Station Master's Notes
by Keith Redfern
Hello again, it seems no time since I last put finger to keyboard. Christmas seems to take a never ending amount of one of our most precious commodities – time. The preparations at Kidderminster are enormous. Bob Leonard had a weeks holiday to assist, Mark seemed to have taken residence in the cherry picker, and I lent a hand as you would expect!!
The railway ran to Bewdley only this year, but our preparations remained basically as other years. Having put up all the decorations, New Year is the time to take them all down again, sort them out and restack the storage container. I took the opportunity to erect some heavy duty shelving in the container prior to refilling it so that when people extract the Thomas items (stored in the same unit) they don't now climb over the very expensive Christmas decorations.
Bob Brown has renovated a very nice wooden bench – the type with wooden arms. This now resides on the covered concourse. I have asked him to do some more, even if it means making small ones out of rotten large ones, and we've got one or two of those! Mick produced some nice labels to affix to the suitcases that he cleaned and polished for display on the renovated sack trucks and barrow. I think that I may have persuaded Mick to paint an advertising board for outside the 'King and Castle', similar to the one done by the station lads many years ago and fixed to the wall adjacent to the concourse entrance to the 'pub'.
I now have on hand the gates for the rubbish compound. The walling has been expertly done by Martin Wilkins (Engine Driver, Fireman – flashing blue light type, Bricky and generally a good egg). The gates are by Mike Walker at timber cost price, and paid for courtesy of the station. All we need to do now is fit them! Then comes the final job on this project, the creation of a sloping concrete floor to make good the drainage problem within the store.
Other items that need attention are the repaint of the platform edging repair of two or three taps in the sixfoot (the ones that supply water to the coaches), relay some of the diamond blue bricks which are loose on the forecourt, finish the décor in the Ladies, finish the windows in the Gents, strip and repaint the doors (original) on the main building and and and and — I'll go away now I think.
P.S. My comments in the last issue regarding the closure of Worcester Road bridge are now incorrect. The closure has been changed to October/November next, so no trains for six weeks, just think how much we could get done if we all put our best foot forward.
Please don't forget to tell everyone that the railway is due to reopen on Good Friday and we need many passengers back on the line as soon as possible.
The Demise of Imperial Units — Not Yet!
On 3rd January 2008 a petition was sent to the Prime Minister asking that:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to undertake to secure permanent derogation from those aspects of European Union directive 80/181 which will, at the end of 2009, make the use of imperial units of measure illegal."
Details of Petition:
"Since 1995 we have been compelled to measure and price merchandise in metric units but allowed to show the imperial equivalent alongside. At the end of 2009 it will become illegal to make any mention of imperial units. The ban will apply to all products, packaging advertisements, magazines, catalogues, etc. The economic and social effects of this ban will be wide ranging.
Industries which export world wide will have major problems - many parts of the world still employ imperial standards. Spare and replacement parts for existing equipment built to imperial standards will cease to be available - it will not be possible to package, advertise or catalogue such items. Thousands of citizens with interests in vintage vehicles, preserved railways, model engineering, etc. will be deprived of legal access to tools and materials to pursue their interests. Public opinion is firmly in favour of retaining the option to use imperial units of measure if they so wish."
The Government responded:
"It has been UK Government policy since 1965 to gradually change over from imperial to metric units of measurement. The metric system of measurement is now used for most transactions in the UK, although we have chosen to retain the pint for draught beer and cider and milk in returnable containers, the troy ounce for transactions in precious metals and the mile, yard, foot and inch for road traffic signs, distance and speed measurements.
However, the Government recognises that there are many in the UK who still feel more comfortable with, and therefore prefer to use, imperial units of measurement. The transition from units of measurement used for so long in so many transactions represents a fundamental change for many people. Therefore, although metric units are now used for most transactions in the UK, we negotiated a ten year extension, until the end of 2009, during which time imperial units may continue be used as supplementary indications alongside metric units. In light of the 2009 deadline, the European Commission undertook a review earlier this year to determine whether this deadline should be extended.
The UK has engaged positively with the Commission on this issue. The Government has argued strongly that labelling in dual imperial and metric measures should be extended indefinitely past 2009 and has encouraged UK businesses to do the same. As a result, the European Commission has proposed that the use of imperial units alongside metric units should continue to be permitted indefinitely past 2009. This proposal is now subject to agreement by the European Parliament and the European Council. It is also important to note that the directive does not apply to products already on the market before 20 December 1979 or to 'spare parts' required for those products.
The Government remains committed to its policy of continuing to encourage the adoption of the metric system in the longer term and it believes that this progressive approach to metrication where appropriate, allowing for gradual adjustment over time, is the right approach."
The Imperial system of measurement is ancient. It was not thought up by clever scientists, engineers or mathematicians. It is clumsy and units of different measurement are not compatible like they are in the Metric system. But it is a system where units are on a human scale and easy to visualise. It is a system I was brought up with and Johnnie foreigner isn't going to make me change. Hurrah for the Imperial system. Long may it live. And while we are at it, let's keep the pound — with twenty shillings in it.