Category Archives: Transport

Leamore & Area Community Group seeks members

Leamore Shopping Centre in November 2010, before the rail was damaged.

A community organisation which aims to support Leamore folk and campaign on local concerns is on the lookout for new members, and is inviting people to come and put forward their ideas and raise problems experienced in their own streets.

The Leamore & Area Community Group, which was formed in January of this year, meets every 2nd Tuesday of every month at Colebatch’s Club in Bloxwich Road, Leamore.

Come along

The next group meeting is Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 7pm and all are welcome to attend, whether they want to know more information about the group or have a concern or problem they want to discuss.

Support your local community

A group spokesmen told the Bloxwich Telegraph that they are hoping for representatives to come forward for every street on their patch. They are also looking for more people to attend in general, so that the Leamore community can be better represented.

The group say they are striving for a better community to live in, and are currently in the process of campaigning for better speed limit signage on Somerfield Road between Leamore and Bloxwich, as there is a big problem with motorists using excessive speed in what should be a 30 mph area.  They are also concerned about car cruising on roads in the Leamore area.

Advertisements

A Bloxwich Trolleybus on the Moon?

Bloxwich Trolleybus Terminus Lower Farm 1960s

Rest In Peace the great Neil Alden Armstrong, the quiet man of Apollo 11 and first to set foot on the Moon in 1969 has today passed into the great beyond, aged 82.

Neil was a good man with a sense of humour, and I hope he might have enjoyed the article below, which I first published as a bit of Hallowe’en fun in The Bloxidge Tallygraph.  If it were not for Neil and his fellow heroes, and the dual inspiration of a certain H.G. Wells, it would never have been written, as our world would have been very different indeed.

 

Walsall Trolleybus at the Lower Farm terminus, late 1960s (courtesy Mr. Alan Murray-Rust)

It has long been the stuff of legend in Little Bloxwich that from time to time buses will disappear from off the Walsall to Lower Farm bus route.  No-one has known where they went; the bus companies from Walsall Corporation to the privatised era have sometimes claimed mechanical failure, severe traffic or driver shortages.  Sometimes, the bus timetables on these routes have borne no resemblance to reality, passengers occasionally having to wait up to half an hour for a bus supposedly running at least every twelve minutes. On rare occasions a bus may never turn up at all.

Uncharitable folks who have asked to remain anonymous have been known to speculate that perhaps Lower Farm buses on the 302 run have been deliberately taken off to keep the allegedly subsidised 301 route to Mossley going continuously, even with hardly anyone on those buses, but where is the evidence, I ask you?

Conspiracy theorists of a different water have, however, recently come forward, presenting The Bloxidge Tallygraph with an exclusive, outlandish yet surprisingly plausible explanation for the disappearing Lower Farm buses. They claim that on rare occasions these vehicles have been stolen by aliens, and hidden upon the Moon for purposes of technological study, and that this has been happening for forty years, since the Apollo Moon landings of 1969 disturbed the beings from beyond in their hidden bases within the darkest of lunar craters.

“Selenite Chief Scientist” – artist’s impression

It is suggested that, woken from their ignorance of the growth of human technology after millennia, these ‘Selenites’, or Moon-dwellers, then turned their own telescopes on the blue orb that dominates their airless sky and, intent on seeking information about the greatest technology that the Earthlings hold, concentrated their sinister investigations on the following sites:

  • The Apollo launch site at Cape Canaveral.
  • The Soviet Cosmodrome at Baikonur.
  • Area 51 in Nevada, USA.
  • The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire.
  • The Birchills Trolleybus Depot in Bloxwich Road, Walsall.

Clearly, it would be very difficult to steal anything based at the first four establishments, but it takes very little thought to realise that no-one would notice the disappearance of a Trolleybus or indeed any other kind of bus on the Lower Farm route apart from the passengers, and no notice is likely to be taken of their complaints, so, it is alleged, the Selenites slowly and surely drew their plans against Walsall Corporation Transport, and on the final day of Trolleybus operation to Bloxwich, they struck, stealing the last Trolleybus to travel from Walsall to Lower Farm.

Bus 875 leaves the Birchills bus depot on the last day of trolley bus operation in Walsall, 3rd October 1970, never to return.  Allegedly, this was the first Walsall Bus to be abducted by aliens (courtesy Jack Haddock)

Of course, no-one noticed.  And from then on, we are told, buses, albeit primitive (and later privatised) diesel-driven machines and therefore of little technical interest to anyone other than bus-spotters (an alien species equal in inscrutability to the Selenites) have continued to be kidnapped on rare occasions, hoisted skyward into translunar space by invisible travel discs, and delivered to the domes of the Selenites hidden in the darkest craters of the Moon.

The public of Bloxwich, of course, have known nothing of this until now.  All they know is that they have had to suffer long waits in rain, hail or snow for many years and when they have been given excuses for the apparent poor service, they have often been so unlikely as to be unbelievable.  Now, our sources have made it possible for the facts to be brought to light at last.

The final evidence, they claim, is a recent alleged cover-up following the American space agency NASA’s mission to ‘bomb’ the Moon in order to analyse traces of the lunar surface in the search for water supplies for possible future lunar bases.

The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a robotic spacecraft operated by NASA. It was launched together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on June 18, 2009, as part of the shared Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, the first American mission to the Moon in over ten years.

LCROSS was designed to watch as the launch vehicle’s spent Centaur upper stage struck the crater Cabeus near the south pole of the Moon. LCROSS suffered a malfunction on August 22, depleting half of its fuel and leaving very little fuel margin in the spacecraft. But according to NASA, impact occurred successfully on October 9, 2009.

LCROSS Sodium Flash detection in Crater Cabeus (image courtesy NASA)

The impact was not as visually prominent as had been anticipated – in fact, amateur astronomers around the world were told that they would be able to see it in their small telescopes. This was not the case; in fact, nothing was seen, or at least almost nothing was shown in the images released to the world’s press, causing considerable embarrassment.

Our sources claim, however, that the real photographs of the impact were intercepted by a shadowy, unnamed secret service within the USA, lest they reveal the true nature of what lay in the dark depths of crater Cabeus and cause blind panic.

What the now-destroyed probe showed, it is said, was the destination of the abducted Walsall-Bloxwich buses: the Selenite South Polar Research Dome, which was itself, it is claimed, destroyed by the impact of LCROSS, as well as a number of abducted Bloxwich buses gathering dust upon the lunar surface beside it.  We have been given the photographic evidence reproduced below, which is supposedly an image taken by ‘hacking’ the Hubble Space Telescope:

LCROSS strikes Cabeus Crater and the Selenite dome – UNOFFICIAL

 

Enhanced infra-red section of above image – UNOFFICIAL

I cannot confirm or deny the facts in this matter, dear reader, though the visual evidence presented above, if genuine, is compelling. There is, for obvious reasons, no official evidence forthcoming, only hearsay from those who claim to be close to official sources.

I can only ask you to consider in your own mind which is the most likely explanation: that Lower Farm buses occasionally break down or are diverted to Mossley; or that they have quietly, stealthily been stolen by lunar aliens on an occasional basis since 1969.  I know which I think is the truth.

UPDATE:

My sources have today sent me the following partial transcription of a radio transmission which they claim was received from space by Jodrell Bank last week and decoded by government experts at GCHQ before being lost in the form of a memory stick on a bus in London.  I’m not sure what to make of it, but frankly, I’m worried – and so should you be, too:

“This is the voice of the Selenites. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen. You have destroyed our dome in an unprovoked attack, which requires a response.  Our retaliation will be slow, but nonetheless effective. It will mean the ultimate destruction of life on Earth. It will be useless for you to resist, for we have discovered the secret of reversing matter. One of you will be under our control, who we have trained on your transport systems. He will be instrumental in avenging the Selenites. Our first act of retaliation will be to destroy Walsall Bus Station.  Your world will hear from us again, before the end…”

Bloxwich Level Crossing Closure Proposals – consultation launched

Bloxwich Level Crossing (courtesy John M)
Bloxwich Level Crossing (courtesy John M)

There is an increasing trend for Network Rail, which operates our railway network on behalf of the government, to close level crossings, where road traffic and pedestrians cross railways, for both safety and efficiency reasons.

Bloxwich Level Crossing, off Station Street/Reeves Street, which provides direct access by road to the industrial estate and Beechdale Estate via Willenhall Lane, as well as the Walsall Mobile Libraries depot, is now being considered for closure.

There are clearly advantages and disadvantages to this, including access issues, traffic routing, safety and improvements needed as a result.  Proposed improvements to the passenger rail service, including line electrification and faster journey times will also, it is said, be made easier by closing the level crossing.  There is a need to publicly discuss all of these issues and more before a decision is reached.

Walsall Council has now launched a consultation process so that local residents, business and road users may be made aware of all the facts and may also contribute to the decision-making process by taking part in the consultation.

Readers of The Bloxwich Telegraph and others in Bloxwich and district are invited to take part in this process and find out more.

Full details, including explanations of the reasoning behind closure proposals and downloads, are available now on the Walsall Council website via the following link:

Bloxwich Level Crossing Closure Proposals

http://cms.walsall.gov.uk/index/transport_and_streets/transorming_walsall_transportation_system/reevesstreet.htm

Consultation events

The Council is also holding two consultation events in August where they will be waiting to hear your views.  They are at:

    • Walsall Mobile Library Depot, Willenhall Lane, Bloxwich: Wednesday 15 August 2012 12pm – 4pm
    • Bookmark Bloxwich (Bloxwich Library), Elmore Row, Bloxwich: Thursday 16 August 4pm – 8pm

If you cannot attend a consultation event you can give the Council your view in the following ways:

  • completing the questionnaire downloadable from the page linked above and posting it to them (address below)
  • calling 01922 654362
  • emailing your views to myattjohn@walsall.gov.uk
  • commenting via the Walsall Transport Facebook and Twitter pages. You can find this on Facebook by searching for  ‘Walsall Transport’ or follow them on Twitter: @walsalltransprt

The deadline for consultation responses is Friday 7 September 2012

Funding secured for Chase Line electrification

 

Bloxwich Station at Croxdene Avenue
Bloxwich Station at Croxdene Avenue

 

Cannock Chase Council’s Economic Development Leader has welcomed news that vital improvements to the Chase railway line have been approved.

The Government gave the go-ahead earlier this month for a £30 million electrification of the Rugeley to Walsall Chase Line, which includes stations at Bloxwich (Croxdene Avenue) and Bloxwich North (Mossley), extended halts which in 1989 replaced the original, more substantial LNWR Bloxwich Station in Station Street, which had closed to passengers in 1965 then been demolished, under the ‘Beeching Axe’ which destroyed many local train services.

Cannock Chase Council has worked hard over the last few years to build a wide coalition to press the case for electrification, including Centro and the Cannock Chase Rail Promotion Group. Meetings to press the case have been held with Centro, Network Rail and London Midland, while an adjournment debate secured in Parliament last month raised the profile of the need for electrification even further.

Cllr Gordon Alcott, Cannock Chase Council Economic Development Leader, said:

“The Council has been campaigning for electrification of the Chase Line for years so we’re delighted that the scheme has finally got the green light. Electrification will deliver faster and more frequent trains to Birmingham and boost Cannock Chase’s economic growth. This is the result of a great deal of effort on the Council’s behalf and I would like to pay tribute to the work of the Council’s principal planning officer, John Morgan, who has worked tirelessly for the electrification cause for decades.”

Over half-a-million passenger journeys a year are made from railway stations in Cannock Chase District and this figure is rising, with increased passenger growth of 10% per year seen in recent years.

The line is also extremely popular with travellers from Bloxwich and Walsall, offering links both to Birmingham New Street (via Walsall) and Rugeley Trent Valley (via Cannock and Hednesford).

Work on the Chase Line will not start until at least 2014, as the announcement from the Government covers the period 2014 to 2019.

Wheely fun at Aston Manor Transport Museum Open Day this Sunday!

Aston Manor Transport Museum at Aldridge

Beecham Business Park on Northgate, Aldridge will be a hive of activity again this Sunday 8th July when Aston Manor Transport Museum hold their 25th Annual July Open Day.

And while we don’t normally cover Aldridge, The Bloxwich Telegraph is very pleased to assist by publicising the event as this museum is well worthy of support and an important new attraction for the borough!

This will be the first year that the Open Day is not based at the Old Tram Depot in Witton, but with most of the vehicles and artefacts stored on that site now over at Aldridge, it will be almost home from home.

With free bus services going to Walsall, Sutton, a Barr Beacon circular and a link with Chasewater Railway that will coincide with their train timetable, this promises to be even better than the 24 previous events.  There will also be a display of all types of road transport on Beecham Business Park, with the whole site opened up so that visitors can also see what else takes place.

While there will be a small admission charge to go on site, there will also be an opportunity for visitors to see inside the museum store where, for the enthusiast, there will also be some sales stands to occupy them – and other visitors may well find something of interest there too.  Food and drink will be available also and something to occupy the children as well, if they get tired of the bus rides.

The previous 2 open days held recently did allow visitors to park their cars on site, but with display vehicles as well, car parking will be easily available on other sites close by with just a short walk to Beecham Business Park.

First bus service (to Walsall) leaves at 10.00am with the event starting then as well, and continuing until around 5.00pm.  For the full timetable, see the Museum website.

Location map for Beecham Business Park:

Worker crushed at Birchills Bus Depot

Birchills Bus Depot entrance, Carl Street
Birchills Bus Depot entrance, Carl Street

Emergency services were called to the National Express West Midlands bus garage in Walsall following an accident in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A twenty-four year old man, who works at the garage in Carl Street, Birchills, was reported as fighting for his life after being badly crushed between two buses.  He was taken to hospital for treatment.

Paramedics, police and fire crews were called in at around 2.40am.

By the time firefighters arrived, the buses had already been moved, but there is no investigation planned as detectives have stated there is no suspicion of foul play.

The garage is well-known locally as Birchills Bus Depot, and traces its history back to when Walsall Corporation ran public transport from the days of trams to trolley buses.