Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011


Dear Jon,

Here is an unfortean but funny bit of nonsense for you that could only happen in Seaham I have entitled.....

Ebeneezer (Long Train Running, Road To Nowhere) Goode

In a bid to rid the railways of manned signal boxes, the rail bosses decided to build an underpass next to Seaham rail station so people can move freely without having to rely on the signal man to open and close the gates when a train passes by. So far, so good.

The tunnel was cut and almost completed when the engineers hit a snag. There was the small problem of a newsagents shop and an Ebeneezer Gospel Church in the way! For some reason, best known to themselves, the rail bosses neglected to buy the aforementioned buildings and now the digging has come to a standstill.

“This is costing us money” a spokesman for the rail company grumpily said. “and the building contractors may have to stand down until this is sorted!” Indeed.

The local rag the Sunderland Echo had this to say..

'THIS is the tunnel to nowhere – thanks to a stalemate between landowners and rail chiefs.Worshippers at Seaham’s Ebenezer Evangelical Church turned up to a Sunday service to find workers clearing its land to make way for the tunnel from Station Road to Harbour Walk, beneath the town’s railway line. A mix-up over the plot’s ownership was caused by a map produced by a third party, which stated the town council was the land owner. But the church, which is the true owner, has not sold the site to Network Rail, causing an impasse between the parties and a pathway which only leads to a dead end.Church bosses are said to be considering a second, higher offer for all of its land, while Seaham Town Council has turned down permission to take the route through its own neighbouring plot, which links to the old mineral line pathway.

Council members fear a repeat of issues caused at the new bridge crossing at the town’s Princess Road, which has left those with pushchairs, wheelchairs or mobility scooters facing a diversion.Clive Todd, who runs a newsagents next to the station, said: “I’m not against the tunnel, we’ve got to accept the fact we have to provide disabled access.“They cannot build a path at the end of the tunnel now – it comes out to nothing. It’s a right botch up.”

Richard Whiteman, one of the trustees of the church, which has stood on Harbour Walk since 1971, said: “We are in discussions with Network Rail about what they are going to do about it, but the fact is we own the land and we’ve got a solicitor on the case.“We have the opportunity to improve the look of this area as a gateway to the town.”

The issue has been taken up by Durham County Councillor Dan Myers, who said: “We want to make sure the general public get what’s best for the community.“This is going to last for 60 to 70 years and we need to get it right now.”'

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said the halt to works was costing it thousands of pounds and added: “Unfortunately, as yet, no arrangement with the church has been possible and as of this Friday, the contractor will be standing down until the situation can be resolved.”

I like Councillor Dan's quip that "we have to get it right now". Tee hee.


Davey C

1 comment:

Geordie-dave said...

By the way Mr Downes that is not me on the photo, that is the Rev of the church. But now we know why rail prices are so high! If you want to build an underpass it pays to buy the land first.