Mayor on the wrong track

It seems the Elected Mayor’s determination to turn Tynemouth into Blackpool has entered a new phase. She wants us to have a land train. Bless.

While London and Birmingham will get their HS2, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay are to get their LS1.

Not satisfied with spending £1million on a Meccano set – sorry, crane – the council now want a train set to play with and are offering £30,000 to anyone willing to supply and operate one for them.

Yes, a land train will be seen from next year setting off along the sea front filled with the happy smiling faces of holidaymakers anxious to take in everything our coastline has to offer.

Trailing behind it, as far as the eye can see, will be a massive tailback of traffic angrily emitting fumes to accompany those coming from the train.

Pausing to explain why the council filled the local swimming pool with rocks the train driver will progress past the Beaconsfield car park.

The train can’t stop there because its licence to operate prevents it acting as park & ride facility. It doesn’t qualify as a Public Services Vehicle (PSV) you see because, for example, it doesn’t have adequate brakes.

As it approaches the end of Beverley Terrace a sudden realisation will dawn that the train cannot navigate the newly elevated traffic calming section of road between John Street and the Clock Tower without causing head and spinal injuries to the passengers.

So after asking the passengers to disembark and walk to the Queen’s Head where they can rejoin the train, it will set off on its way.

Unfortunately, within a few yards the driver will find he is unable to manoeuvre the train and its carriages around the bend at the the Fishermen’s Mission without forcing traffic coming from the opposite direction off the road.

‘Oops sorry,’ the passengers will be urged to shout as they leave the wreckage behind and continue on their merry way.

And so on to St Mary’s Lighthouse. Oh the sights they can enjoy : The derelict Highpoint, Whisky Joe’s, Port of Call and Avenue pubs; the joy that is South Parade. Here (were it not prohibited as a use for the train) passengers could alight to enjoy hours of shopping a short walk away at Europe’s biggest centre for charity, bargain and kebab shops.

Next the piece de resistance: The Spanish City. It used to have a fairground attraction but now has nothing to offer at all except plans.

The train journey probably doesn’t stop to allow punters to examine the plans. After all there is only so much excitement people can be expected to bear.

Then the links...zzzzzz! the Rendevouz Cafe and then the Links...zzzzz.

Top speed 10mph plus stops on the way mean an estimated journey time of around an hour. Conservatively therefore the train will leave Tynemouth Village every two-and-a half-hours or so – a very long time for the next excited group of visitors to queue. Let’s face it nobody would buy advance tickets given our unpredictable climate.

This turnaround time of course will be extended further if the train goes to the fish quay.

Imagine the fun of going down Tanners Bank on the land train – will it be able to stop? And if it does will it ever make it back up the hill again?

Yes, the land train will double as a white knuckle ride – two visitor attractions in one. Just think it could do the same on Pier Road.

Meanwhile the pathways on Tynemouth sea front which our visitors have enjoyed for many years are collapsing and are unsafe.

The pavements on the sea front have become cycle tracks. Those who can’t get a seat on the train will soon be left with nowhere safe to walk.

I know where I’d spend the £30,000 and it’s not on a land train.

Michael Maughan