Rolling blog. Awayday…

09:45.

I’ve escaped the Calder Valley today as it’s time for one of my regular perambulations to Milnesbridge in the nearby Colne valley. The weather forecast suggested today was going to be a wet one but the day dawned with a mixture of sunshine and cloud so I’m taking the risk and heading out early in order to explore on the way.

The first leg, strolling downhill to Sowerby Bridge was rather pleasant as the slight breeze stopped me overheating as I’m carrying the (slightly slimmed-down) camera bag today.

Whilst I was waiting for the train I had time to read some of the local history boards that line the platforms thanks to the efforts of the station friends and funding from Community Rail Network. This one in particular caught my eye. It’s the story of a local man who invented a product many of us are familiar with that was (and is) sold around the world. Meet Frederick Walton…

I love these history boards as they’re informative, educational and add to people’s understanding of an area.

Right now I’m on a 3-car Class 158, the 09:24 from Sowerby Bridge which is heading for Leeds via Brighouse. It’s a relatively quiet train that’s slowly filling up on the way.

10:25.

As usual, I swapped trains at Dewsbury to retrace some of my steps to Huddersfield. Whilst I was there I remembered the station commemorates two local men who were important in the modern digital revolution and computer age.

Right now I’m sipping a coffee having scoffed a bacon roll from the excellent station cafe. This will fortify me for my next leg. As I’ve so much time in the bank I’m going to eschew my normal route (walking along the canal from Slaithwaite to Milnsbride) and walk directly from Huddersfield, shadowing the railway to visit a couple of photographic locations en-route.

12:05.

I’m now high above Milnesbridge having walked from Huddersfield through a district called Paddock. I’ve not been that way since the pandemic and it’s rather depressing. So many shops and pubs closed their doors for the final time – although they didn’t know it at the time. The deadly combination of Covid and Brexit has proved fatal to so many businesses.

Right now I’m at a local landmark which offers stunning views.

12:45.

That last picture was taken atop the Longwood Tower. I’ve now descended, passed under the viaduct you see in the picture and climbed above it on the other side. Now it’s time for a break, rest and go off the grid for a while. Catch you later…

15:30.

My final visit to Milnesbridge (for now) over and done with I caught the bus back into Huddersfield before transferring to the train for a trip to Leeds. My Hull bound TPE service was the quietest I’ve been on for a while but then it was a 6-car! The earlier train I caught from Dewsbury was absolutely rammed Wwith people and suitcases, many of whom appeared to be heading for the train’s final destination – Manchester Airport.

15:50.

My trip to Leeds was interesting as some Network Rail compounds have sprung up as part of the forthcoming TRU (Transpennine Route Upgrade) including a large one at Batley which I need to visit. Leeds station was in the interregnum between rush-hours yet still contained plenty of people. I only hung around long enough to catch the first train out to the Aire valley and Bingley that I could. I’ve decided to pop in and join a group that (despite regular invitations) I’ve only managed to catch up with once before. ‘Wind Up North’ is a weekly meeting of present and former rail staff (and friends) that moves between different pubs in different towns. Today the rendezvous is the new pub/restaurant in the old stationmaster’s house at Bingley.

16:52.

Here we are…

The station building is just out of shot to the right and the railway in a cutting behind.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

27th June picture of the day…

Tags

, , , ,

Today’s been another mixed bag here at Bigland Towers and one enlivened by having a four-legged friend for company again – even if this canine companion was only on loan for 24 hours!

Dawn was up bright and early as she decided it was her turn to take ‘Bernie’ out for a walk. The pair of them padded off long before breakfast and ahead of the rain clouds that threatened to put a damper on the day.

Absolved of such duties I stayed at home and brewed to coffee, ready for their return. I’d various work jobs on my ‘to do’ list as well as household chores so the day’s pretty much flown by. We bid goodbye to ‘Bernie’ this afternoon as her owner came to collect her. Shame – I could have got used to taking her for a walk via our local pub but that would only have got me into trouble! Still, I managed to get out for a stroll (sans dog, and pub) when the weather brightened up as I had some shopping to do in Sowerby Bridge as well as drop the latest old slide sales into the post.

The brightening evening weather gave me chance to sit and relax in the sunshine on our terrace and top up my Vitamin D before returning to the office in order to relaunch my slide scanning project. I never did manage to finish this during Covid and the reopening of the world’s meant that the final few 1000 pictures have had to take a backseat to other (paying) jobs. Now it’s a question of fitting in scanning around other things, but I wanted to get a load prepped ready to be able to fill in an hour or so if the weather turns.

Another things I’ve relaunched now that my monthly eBay quota is about to renew is selling off original rail slides that are duplicates of ones I’ve already scanned. Expect many hundreds to appear in July, but in the meantime here’s 130 to choose from.

OK, it’s getting late so onto today’s picture, which is one of the latest batch of old slides I’m scanning. This was taken in Chennai, Tamil Nadu India in February 1998. Lynn and I had taken the bus into Channai (Madras as was) for a day, swapping the beach at lovely Mahabalipuram for the frenetic pace of the city. Whilst we were waiting for the bust to depart on the return this group of street-children clambered aboard to hustle. Kids being kids, it wasn’t long before they broke off to play games!

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

26th June picture of the day…

Tags

, , ,

It’s been a ‘dolly mixture’ sort of day today due to a combination of factors. As it’s officially the day of rest both of us decided our day wouldn’t be starting at first light and enjoyed the fact we had no commitments until the afternoon – so we relaxed until late morning with coffee and various aspects of the world-wide web to catch up on all manner of things.

The indifferent weather was another good reason for not rushing. Whilst the mercury is certainly teasing the upper end of thermometers clouds were doing their best to make the day unpredictable. My relief was that the cementing of some stone steps I completed yesterday could be uncovered and left to cure as no rain was on its way. The simple pleasures in life, eh?

This afternoon we popped around to help a friend who’s got the mammoth task of clearing out another dearly departed friend’s house. It took us a couple of hours just to examine the stuff they’d hoarded. It’s sad in so many ways. You spend a lot of your life amassing collections of all sorts of stuff and then, when you die, it’s up to others to decide what to do with it. I’m glad that I’ve shaken off the collecting bug and now my life’s about downsizing rather than cluttering. As they say – you can’t take it with you – either when you’re travelling, or to the afterlife…

Afterwards we headed over to other friends as tonight we’re dog-sitting. It’s something we’d never have been able to do whilst we had our revered and ancient moggie (Jet) as he couldn’t tolerate other cats. A dog? There would have been hell to pay! But now we can, and ‘Bernie’, our friends cockapoo is getting used to our home for the night. She’s a lovely dog who seems quite relaxed about being with us for the for awhile. I took her out for a walk earlier which she loved as there’s so many unusual smells around here due to the combination of woodland and wildlife that surround us. I even took her to our local (dog friendly) pub which raised a few eyebrows as people aren’t used to me having a canine in tow. She was an instant hit!

Now we’re back at home, winding down ready for another busy week. So, for today’s picture, allow me to introduce you to ‘Bernie’…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

HS2 ‘rebellion’. Dumb and dumber…

Tags

, , , ,

I had to laugh when I came across the latest missive on the HS2 ‘rebellion’ website! It’s a masterpiece of bluster and not understanding messaging. Allegedly, after 47 days, the protesters who’d hidden themselves away in tunnels no-one cared about have given up. Of course, they try and spin this as a ‘victory’ and add various lies, bombast and empty rhetoric to cover their tracks, but they’re so full of themselves they forget what the salient message is. Here’s the text of their failure.

Let’s cut through the crap and get straight to the points shall we? They’ve given up after 47 days, having achieved what, exactly? The answer is – nothing. This was never more than a publicity stunt. Their problem was – it didn’t attract any real publicity! The camp above the tunnel was swept away within 24 hours leaving the tunnellers isolated. The satellite camp didn’t last much longer, which meant the troglodytes in the tunnel couldn’t get any messages out, so no-one was interested. The days passed by and it became obvious the HS2 security teams and bailiffs weren’t going to risk anyone’s lives digging them out. Why should they? There was no rush to get them out. Why? Another serial failure (Mark Keir) gave it away in his puffery above. “Hs2 do not even plan to use this woodland until 2024”. So what was the point of this stupidity? These muppets were going to stay underground for the next 2 years? These were crude tunnels, not the bloody Maginot line!

This futile protest always had a sell-by date, but the tunnellers (in their isolation) had no idea that date expired almost as soon as they headed underground with no communication with the outside world.

As for their ‘great escape’, this will be a pyrrhic victory. They’re willfully in contempt of court – and the courts don’t take such persistent flouting of their authority lightly. There will be arrest warrants outstanding here and it’s only a matter of time before the law catches up with these hapless and hopeless people. They may have flattered their egos by claiming a pointless record in a pointless protest, but that’s potentially going to come at a very high price – and all for nothing….

Where does this leave the anti HS2 protests? Up sh*t creek without a paddle. They’ve no camps left and no way to try and attract media attention (their primary aim) and also no way of trying to mug people for money through crowdfunders. It’s clear that the further North they moved the less support they had – especially amongst friendly landowners. The anti HS2 heartlands were always on HS2 phase 1 and much closer to London where they could draw on a pool of young Extinction Rebellion supporters. Informed sources tell me that the rump of the protesters are likely to retreat South in the hope of finding succor. The obvious flaw in this ‘plan’ is that HS2 phase 1 construction is well underway so pretending you can stop it is a fool’s errand. Add in the fact that most of the original protesters have given up and either buggered off or signed affidavits to say they’ll stay away and it’s obvious where this is going to end.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

24th June picture of the day….

Tags

, , , , ,

I have to admit, the day’s started well. I woke up to the news that the Tories had been roundly thrashed in both of yesterday’s bye-elections. The result in Wakefield was expected, but the Lib-Dems trouncing Tries in one of their safest seats wasn’t. As expected, it’s set a few cats amongst pigeons. Admittedly, I doubt it will lead to Johnson’s resignation. After all, he’s a man with neither scruples nor honour. He’ll hand on to No10 by his fingernails until he’s dragged from there kicking and screaming. He’ll have to be ejected by his own party or the electorate. I must admit I find the idea that his own constituents might finish his political career rather appealing if it wasn’t for the damage the man and the incompetent pets he keeps as a Cabinet could do in the meantime. I doubt Johnson will stay in politics after he’s ejected (one way or another). His only interest in politics was to massage his ego and get the top job. He’ll never stay on as a backbencher. Why would he? He’ll be off, being looked after one of the people he’s enriched who’ll give him a well-paid sinecure somewhere (preferably where he can’t do any more damage).

Apart from that been a busy morning/afternoon here in Bigland Towers. I’ve been kept occupied editing all the pictures I’ve been taking these past few days and getting them on my other website. You can find the results here. That done, it was time to finish type-swiping my latest article for RAIL magazine in order to be able to take some time off this afternoon as the pair of us are joining up with friends to go to the Piece Hall in Halifax this evening see too Nile Rogers and Chic in concert.

There’s only one tiny problem…

It’s an open-air gig and we’ve already had one absolutely torrential downpour with the weather forecast predicting thunderstorms to follow ! Now the sun’s out, making for a very muggy day with the temperature at 19 degrees. This could be interesting.

This means this is going to be a two-part blog, with the actual picture of the day added later. When I decide what it’s going to be…

OK. Here’s the picture of the day. The Nial Rodgers concert at the Piece Hall was an absolute stonker. It’s easy to forget just how many great tunes the man has written for other artists. Tonight he reminded us.

Rolling blog. Rail strike – the aftermath….

Tags

, , , , ,

08:15.

I had a lovely evening yesterday as I was invited along to supper along with my old friend to meet some of the people whom he’d been to school with in Ireland. This impromptu alfresco meal was unexpected by very enjoyable and took me back to the days when Lynn and I would host such events in the garden of our home in Crouch End.

A late night wasn’t much of a problem as there was no need to be up at silly o’ clock because of the aftermath of the rail strikes. The tube didn’t start running until 08:00 and trains until after 07:30. The best way for me to start my trek to ‘Rail Live’ was to catch the 07:49 to Reading, avoiding central London entirely. Seeing Clapham Junction so quiet at 07:00 during the week was really strange. There would have been more services running during the pandemic! Still, I’m now on my way West, looking forward to todays events on what promises to be a scorcher weather-wise…

08:45.

The further West I head the more the railway wakes up. We’ve just left Bracknell where the station’s teeming with passengers heading for London. In contrast, my train, which was packed when it left Clapham, gets emptier and emptier! But then when this pair of 5-car Class 458s turn around at Reading it’ll be scooping up folk heading for the capital. I wonder how busy Reading station will be?

10:00.

My visit to Reading station was brief but I’m always impressed by the scale of the transformation. It’s unrecognisable as the place I first got to know in the 1970s. It’s grown in both stature and services and the facilities are a vast improvement on what they used to be. It shows what can be achieved with the right levels of investment.

Now I’m on one of GWRs Class 800s. Having sped across Brunel’s ‘billiard table’ along the Thames valley and called at Oxford we’re heading into the Cotswolds and my next stop – Honeybourne…

17:45.

Apologies for the gap in the blog but it’s been a very busy and a very sociable day. As soon as I stepped off the train at Honeybourne I started bumping into people I knew. This continued after getting off the shuttle train and entering the ‘Rail Live’ site. Often I couldn’t get more than 100 metres before meeting someone I knew – which was lovely after all that time in lockdown. Oh, add in the fact the on-site phone signal wasn’t the best and that were so many stands to visit, things to photograph and folk to chat to I gave up.

I’ll post some pictures later as right now I’m making my way back North, which is proving to be ‘intersting’. I left ‘Rail Live in plenty of time as I’d no idea how train services might pan out in practice. GWR from Honeybourne to Worcestershire Parkway was fine and on time. However, my connection was an Arriva Cross Country service from Cardiff to Nottingham as far as Birminham where I’d have 15 mins to Interchange. Great in theory until you see your trains left Cardiff I mins late and it’s dropping not gaining time.

It arrived 10 down which wasn’t too stressful as my interchange was cross-platform. Well, in the timetable anyway. But right now we’re wheezing our way in fits and starts up the Lickey incline.

1750.

We passed Barnt Green at the top of the Lickey 17 mins late, so it looks like I’ll be waving goodbye to my connection. I wouldn’t normally be too bothered if it wasn’t for the fact tomorrow’s a strike day…

19:45.

Ever been happy that a trains late? I was. Not because my internal service was as it knackered any hope of a cross-platform Interchange. But the fact my following train was 5 down allowed me to make my connection despite an escalator scramble! I’m currently sat on a Cross-Country service heading for Edinburgh, which means I can get home to Yorkshire at least! The journey’s been lovely, despite the train being busy. I managed to blag a table seat after Derby which has given me a panoramic view of a gorgeous evening.

23:00.

OK, I’m home and it’s time to end today’s blog. I’ve a busy few days ahead of me and lots of pictures to edit. I’ll leave you with a taster from ‘Rail Live’. Here’s a selection of the new CAF built ‘civity’ trains for the West Midlands in store before before they enter service sometime in 2022.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. Rail strikes – day 1…

Tags

,

09.20

I’m at Huddersfield en-route to London on the first day of the biggest rail strike the country has seen for 30 years. This normally busy station’s pretty deserted. There’s two Trans-Pennine express trains an hour running. One to Manchester and one to York. The 09:07 all stations Eastbound service had lots of people waiting for at although when the 6 car train arrived it was pretty empty.

Meanwhile, outside, the RMT union’s maintaining a large presence on its picket line.

Members of the RMT backed by other trade unionists including members of UNITE.

10:05.

Whilst Eastbound services were busy, far fewer were using trains in the Manchester direction. I’m currently in the front car of the 09:32 Huddersfield- Manchester Piccadilly. It’s clear most folk have heeded the stay away message.

10:55.

Manchester Piccadilly was a quiet as you’d expect with so few services running. The only new faces were a couple of camera crews who were filming reports on the strike. Arrive Cross-Country services were still running, along with Avanti West Coast. I’m currently aboard their 10:45 departure to London Euston with the first stop being Crewe. There’s plenty of room.

Pick a seat…

I’m in coach U along with four other people. The reduced service isn’t just the number of trains. The Train Manager’s announced there’s no food service in 1st Class and the shop is closed too – good job I decided to pack some sandwiches! I’ll have a walk-through later to see how full the train gets but right now it’s time to set up the mobile office and get some writing done.

11:15.

We’ve crawled our way to Crewe at reduced speed (for whatever reason) where I counted a grand total of eight people waiting for this 11 car Pendolino. Just before we arrived a member of Avanti staff cam through the train dishing out free bottles of water, which was a nice gesture. From what I can see, Crewe station’s deserted – apart from the bay platforms which are full of trains going nowhere.

11:30.

We’re well South of Crewe now and hitting line-speed as the Pendolino gets into its stride. I have to admit, it’s been a trouble-free journey so far. The rail staff who are on duty (and there’s lots of them) are unfailingly cheerful and helpful. The pickets I met at Huddersfield were hardly the frothing mouthed ‘Marxists’ trying to bring down the Government as some sections of the media seem to be trying to make out. They were ordinary rail workers concerned about their pay and conditions during a period when we have a Government that that has neither a plan nor a clue what to do about anything other than keep Johnson in power.

12:55.

Despite stopping at Stafford and Milton Keynes we only picked up a few dozen more people. There’s four young lads in my coach who got on at Stafford, but those are the only extra punters in my car. It feels strange to pass so few trains on the West Coast Main Line but now we’re South of Watford at least we have the London Overground (which is running a near normal service) for company.

13:20.

We arrived into Euston 20 minutes early which was hardly surprising considering the amount of slack in the emergency timetable. I held back to count my fellow passengers as they disembarked. 6 from 1st Class and approximately 80 from Standard. From a train that can hold what? 550?

Euston station wasn’t as quiet as I imagined it might be. TV crews were on station on the mezzanine floor but spart from that everything seemed normal, just subdued.

Once you wander outside you realise another reason the place is so quiet. The London Underground’s also on strike, so many people couldn’t get to/from Euston even if they wanted to!

16:00.

After walking along to St Pancras and Kings Cross to bag a few more pictures – including some colourful RMT flagbearers outside St Pancras – I decided to walk across central London to Waterloo and explore some old haunts on the way. After all, it’s perfect weather for exploring and the city’s quiet. This city was my home for nearly 25 years and I have to admit I miss it – especially on days like this.

18:25.

And relax! I’m now relaxing in Clapham after an interesting day. The journey from Waterloo was painless as the 8-car train I caught had lots of seats available. In fact, the concourse at Waterloo reminded me of how it looked during the pandemic.

My travels are over for today but tomorrow I leave London to head to ‘Rail Live’ and onwards back to Yorkshire. Let’s see how quickly the railways bounce back from the strike…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

The HS2 Phase 2B Hybrid Bill (Crewe – Manchester) passes 2nd reading.

Tags

, , ,

It’s late. The debate has gone on for many hours and there’s been some interesting interventions (and some batshit ones too) but finally, the votes were cast at 21:40 tonight. The Phase 2B Hybrid bill has passed 2nd reading by…205 votes to 6! (link).

I’ll write about this in more detail later (when Hansard publishes the transcripts) but it was a many faceted debate. It was clear from the off that the opponents of HS2 (well, the few that are left) had nothing new to say and the MP for Tatton, Esther McVacant set the bar low with her speech which could be best described as ‘batshit’. The Tory MP for Buckingham, Greg Smith, wasn’t much better. He’s a Brexiter and climate changer denier who’s keeping a seat warm on the Transport Select Committee – which is a complete waste of time as it’s clear that despite all the expert witnesses he’s listened to – he’s never learned a thing. Add in Bill Cash MP and Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley and you could see why the anti HS2 camp were in trouble. If these were their ‘big guns’ then it was obvious they were firing blanks!

Worse was to follow when it became clear that some of the MPs who were celebrating the dropping of the Golborne link were actually still in favour of HS2! I suspect the schizophrenia of their position will come back to haunt them as the Govt made it clear they’re still committed to improving rail links to Scotland (and there’s not many routes that line can take).

What was clear was that HS2 still maintains massive cross-party support. Of course there was the usual party-political point-scoring but even so, there was a lot of unanimity – especially amongst Manchester MPs who’re not going to stop agitating for an underground station in the city. It was the same with North Wales corridor MPs, one of whom made a very good speech about maximising the benefits of HS2 by electrifying the North Wales Coast line.

All in all it was an interesting debate as it was clear the opponents of HS2 were maginalised and they knew it.

Here’s the list of those whom voted against HS2. Can you guess what else it is that links many of them together? I’ll reveal it in my expanded blog.

As I’ve been saying for sometime now – stop HS2 is dead…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

More HS2 progress in Parliament.

Tags

, , ,

Tomorrow (Monday) The High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Hybrid Bill is scheduled for its 2nd reading. This is the most important step in the bill’s progress through Parliament as its at this stage the principle of the bill is established. This means that it’s unstoppable, any further votes are on details and amendments to the bill, not on stop/go. No-one’s killing this bill.

There will be a few interesting things to watch out for. One is how many MPs will vote against it. There’s not a cat in hell’s chance of the bill being voted down as it has cross-party support, but I’m sure there’ll be a few MPs making symbolic gestures – either out of right-wing political dogma (the Venn diagram of MPs who’re rabid Brexiters and also oppose HS2 is a perfect circle) – or to play to the anti HS2 gallery in their constituencies. It’s all posturing of course, but that’s politics for you.

Another thing to watch out for is which MPs will be chosen to sit on the Hybrid Bill petitioning Committee. They can’t be MPs who have constituencies on the route itself, but exactly who they are can give an indication of how smoothly the bill may progress. The phase 1 Ctte was fortunate to have some talented MPs appointed to it. Hopefully the same will happen this time.

The numbers of people who petition the Ctte is another guide to its progress. The phase 1 bill was inundated with petitions (over 1500) as opponents of HS2 though they could kill the bill by dragging out its progress. They failed. Many of the petitions were carbon-copies of each other so they were simply lumped together. The phase 2a bill received less than 200 – a sign of how the opposition to HS2 had collapsed. Now that the anti HS2 campaign’s folded completely it’ll be interesting to see who does petition. You cannot petition unless you have ‘locus standii’, which means only individuals, groups of individuals, companies or organisations who are directly and specially affected by the bill have the ‘right to be heard’ by means of petition. The process is outlined in this document. This rules out any groups like HS2 ‘rebellion’ but as they’re in no fit state (organisationally or intellectually) to do so I’d be amazed if they even bother. It also rules out any of the Nimbys or groups from Phase 1 and 2a.

Sadly, the Golborne spur is to be dropped from the phase 2b Hybrid bill as a political sop. However it’s not dead by any means. Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review recommended that the government examine the case for moving the spur further North, joining the West Coast Main Line (WCML) South of Preston. Work is underway to establish such a route – which would still use some of the original proposal. Time will tell…

Whatever, the phase 2b bill will ensure that HS2 reaches Manchester. It also shows how the anti HS2 campaign has collapsed. There’s no protests being organised by anyone – not that there’s anyone left to do so! Those days are long gone!

With StopHs2 having thrown in the towel and the protest movement having lost most of its activists as many have simply disappeared or run away to join other hopeless causes meaning there’s no credible opposition left on the ground. What there is left is just two people underground! They’re in tunnels at the former ‘bluebell’ camp in Staffordshire. They’ve now been there for 41 days. 41 days of utter futility as their self imposed isolation isn’t stopping a thing! Nor is it attracting any media attention. Attention that was the only raison d’etre of HS2 ‘rebellion’ nowadays as it helped to keep mugs parting with their money via crowdfunding. Put simply, they can stay there as long as they like because they’re not in anyone’s way. they’ll run out of food long before the land is needed for HS2 construction!

Meanwhile, the High Court will be ruling on the route-wide injunction application any time now. If that’s granted (and there’s every likelihood it will be) it’s ‘goodnight Vienna’ for the protesters and their hopeless attempts to physically stop HS2. The High Court papers (which are updated regularly) can be found by following this link. The latest addition shows that 16 named protesters have signed undertakings to desist from trying to stop HS2. These include Daniel Hooper (aka ‘Swampy’) who was regarded as an asset because – although he never stopped a thing – he was a media attraction. These 16 were some of the backbone of the protest camps, which has seen the number of activists decimated.

No doubt I’ll be blogging about the phase 2B Hybrid bill on an occasional basis as it progresses on Parliament. I’ll do an update once it passes 2nd reading on Monday. I’ll also blog about the High Court injunction hearing when the Judge announces their decision. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a scene from outside Parliament on the 21st April 2014 when the HS2 Phase 1 bill passed 2nd reading with a stonking majority of 452 to 41! You won’t be seeing scenes like this tomorrow!

In 2014 there were still several umbrella groups organising against HS2. But, even then they vastly exaggerated their support, both politically and on the ground. This was their demonstration outside Parliament on the day the first HS2 Hybrid Bill passed 2nd reading. They couldn’t even muster 100 people.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. West Yorkshire yomp…

Tags

, , , ,

09:30.

After days away doing other things it’s time for my regular visit to Milnesbridge over in the Calder valley which involves my usual mixture of public transport and long walks. The weather’s glorious today so I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully there’ll be no train delays today so that I won’t have to keep up the daft pace that I did last time. Let’s see…

11:00.

Another fun day on the railway! After a pleasent downhill stroll all the way to Sowerby Bridge I had plenty of time to catch some sun before catching the 10:22 to Leeds which was taking me to Mirfield for my connection to Huddersfield. Then things started going Pete Tong. A quick check of Realtime Trains showed me that my connection was cancelled. As it’s an hourly service and Mirfield’s hardly the most exciting place to kick your heels in I syayed on the train as far as Dewsbury which has more trains. Sure enough, I was rescued by the fact a TPE to Liverpool was running 30 mins late! To add to the fun it was made of of a single 3-car Class 185 which was absolutely rammed!

11:35.

I’m now waiting for my onward connection at a very quiet Huddersfield station. There’s sudden burst of activity as trains arrive and depart but in-between it’s deserted. You could be forgiven for thinking the rail strikes have already begun!

3 TPE 185s at Huddersfield, including mine. A few minutes later the station was deserted, even the stabling sidings are empty.

Still, there’s worse places to kill time in than a grade 1 listed building! Plus, the sun is beating down and doing its best to chew through my suntan lotion whilst it tops up my vitamin D levels…

12:08.

Everything’s going to plan – time for an amble along the Huddersfield narrow canal from Slaithwaite to Milnsbridge…

12:15.

I hope no-one’s trying to go East from Slaithwaite?

12:55.

That wasn’t bad. It took me 50 mins without breaking into a sweat and gaving time to observe the life in the canal. Flotillas of Tadpoles and Squadrons of fish, both managing to avoid eath other and no-one becoming lunch. A pair of Herons preening in a field. Lovely! Now it’s time to go off-grid for a while…

17:00.

Ever had one of those days? After my appointment in Milnsbridge and because it was such a beautiful day I decided to retrace my steps along the canal but at a pace where I could take pictures. It was a lovely walk (pics later) and I arrived with plenty of time to catch my train back to Huddersfield – and my onward connection. Thanks to the Dept of Transport inspired timetable cuts Huddersfield – Halifax has been reduced to 2-hourly. To say this is a pain in the arse is an understatement but it did give me the excuse to visit the excellent Kings Head pub on the station so I could kill 50 mins whilst waiting for the 16:35.

The best pub on the station (yes, there’s two!). The Kings Head.

Then the curse of Pete Tong struck again. Just a few mins before the train was due to leave the Conductor announced it was cancelled due to a door fault. Bugger! Plan B? Get a local TPE service to Mirfield to connect with a Grand Central service from London. But wait – the GC is shown as running 35 late already, meaning I wouldn’t arrive in Halifax until 18:16 at the earliest.

So we’re now on plan C and my least favourite from an environmental perspective. Dawn’s driving over to collect me and we’ll go via the supermarket on the way home. This is what’s so frustrating about the Trasury inspired timetable cuts. They’re forcing people onto roads by making rail unusable! Despite the Government’s weasel words over climate change and net-zero – this is the reality. And all for what? How much money’s actually saved by slashing the service by half? Madness. Contrast this with what they’ve spent on dodgy PPE contracts to their mates, “track and trace”, or flights to Rwanda – but no Tory MPs election prospects have been harmed by these cuts…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!