Westoe Brass Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club (23 January 2022)

Welcome return to Boarshurst for North Eastern band with well presented concert

Absence they say makes the heart grow fonder. Whether it’s two minutes away from your dog or two years away from your last concert, this maxim applied to Westoe Brass Band at the Boarshurst Band Club. They opened this year’s season of concerts with a programme that was traditional, yet had a nod to the band’s history.

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Selling Runcorn By The Pound: 22. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Shopping Centre

East of the M60’s 2021 Advent Calendar looks at a groundbreaking leisure facility in Billingham

Billingham is a town long associated with the chemical industry. Since ICI based their operations in the late 20th Century, its population grew dramatically. The town’s peak was in the 1950s and 1960s when the Billingham and Wilton plants were in full swing. Its town centre was remodelled in the latter decade with a pedestrian precinct and the proud boast of heated pavements!

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Northern Powerhouse Rail: Railing Against a Lack of Ambition

In 2015 we were promised hoverboards, but Stalybridge had Pacer units instead (Shapps 4′ 8″ Remix)

In a professional capacity, Preston has become my second home. I know almost every nook and cranny of its railway station. On some occasions I hope for a slack connection, so I could do a bit of spotting between trains. In the last six months, I have seen many a passing Pendolino, many a diesel, electric and bi-mode unit, and the odd goods train.

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Holy Island, 2015

A Northern Wake-Up Call: IPPR North Report Confirms Westminster Failings

How COVID-19 has intensified inequalities in Northern England

This week, IPPR North’s report The State of the North has confirmed what many Northerners have known since the height of Thatcher’s term in office. With Brexit and COVID-19, the North-South divide has grown dramatically – to a point that the gap between South East England and North West England could be akin to that of West Germany and East Germany prior to reunification.

Before last week, one of the few things that set Northern England apart from the South East of England was consigned to history forever. If you wanted to know where the North of England really began, it was at the most southerly terminus of a rail service that was served by Class 142 Pacer units. With franchised buses as part of a fully integrated transport system, Greater London feels like another planet compared with Greater Manchester.

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Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, 11 October 2009

What Has the North Done For Us?

Quite a lot to be honest!

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge (widescreen)
The iconic Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Imagine a world without Northern England. It would be a dull place devoid of The Beatles, iconic suspension bridges, daft footballers, and railway lines. Prior to the late 1970s, we were the manufacturing heart of the world. We built bridges, ships, made cutlery and built the world its locomotives and carriages. Today, most of what manufacturing capacity we had has been eviscerated by London-centric governments and globalisation. Prior to the mid 1980s, we kept most of our country’s power stations ticking over and our houses warm, before they closed down the pits and started importing its coal.

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Durham Cathedral Square

Can You Get From Westminster to Durham By Bus?

If you have any sense at this moment in time, the answer should be ‘No’

The list of places associated with disreputable goings-on with present and previous Conservative governments have grown in the last five years. There are now enough places to muster a Best of British coach tour. Till last week, we had a suitable coach operator with the hotels and pick up points to pitch a possible inclusive tour.

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D6700 Class 40, York (Image by Calflier001).

A Lost Train to London: The Highwayman

The cheap yet slow way of getting from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to London

Road and rail competition, whether private car versus train or scheduled coach versus train is far from new. The private car was, and remains, a threat to the viability of any communal transport options due to its convenience and perceived economy. The opening of the M1 and M6 motorways was also attractive for coach operators as well as motorists.

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Northern Nationalised: Franchise Transfers from Arriva Rail North to DfT

Northern franchise taken over by DfT as Operator of Last Resort from the 01 March

After several rumours and persistent lobbying by Northern English political figures in the last six months, it was announced today that Arriva lost its Northern rail franchise. Under the Anglo-German company’s tenure, the rail franchise was dogged by poor service, delayed rolling stock deliveries and gross overcrowding.

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Generic Euphonium picture

Westoe Brass Band: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club, 19 January 2020

Another tight performance from Westoe Brass Band

After being forced to choose from singers dressed as yellow ducks or unicorns, or ice-based pratfalls, the people of Saddleworth (and Boarshurst Silver Band’s avid streaming audience) were saved from such misfortune last night. At 7pm, Westoe Brass Band began the 2020 season of concerts in style.

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Northern Class 195, Manchester Airport

Should Northern Rail Be Nationalised? Be Careful What You Wish For

Or: is the Grayling Curse to blame for Northern’s woes?

The rail franchising system is dead. Long live the rail franchising system. In the last year, we have seen a recasting of the rail franchising system in favour of management contracts. Since 1994, rail franchises in Great Britain have mirrored former British Rail profit centres, which in turn have roots in BR’s sectorisation programme by Sir Robert (Basil) Reid.

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