The announcement from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling that the North will get no more electrification of the railway lines has me, at least, seething.
While the Government enjoys the benefits of almost limitless electrification of railway lines in the South East, the North is to be deprived of this greener transport facility.
So what does this also mean for the much-vaunted Northern Powerhouse with its core being improved transport links mainly by rail?
Instead, we are told, the Government will supply faster (diesel, therefore more polluting) trains with more seats (closer together to fit more, as he did not state longer trains) and better on-board facilities (maybe the trolley service is going to be slung from the roofs as there is no way it can offer a ground floor service due to overcrowding).
I thought it was the responsibility of train operators to supply the trains or is our Transport Secretary suggesting that the Government is going to nationalise the rail service? Was it not the mandate of companies to have stated in their bids for the franchises last year that they will be introducing more electric trains, as more and more of the regional railways were going to be electrified? Imagine how the South East rail traveller would feel about being told to, for example, get off the electrified train at Horsham and travel the rest of the journey by dirty, polluting diesel train to Brighton. Would they stand for it?
Yet we up North are expected to.
As a result, these franchises will have to continue to use the more polluting diesel trains and will also have to explain themselves to train manufacturers over their now cancelled orders for more electric trains. We will no doubt get some more cast-off diesel trains from franchises that serve London and the South East.
But is there a deeper reason for the change? Could it be that the Government has been doing their sums and have come up with two reasons: a) that the National Grid could not cope with all these additional electric trains or b) HS2 is going cost a lot more, so savings are going to have to be made to be redirected to this vanity project?
I would encourage all MPs whose constituents are going to be affected to ask searching questions of Chris Grayling.
Mum worked in war factory
I was intrigued by the recent article in the LP regarding the ‘shadow factories’ in Preston during the Second World War that were engaged in manufacturing parts for the war effort (LP July 19). Even in my infancy, I can well recall being taken to the nursery in Stoneygate whilst mum, Tessie Rogerson, went to her wartime occupation as a machine operator in a small engineering concern called H.K.T. Co. Ltd.
This small shadow factory, situated, I believe, in the Avenham area of the town, was engaged in the making of ancillary parts for the Halifax bombers that were being assembled at the Dick Kerr’s factory in Strand Road.
Mum was employed as a milling machine operator and worked a 7.5-hour shift, five days a week, making parts for the bomber’s machine guns, which were then shipped down to the main assembly plant at Dick Kerr’s.
I was recently reminded of her wartime experiences when I came across a job slip (see today’s Looking Back) which recorded her activity and time spent on this work that was so vital to the war effort. For a lady who had previously spent all her working life in domestic service, it must have been something of an ‘eye-opener’ to find herself in the cut and thrust of a busy machine workshop, yet like many other Preston women, she adapted herself well to the task but was more than a little relieved when informed that her services were no longer required.
Mum, who hailed from Ireland, had led an exciting life before settling down in Preston in the 1930s and her exploits have been turned into a book, Irish Eyes Kept Smiling. There are many references to Preston in the book.
The dark side of ribbons
Councillors, I want to tie hundreds upon hundreds of man-made ribbons to railings, on trees, in bushes, on lamp posts and traffic signs all across our beautiful Chorley borough for my favourite cause.
They won’t rot away but be assured they will fade, although they will also become tatty, over time, with threads getting loose and, I’m really sorry about this, tangling around all kinds of wildlife.
Those that become loose will disappear out of sight going down the drains, into streams and blowing into farmers’ fields, gardens and parks.
I’ve no plans to keep a record to let you know where I’m planning to put them.
What do you think?
I’m wondering will I and my helpers be fined for littering or fly-posting – is it £75 a time?
And by the way do you think your lovely taxpayers will mind if you tidy up after us?
P.S Or can you suggest better
ways for my cause?
“Someone needs to ask”
Dunkirk: A film worth seeing
I recently went to see the
film Dunkirk (pictured inset).
It certainly captured
the desperate plight of
the near 400,000 Allied soldiers stranded on the beaches at Dunkirk in May 1940 during the Second World War.
If it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of the RAF in keeping the Luftwaffe from attacking the many boats and craft bravely crossing the English channel both ways, and the Allied soldiers fighting the advancing German army from breaking through to the beaches, things could have been so different.
Fortunately, many of the Allied soldiers made it back to UK to fight another day and saved us from having to negotiate some kind of peace with the Germans.
Dunkirk is definitely a film worth seeing.
Re: Weeds on streets off St Thomas Road, Deepdale. I read that £1.5m was spent on the Winckley Square area thanks to the Heritage Lottery (LP July 22). Very nice it may look, but what about the rest of Preston?
I live near Moor Park, I have done for 27 years. This area is a disgrace, it has never been as bad.
The weeds are sky high, an unbelievable eyesore.
I keep my front garden clean from them but not everyone does and there are weeds on pavements too.
Lancashire County Council should use the money we pay them every month via our council tax.
They need to come round to spray and get rid of weeds. There’s no excuse.
I’m not a Proud Prestonion any more.
They’re even more irrelevant
Many congratulations to Vince Cable. He’s taken over from Tim Farron as the leader of the Lib Dems. Now they are even more irrelevant than they ever were before!