Etruria again

Just sent this letter to my MP about Etruria station. It's a year tomorrow since it was closed and nothing has happened- surprise……

Dear Paul Farrelly,

It is a year tomorrow that Mr. Derek Twigg in his then job as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport closed Etruria railway station. This was despite the fact that the public inquiry's report stated that it be kept open and was contrary to local opinion and needs. The given reason was that the track was to be aligned to 'increase speeds for through trains and so deliver shorter journey times benefiting passengers'.
Since the hasty closure, the track has not been aligned and the only thing to happen to the station was the removal of the station furniture in June. In fact I am sure that Virgin Trains passengers were glad that the station was there a few months ago when a train failed in the station and the passengers were able to easily leave the train!

All this highlights the Department for Transports lack of interest in the railways and public transport in general in North Staffordshire. The current consultancy document on the future of the rail franchises in this area states that a local service from Stoke to Stafford will not be restarted until 2009!
An example of how stupid things have become is if I want to travel by train to Manchester. This should be the easiest, quickest and most environmentally sensible way to get there. I could walk to the bus stop in May Bank, catch a bus to Longport (making the assumption that Etruria is now totally out of the question) and then catch a train to Manchester. I could the make exactly the same return journey.
Except I can't. There are two trains from Longport to Manchester in the morning at 06.50 and 07.20 and one returning at night at 17.58. Not exactly helpful or convenient.
Instead I have to got to Stoke to catch a train. Stoke is in the opposite direction to where I would be going, it is also time consuming to get there on public transport (bus to Newcastle or Hanley and then on to Stoke), takes a long time to drive there (whether the improvements to the A500 make a difference remain to be seen) and there is nowhere to park unless you want to pay £5 to park on Virgin's car park. The other options are to get someone to take you there and back, which adds to the congestion and pollution or get a taxi which is expensive. All to make a journey which should be relativity easy!

I hope you will be able the speak to Mr. Tom Harris, Mr. Twigg's successor, to find out what, if anything the DfT are planning to do about this disgraceful situation in the immediate future. As you know, Newcastle and North Staffordshire is slowly grinding to a halt and no-one in Government seems interested!

Yours sincerely,

I guess I'll get a polite reply, but nothing will happen. The Government and the DfT especially aren't interested in my area!



Since July my internet connection has been playing up. This was after a supposed speed upgrade. I placed a call to my suppliers and it still isn't fixed! Even worse their LLU supplier has now killed off my connection completely. If they went any slower fix it, they'd be going backwards!


I've been thinking how it would be interesting to become a Councillor on our Borough Council.

The only problem is that I don't want to become involved in Party Politics. There seems to be too much squabbling going on and a lack of cooperation between the Councillors because they are in one party or another – Labour seem particularly bad at this at the moment! 


Why is it people say that they will help out with Scouts, sound really interested and enthusiastic and then suddenly drop out?

I've had this happen 4 times this year and it's starting to get annoying. Either you want to help or you don't, just don't string people along!


We've been without our phone since Wednesday of last week, and there no internet. It made me think, of which of the 'utilities' could we live without for a period of time?

Telephone – yes. Inconvienient but not critical.
Water – no!
Gas – maybe. Very inconvenient not to have gas as this means no heating, hot water or cooking.
Electricity – possibly. As long as the contents of the fridge were safe, we could live without electricity for a bit.

Makes you realise quite how relient you are on these things though, especially when compaired to 100 years ago. No phone, no electricity, gas only for the lighting and a single cold tap. We don't know how lucky we are really!

11th September

Today is a day for remembering.
From my point of view, the attacks in America five years ago are worth remembering, but it is not as important, to me at least, as the fact that it's my second wedding anniversary!

Bits of debris including one of the aircraft that hit the World Trade Centre 

Carol and I were married two years ago today 😀

Local Politicians

It's now nearly four months since the local council elections and things haven't settled down properly! In the elections for our Borough, quite a few Labour Councillors lost their seats and they lost control of the Council. It is now run by the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.
The trouble started on election night itself, when one prominent Councillor lost his seat. Apparently he did not offer his congratulations to his successor, but just stormed out in a major sulk. At a community forum meeting I recently attended a Borough Councillor who is also a County Councillor was trying to push all responsibility for local issues onto a newly elected Councillor because she is from a different party.

The problem with the Labour Party and its Councillors is that they think they have the divine right to rule in Newcastle. What they seem to forget is that it is the local residents and voters who give them their jobs and they are the ones who take them away when they don't like what their Councillors are doing.

It's time they stopped spitting out their dummies and grew up!