It’s been a lazy Sunday here at Bigland Towers. The pair of us (well, the three of us really, as Jet our cat was in no rush to do anything either) had a slow morning drinking coffee, catching up on the news and watching the world go by. The only thing missing was having a Sunday newspaper spread out on the bed, but those days are long gone. I can’t think of the last time I bought one. Partly because there’s no local newsagent for miles, but also because the world’s moved online and I can pick and choose from loads of different news sources now. The difficulty is finding a reliable one! Talking of which, I was planning to dissect Simon Jenkin’s latest fact-free rant about HS2 in Saturday’s Guardian, but that can wait until another day. It’ll have exactly the same effect as all his other rants going back a decade. In other words, Zilch. Instead, I spent a couple of hours researching, reading through the minutes of last months Transport Select Committee meeting which heard from Birmingham’s Mayor, Andy Street and also HS2’s CEO, Mark Thurston. When you read their words verbatim it becomes obvious just how lazy the media reporting of their words was. I’ll be including excerpts when I fillet Jenkins rant.
The afternoon was far less lazy. Dawn went into ‘Domestic Goddess mode and spent several hours in the kitchen, experimenting with cake-baking recipes in order to perfect a cake for a friend’s wedding whilst I retreated to the office to sort out more old pictures. I have to admit the smells coming from the kitchen were divine. Dee’s a brilliant cook and really enjoys baking. It’s not something I’ve ever got into personally, my forte is more Asian and starters and main course dishes rather than sweets and desserts.
The day wasn’t all about food, we did both manage to get out for a stroll, even if it wasn’t far, just through our local woods along the promenade overlooking the Calder valley and thence around Savile Park, but it was good to be able to feel virtuous by hitting our daily exercise marks.
Now we’re home for another quiet evening, but as it’s going to be a busy week that’s hardly a problem. So, I’m going to leave you with today’s picture which is taken from another of the batch of old slides taken in the USA back in 1990. No animals today, this is very much a man-made structure. I took this shot of Big Creek bridge on State Highway 1 on the California coast on the 25th October 1990.
Opened in 1938, this graceful bridge is a 589 feet long, 24 feet wide open spandrel, concrete deck arch structure designed by Christian Theophil Gutleben. Each span is 178 feet wide and 65 feet above ground level. It’s quite an impressive sight when you first glimpse it as you approach along the coast from the South, but then the California coast road is a lovely route with several similar structures. There parking places at either end so that you can stop, admire the bridge, sea or cliffs and take photographs.
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I enjoyed your piece in Rail mag on the Calder Valley, particularly some delightful photos. Worth adding that work is advancing to set up a CRP on the sections in Rochdale and Calderdale which will complement work done by existing and future a station groups. Not replace them!
We may have different views on the Simon Jenkins Guardian column. (Is it really a “rant”?) Personal view: I am “agnostic” about HS2, particularly given what could be done with the same amount of spending on regional railways, the NHS and social care. On the other hand the final offers an interesting challenge (if we can afford HS2 we can afford anything… I don’t know, maybe we can).
By the way I couldn’t find the piece in Saturday’s print Guardian. The link is here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/30/hs2-johnson-vanity-cost-taxpayer . I ignored the comments about filling potholes.
Looking forward to your next post,
Depleted and unwanted, HS2 hurtles on as Johnson’s £100bn vanity project | Simon Jenkins | The Guardian
It has cost the taxpayer billions without a mile of track being laid – and it won’t even go north of Crewe Last modified on Fri 30 Jul 2021 11.46 EDT Britain’s new high-speed railway will …
Paul Bigland said:
Hi Stephen, Glad you enjoyed the Calder Valley piece. You’re right, Jenkins rant was in Friday’s Grauniad, not Saturdays. I’m half was through a new blog which tears apart his factual errors and untruths. Regarding spending HS2 money on other things. That would never happen. There’s no pot of money sat in the Treasury labelled ‘For HS2’ that just waiting to be spent on other things. I’ve blogged about the economics of these things here. https://paulbigland.blog/2017/03/08/spend-hs2-money-on-the-nhs-heres-why-its-financial-illiteracy/ Sadly, an awful lot of people have bought into the right-wing’s austerity economics narrative and the idea that we can’t afford things. It’s something that will cripple the future prosperity of the country as the rest of the world leaves us far behind when it comes to investing in modern, green infrastructure.
Max Wyss said:
Not the Calder Valley, but Bixby Creek bridge. About the same age.
However, when I saw that bridge, I got immediately reminded of the Langwies viaduct of the Rhaetian Railways, which was designed by Hermann Schürch, and built 1912-14.