Buses and people with disabilities – This sad story is a utter shocker!

The shocking article, from the BBC’s website, available via the link below sadly highlights how poorly people with disabilities are served at times (probably far too often) by public transport operators.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-49972687

I don’t know about you but I was appalled to read the article; treating people with disabilities like this shames our whole society.

It may well be the case that disciplinary action is being taken with regard to bus drivers involved but the bus company itself should be subject to sanction too. No excuses; disability access issues on public transport have to be sorted. I’ve heard too many reports of people with disabilities being treated poorly/inconsiderately by operators of trains and buses. There needs to be severe penalties on the operators when things go wrong and those with disabilities suffer.

Deep coal mining has come to an end in the UK – Should we miss it?

Watching the recent TV programme about the closure of Kellingley Colliery (the UK’s last deep mine) which ceased cutting coal in December 2015 was a odd moment for me as I come from a coal mining family.

Bentinck Colliery - Photographer unknown

Bentinck Colliery – Photographer unknown

Two of my uncles were miners; one long dead (Henry Wright was a winding man at Bentinck Colliery in Kirkby In Ashfield) but the other only passed on in the last couple of weeks. That was my Uncle Doug Depledge* who was a Banksman at Sherwood Colliery in Mansfield until he took what was in effect early retirement as the pits were being run down in the 1980’s.

Sherwood Colliery - Photographer unknown

Sherwood Colliery – Photographer unknown

To see the miners facing the closure of their colliery on TV was sobering. They were losing what generations living in their community had worked for and indeed why their community existed. Of course this closure process has gone on in mining communities across the UK’s coalfields for 30+ years now and as a consequence those communities have had to try to reinvent themselves. It is probably fair to say that few if any of the former mining communities have really prospered since their pits were closed, indeed many have clearly struggled greatly.

UK coal production was effectively ended/replaced by the importation of cheap foreign coal but of course we also now know that burning fossil fuels like coal is very bad for our environment and a contributor to global warming problems.

I moved away from the Nottinghamshire coalfield when I was 6 in the mid 1960’s but recall only too well how the demise of the industry was discussed when we went back home to visit family.

As a trade unionist I remember only too well the miners strike and the hugely divisive political differences between the NUM and UDM which was particularly the case in Nottinghamshire. I honestly don’t know whether my uncles were NUM or UDM, I never asked.

But the other aspect of the closure of the pits that struck me from watching the programme about the closure of Kellingley was what a hugely challenging job it must have been to have spent your working life 800 feet underground. I know I would not want to do it and I suspect that goes for many people these days. But when it’s pretty much all you know about working it must be gut wrenching to loose what is clearly a most dangerous of employments.

* It was Doug’s funeral I failed to get to last Thursday because of a huge traffic jam on the M6

Is Skelmersdale really going to get a railway station?

As a railway enthusiast, a member of OPSTA and someone who can’t get his head around why when planning this New Town the railway was torn up, the plans of Lancashire County Council and West Lancs Borough Council to correct the errors to the past are fascinating.

Firstly a photo of the old Skelmersdale Station which I purchased recently:-

rsz_skelmersdale_station_-_undated

And Wikipedia says:-
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skelmersdale_railway_station

So what’s the plan? To put it simply to take a spur off the Kirkby – Wigan line right into the heart of Skem’.

Is it a runner? Well money and a lot of it is the big issue, probably a £100m plus or minus project. It costs a lot for what can only been seen as a monumental mistake of the 1960’s.

Whether it will be a value for money project when stacked up against other railway investment projects is hard to say but I rank it as being in a similar category to the Robin Hood Line in Nottinghamshire which brought what was then one of the largest Towns in England without a railway station (Mansfield) back onto the railway map in the 1990’s.

Lancashire County and West Lancs Borough can’t be said to be leaders of innovative railway developments. Their lack of campaigning over the years for the Burscough Curves (which could reconnect the Ormskirk – Preston and Southport – Wigan lines) and the County Council seemingly being lukewarm over the much needed investment in the Southport – Wigan line do make you wonder if they have determination to see this challenging project through.

There is a long way to go with this project and I really do hope it is a runner as opposed to a project with a lot of political froth around it but one heading for the sidings.

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Mansfield Town score 8 but Southport crash out of FA Cup

www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/teams/mansfield-town

The biggest scorers in the FA Cup yesterday were my team Mansfield Town. The BBC has the story.

img_50f864b560bcb_svg

I must admit that following a run of poor recent results I wondered if the Stags would be an FA Cup upset waiting to happen but after going 1 – 0 down they battered poor old St Albans.

Sadly our local Sefton team Southport came unstuck at Leyton Orient, again the BBC has the story.

www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/teams/southport