Thursday , October 18 2018
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Off The Rails Again! can anybody see sense?

This week has seen yet more disturbing news about the proposed rail link between Hartlepool and London. The last information we were all given was that the franchise for link had finally been awarded and a company called GCR were going to start running services later this year. (Hooray! Pop champagne corks etc!) Now it seems that there is to be an appeal which will cause a further delay to the long awaited services whilst two companies wrangle on about money. So whats actually going on and what does it mean to us

Heres the situation in a nutshell: One company, GCR, wants to run a direct rail link between Sunderland, Hartlepool and London and the other company, GNER, is saying that GCR will not be paying the correct fees to do so: GCR will not pay track-access fees or premium franchise payments that GNER have to. So, GNER say that it is not fair that GCR be allowed to run the rail link and have appealed against the award to the Office of Rail Regulations.

Sounds like GCR are getting the link cheap A spot of unfair competition perhaps Well read on

What will happen if the Office of Rail Regulations decides that GCR cannot run the rail franchise to London that we all need Will GNER then take over and run it instead

Put simply… No! GNER have always contested the Sunderland/Hartlepool to London rail link and want to run additional trains from Leeds to London instead, leaving Hartlepool without the new direct London trains.

Can some common sense be applied here if GCR are turned down because they are not paying the correct fees that GNER would pay IF THEY WERE TO RUN THE HARTLEPOOL TO LONDON LINK then GNER should be forced to run the link themselves, not just to leave the people of the North East coast in the lurch again.

On a lighter note, Eurovision has come and gone again unnoticed by most people in Hartlepool (and everywhere else) it seems. I think that I was one of the few people who were sad enough to watch it this yearMyself and the current Mrs Headlander went to a Eurovision party where we all sat drinking and laughing whilst rating all the songs and performances using marking sheets specially downloaded from the internet for the occasion.

When I remarked on this to the lads in my local pub, the Pint and Fight, on Sunday lunchtime I was nearly laughed out of the public bar! After much guffawing at my expense we started to think of what it would be like if there were a national song contest and Hartlepool were to enter. We could ask a local band to carefully handcraft a masterpiece of song writing oh, all right then, just sing a silly song; and we came up with a few potential winners

The Fens Street Gang Light My Fire

The West View Smack heads The Drugs Dont Work

Church Street Drinkers I Predict A Riot

Hartlepool United FC Down Down

TV Lawrence Bohemian Rhapsody

(The thought of Lawrence singing Bohemian Rhapsody made me fall off of my bar stool We also considered a cover of the Bee Gees More Than a Woman!)

The winner of the Hartlepool heat of the contest would then go forward to the national final in London – except for one tiny little problem without the direct rail link they may never get there.



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