips staying with Bill & Ella I was informed that the Maoris could have kicked the British out in the 1870s when they ran out of ammunition, but as they were such good sports they held a ceasefire so that the British could get some more !

Bill came to England to serve with the RAF during WW2, he never mentioned it to me personally but I was informed that he won a Medal for inventing something revolutionary and crucial to the war effort to do with Radar, after the war he returned to NZ and set up a humble small town TV sales & repair shop. Bill did tell me that he didn't like England that much because when you went out shopping you got pissed wet through. unlike NZ where all the shops had ample verandas, so much for the stupidity of Pedestrianised Zones in UK Town Centers !

Gordon Pye Nov 28, 2016 · #4

Solar Flares Rising, Sun/Climate, Extreme Weather | S0 News

Gordon Pye Nov 28, 2016 · #3

The UK Labour Party must be in political dire straights when their once Soap Star Actress candidate in the Batley & Spen by-election could only manager to get 85% of a 25% turn-out ( perhaps mostly comprising potentially fraudulent Postal Votes ) with no serious opposition whatsoever !

During the election campaign the BBC showed the mural on Batley Station commemorating the town's history and industry, plus the alleged memorial to Joe Cox, comprising of what was apparently an unsold brand new charity fundraising T shirt on a wire coat-hanger hung from the spiked railings on the station wall !

Gordon Pye Nov 27, 2016 · #2

Eruption Watch, Quake Magnetism, Weather | S0 News Nov.27.2016

Gordon Pye Nov 26, 2016 · #1

One dark night in World War Two, Constable Bacon the Chatburn Village Bobby arrived on the scene just as my Grandad Hudson and Uncle Herbert had finished killing a pig at the Sawley Road Allotments and inquired " Have you got a licence for that Pig ?