Thursday, 2 February 2012

February 2012 Blog

I write this blog (still left handed) on the day my plaster came of my right arm following a fracture in early December. It was such a joy when it was taken off even though I'm far from recovered and I shall have a lot of physio to do. I was such a joy to put on a sleeved shirt again in this freezing cold weather, simple things but very pleasurable.
The same can be true of the South Staffordshire Rail website at southstaffsrail.co.uk as i looked at it this evening and noticed that Rob had posted pictures up that Quattro have sauntered up the line a bit and cleared some of foliage. See the pictures here at this link
As Rob mentioned it was December 2010 that the came as far as Hammerwich and removed some track (still not back in-situ) for their training exercises. Training exercises or not its good to see that an effort is being made using their skills to clear some of the line.
I haven’t been down to Hammerwich since my accident so miss visiting but Rob took up the mantle and has kept the monthly update of pictures going.
Centro,on the other hand has been asking the public as part of the local transport plan for our thoughts on various aspects of transport in the West Midlands region and in particular re-opening the line for Freight between Stourbridge and Walsall. As many of you know that was part of the South Staffordshire railway and would form a good shared freight/Midland Metro corridor. This would also help to reduce the amount of freight trains avoiding passing through the Birmingham area. Centro are also interested in creating a Freight Depot at Bescot which is currently underused. The re-opening of a passenger service to Aldridge extending some services from Birmingham through Walsall. Its early days yet but its quite clear from their plan that they wish to see these developments happen.
The other arm of what used to be part of the SSR now called the Chase Line is going from strength to strength with passenger loadings. Many of these trains that I've been on from Walsall to Birmingham are   heavily loaded and standing room only on many of the Saturday trains as they arrive in Walsall from Rugeley, Hednesford, Cannock etc. London Midland have strengthened some of the trains but passengers need to remember only three coaches can fit on to the platforms beyond Walsall. The reliability and timings can be a problem at the moment with maximum line speed of 45mph but even with the problems the passengers seem to want the service.
With freight movements increasing and passenger growth in the region it can only be a good thing and although we shall never have the heyday of yesteryear with loads stations etc with the steady growth that's taking place in the area its good to know that Centro are more positive in the current transport plan than they have ever been.
Below is a picture showing Birmingham and surrounding district as it looked in 1961with the many passenger and freight lines.

And finally I’ll leave you with a link from British Pathe News showing some footage in the opening sequence of our line as part of a panoramic view of the mining areas in 1972
Dave Cresswell