how to win friends and influence people … not!

SLUG members and Stourbridge line commuters have contacted SLUG expressing concern about discovering that their car windscreens had been leafleted while parked at Cradley Heath and Stourbridge Junction stations last Friday; with many of the leaflets having extricated themselves from the cars and littering the car park.  

The Stourbridge Line User Group would like to make it clear that these leaflets were in no ways connected with the Group but were distributed, almost certainly without the permission of Transport for West Midlands who manage these car parks or London Midland who operate the stations, by a Green Party activist from Halesowen named Tim Weller.

The Stourbridge Line User Group shares Mr Weller's view that the railway lines from Round Oak to Pleck Junction (south of Walsall) and from Ryecroft Junction (north of Walsall) to Lichfield should be reinstated with the entire route from Stourbridge Junction to Burton-on-Trent upgraded to allow passenger services.  However, the Group strongly disagrees with Mr Weller in a number of areas.

  1. Mr Weller is strongly opposed to the use of the route by Midland Metro trams, insisting that the line must be a double track heavy rail diesel line - somewhat incongruous for a Green Party activist.  Having spoken to railway professionals, SLUG accepts that it is possible to operate a Metro line alongside a through rail route between Stourbridge Junction and Walsall.  The problem with the heavy rail route is that it does not adequately serve the town centres of Brierley Hill and Dudley nor the huge Merry Hill Centre, something that the Metro line will address.  However, with a rail and Metro route running alongside each other, passengers will be able to interchange at strategic points along the line, something that happens on the Tyne and Wear Metro between Newcastle and Sunderland.  In addition, with new railway stations costing in excess of £10 million (two new stations opened last week at Low Moor and Ilkeston both cost between £10 million and £11 million), the number of stations on a reinstated heavy rail line would be restricted, meaning it would be fine for long distance passengers but of little use for local passengers.

12 april 2017

  1. Many of his arguments are based on false claims.  

  1. Mr Weller is of the opinion that the line would form part of a major main line from the North East to Devon via Dudley and Brierley Hill.  SLUG is intelligent enough to realise that this will not happen, given the need for long distance passengers to change onto other services in Birmingham, with New Street being supplemented by Curzon Street in the future.  However, the route would be an important secondary route northwards through the Black Country.  There are aspirations to introduce additional services from Walsall - to Shrewsbury via Willenhall and Wolverhampton, to Aldridge and to Liverpool via Rugeley.  Thus the lines to Stourbridge and Lichfield would create a wide network of services through Walsall.    

There is one final, very important, reason why SLUG gives Mr Weller a wide berth.  He is intransigent - his opinion is right, everybody else is wrong.  Therefore, he bases his campaign on insults and antagonism.  He once hijacked a SLUG Public Meeting and hurled insults at our guests.  He did the same at a Stakeholders Consultation on the new West Midlands Rail Franchise, even though reinstated lines were not on the agenda.  At the end of that meeting, he insisted that the SLUG officer at the consultation sign a letter he had written to the Secretary of State for Transport - a letter that contained personal insults and was borderline libellous.  When the SLUG officer refused to sign on the grounds that he found the tone of the letter disgusting, he lambasted SLUG and the SLUG officer was forced to tell him to go away (4,3).  He has also bombarded two area Rail Campaign groups - Railfuture and Campaign for Rail - with insulting correspondence which has resulted in one of the groups informing him that they will not open any correspondence they receive from him in future, and an officer of the other threatening legal action.  

SLUG will continue to campaign for the reopening of the line through Dudley.  We will do this by talking amicably and liaising with all other parties.  We will not target passengers' cars with flyers.  We will not insult railway professionals.  We will behave professionally in all of our discussions.  We will retain the respect of local authorities and train operating companies.  We will not behave as Tim Weller does.