Wednesday, 31 December 2008

George Francis Train

Darlington has a rich and exciting history, thanks largely to the Quaker families who dominated the town for so long. One of the great joys of living here is that we can read all about their exploits in Echomemories, Deputy Editor Chris Lloyd's regular page in the Northern Echo. For those of you outside the area, and are links to Chris's essays.

Today's essay is about an eccentric American called George Francis Train, who allied himself with the Pease family and built a horse-drawn tramway to deliver customers from North Road Railway Station to and around the town centre.

I found this article particularly revealing for two reasons. First, Darlington Liberal Democrats proposed in our manifesto for the last local elections that the town should be provided with a bus station, and that an environmentally-friendly shuttle bus service should operate from there, serving various places around the town centre. Instead, as Chris himself pointed out recently, we have the lunacy (my word, not his) of hundreds of buses a day careering through the town centre which otherwise could be completely pedestrianised. George Francis Train beat us to it by 150 years.

The second thing which caught my eye was this quote from the Darlington Telegraph, which apparently was brave (or foolhardy) enough to be anti-Pease.

The Telegraph accused the Peases of "brow-beating insolence, misnancying arrogance and impudent contempt of all courtesy." I've made a note of this for the next Full Council Meeting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike, could you please call youself a councillor of any other party please! I was raised as a dyed in the wool labour supporter, so it grieves me no end to keep agreeing with your ideas on such a regular basis! (just don't call yourself a tory please!)
This town is crying out for a bus station, be it an enclosed building like we had, or an open air affair such as bishop auckland has.
the non-stop flow of buses up priestgate is a disaster waiting to happen as I'm sure you will agree.
instead of merely playing a game of self-satisfaction, the ruling party in this council must simply start to do that which they were elected to do; namely to serve the people of darlington instead of their own egotistical selves.
however you look at things, this council has a track reckord of ignoring the obvious in order to court sensationalism: example in point being the throughabout;
if, as we are lead to believe, this is only the second in the country, then why would this be the case?
how about the fact that other councils with more money to waste than ours had already studied such things and had worked out that for a junction of four offshoots, the ideal junction is.........
you've guessed it, an ordinary, plain, simple roundabout.
how anyone expected the throughabout to be a succes controlled as it is by numerous sets of traffic lights and located in such close proximity to the traffic lights at the new college is beyond comprehension.
the licensing department of our council currently requires taxi proprietors who allow other drivers to drive their cars to take out emplyers' liability insurance, even when the drivers are self-employed (most drivers in the town work on a percentage basis and, as such, are actually self-employed as recognised by revenue and customs)
this is quite simply a requirement borne out of a need to justify their existence and not out of knowledge or understanding as can be proven by simply asking the questions.. how many members of the department have been self-employed, worked in insurance or driven a cab?I do believe that the answer to allthree questions is the same.. NONE
these are the same folks who recently decided to increase the licence fees for pubs and cafes to use the pavements! in the face of economic slowdown and the no-smoking laws I would have thought it better to abolish the fee in order to encourage businesses to survive and obey the law whilst doing so!
as ever password out of sync mike..
regards ian