Paul McCartney

We'd planned to spend part of last week in London at my Uncle's. On Tuesday, I got an e-mail telling me that more tickets to Paul McCartney's gig at the Roundhouse as part of the BBC's Electric Proms season were being released. Not thinking I'd get them I applied. I got 2 tickets!!!!!!
We had to go in the morning as the tickets were actually wristbands that had to be put on your wrist there and then.
Anyway we got there in the evening and went straight in. At just after 8.00 pm, there was the great man himself!!!


He played the following setlist – 
* Magical Mystery Tour
* Flaming Pie
* Got To Get You Into My Life
* Dance Tonight
* Only Mama Knows
* C'Moon
* The Long And Winding Road
* Follow The Sun
* That Was Me
* Here Today
* Blackbird
* Calico Skies
* Eleanor Rigby
* Band On The Run
* House Of Wax
* I Got A Feeling
* Live And Let Die
* Hey Jude
* Let It Be
* Lady Madonna
* I Saw Her Standing There
* Get Back
The photos aren't great, but you get the idea.
The gig was great and it was really amazing to be able to see him in such a small venue! A 'splendid time was had by all' and we had a' fab' time!!!!!

Local Rail Services 2

After I'd received the reply to my e-mail from East Midlands Trains , I thought I'd reply –

Thank you for your reply.

I have to say that I'm not over confident that the Crewe Derby route is going to be treated as a priority. You talk about the fact that ‘We will link stations progressively over the next few years and this will enable passengers to speak directly to an information controller….' Being cynical and based on the fact of the lack of investment and interest in the route by previous companies, I feel that the Crewe Derby route stations will be amongst the last to receive these improvements!

Of the 70 ticket machines you talk about, will Longport be included?

I also hear on the grapevine, and please correct me if I have misheard, that you are to run the single coach Class 153 units on the route, thereby reducing the seating capacity and moving the two car units to other areas.

My final worry is that you are expecting local authorities to pay for the upgrading of your stations! Why should they pay to improve your facilities when it is in your interests to improve services etc. to increase passenger numbers?

I'm sorry if this all seems a little negative, but local train services in North Staffordshire have been eroded away over the last 15 years or so and your predecessors seemed to treat this area as an inconvenience!

Yours sincerely

And the reply –

Thanks again for your email.

We will not be installing ticket machines into the Longport station.

We are proposing to run single coach Class 153 units on the Crewe-Derby route from December 2008, however, this has not been finalised. We are currently consulting with stakeholders on our proposed December 2008 and their feedback may have some bearing on this decision.

We do have funds to undertake station improvements however, we are also looking to local authorities to assist. We will be looking to invest in stations where we can make a valid business case for it.

Kind regards
David Horne
Mobilisation Director
East Midlands Trains

That reply doesn't exactly instil confidence does it? The trouble is that it's an East Midlands franchise serving the West Midlands / North West. Time will tell I guess, but I'm not holding my breath for improvements.

Local Rail Services

I e-mailed East Midlands Trains last week to find out what they were planning with regard to our local train services. Here is the e-mail I sent –

Dear Sir,
I would be interested to hear what your company is proposing to do to improve the Crewe to Derby service and the stations along this line.
As the majority of this service is in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire area, I am somewhat surprised that it is being run by a company whose main area of focus is the East Midlands. In the past, Central Trains and to a degree Regional Railways treated this service and its stations as an inconvenience and little or no investment has been made in the route. A lot of people in the North Staffordshire area aren't even aware that there are open stations at Longport or Longton!
In fact, one of the stations, Etruria, was closed two years ago. It is also noticable that the majority of stations currently operated by Central Trains (the exception being Kidsgrove) are unstaffed. Most of the stations are in a poor state of repair, although some new shelter facilities have been installed at Longport, but this was not financed by Central Trains! The stations do not provide a welcome to the travelling public – your potential customers!
Can you reassure me that the level of service you will provide, the state of the stations, the staffing of the stations and the publicity of the route will be improved when you take over the service?
Yours faithfully

And this is the reply –

The level of service will be broadly similar to that operating today, but from December 2008 there will be some changes to train times in conjunction with major timetable changes across the country. We have been told exactly when our trains can operate throughout the day by Network Rail.

East Midlands Trains (EMT) intends to deliver improved ambiance at all stations by investing in deep cleaning, painting, improved CCTV Help Points and signage.  The CCTV and Help Points will be connected to a new Information and Security Centre collocated with the new integrated control at Derby.  We will link stations progressively over the next few years and this will enable passengers to speak directly to an information controller to obtain accurate and up to date information.

 Further enhancements may be possible if local stakeholders are able to provide additional funding and a number of local authorities have already stated that they wish to join with EMT to improve stations.  

 We will also be installing over 70 ticket vending machines across our network.  Staffing levels will remain as now but our management arrangements will be developed to ensure that stations are kept clean and provide a welcoming environment for passengers.


Hmm, can't say I'm too reassured to be honest. I've got a copy of the new proposed 2008 timetable 😉 so I'd better take a closer look to see what's planned!

Hospital Superbugs

I notice there is a lot in the news at the moment about superbugs in hospitals. This is quite a simple and easy problem to solve – clean the hospitals properly!
It seems the hospital trusts and their chief execs seem oblivious to this concept. As long as they can cut costs left right and centre and keep their huge salaries and benefit packages then it's 'I'm aright Jack'. But the best bit is that the high ups seem to make an utter pigs ear in one area, then move on to another and do the same. What are they and the people who employ them thinking?????

Blackpool Again

We went to Blackpool yesterday with Carol's Mum, Dad, sister and her husband.

Blackpool Tram

After last year it's nice to see the prom is greatly improved, but sadly not yet finished. Once it is, however, it will be nice. Although it's a shame that the shops, hotels etc on the front all look pretty awful from the Tower south. It's a pity they didn't take a leaf out of Llandudno's book. 

One interesting thing is, once you go north of the Tower up to Bispham, the illuminations get a lot better! I guess this is considered the 'posh' end of Blackpool!

In Rainbows

Just downloaded Radiohead's new album 'In Rainbows'. I did try to buy it the other day (I thought £5 was a fair amount), but something failed and it didn't work. So, today I've 'bought' it for the grand sum of £0.00!

And listening to it for the first time,  I'm glad I didn't pay anything. It's a bit, well, dull! Time will tell if it grows on me, but my current thoughts are that it won't. I much preferred 'The Bends' and 'OK Computer'.

No Autumn General Election

The PM has said no to an autumn general election . Lightweight!

He said – 

"Over the summer months we've had to deal with crises, we've had to deal with foot-and-mouth, with terrorism, with floods, we had financial crises.

"Yes, we could have had an election on competence and I hope people would have understood we have acted competently, but what I want to do is show people the vision we have for the future of this country in housing, health and education.

"And I want the chance in the next phase of my premiership to develop and show people the policies that are going to make a huge difference and make a change in the whole country itself,"

Which translated means 'I've got the job I've waited 10 years for and no one is going to take it from me. No election until I absolutely must'. 


The Post Office

Seems as if the Post Office / Royal Mail is now set to self destruct.

The Communication Workers Union have called strikes, which means that, in all probability, we won't get any post now for a week!

Royal Mail themselves seem to want to self destruct and annoy as many people as possible at the moment.

They're closing Post Offices, stopped the majority of mail going by train (despite the increase in road congestion , pollution etc), closed their own dedicated underground railway in London, stopped second deliveries and started to deliver mail later and later in the day.

The union seems to be just as bloody minded and awkward. This is the union that goes on strike for having its members suspended. Now, if the rules are followed and fair hearing occur, that is fair enough, so why a strike?

Admittedly, the Government haven't helped by moving services out of the Post Offices, but it does seem that there is some massively bad management going on and some very rigid uncompromising staff within the business.
Will the Post Office survive? Who knows, but I bet my Great Great Grandfather, William Wood who was a postman, is spinning away merrily!