Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Severn Beach Line Problem (19/01/2007) - 1135/3251
Written by Lee on Friday, 19th January 2007

The Severn Beach line train , due at Sea Mills at 1653 was stopped at the tunnel signal at Clifton Down for over an hour , and passengers were detrained through the rear of the train back onto the Clifton Down platform.

Re: Severn Beach Line Problem (19/01/2007) - 1135/3273
Written by Lee on Saturday, 20th January 2007

More on this from FOSBR :

It appears that the incident was due to the presence of a broken down train somewhere beyond Clifton Down, and possibly another train sent out to recover it. It is therefore entirely the responsiblity of First Great Western (FGW) .

Despite this situation being already known, it appears that FGW chose to allow passengers to board at Clifton Down, and then moved the train forward the short distance to the red signal, where it stopped, effectively confining them just beyond Clifton Down for nearly an hour, which could have been predicted before leaving the platform.

It also appears that it was only possible to detrain because the service was unusually made up of three coaches, leaving the last door still on the level part of the platform. Apparently FGW have no procedure for setting back in these circumstances, and without the fortunate accident of an unusually long train, it appears likely that the passengers would still be confined.

Two replacement buses arrived about 15 min after the passengers were disembarked, which is hardly prompt given that the problems must have been known probably about two hours by then.

The whole affair, arising first from reliability problems entirely within FGW responsibility, appears to have been grossly mismanaged, and as slowly as possible.

Re: Severn Beach Line Problem (19/01/2007) - 1135/3306
Written by jonshaw1uk on Monday, 22nd January 2007

I was on that train - we were told at Temple Meads that it would only go as far as Redland before returning to Temple Meads. Once on the train, no announcements were made and no staff were on the train to tell people getting on about the problem. I got off at Redland, assuming that everybody else would as well - I was quite surprised when lots of people stayed on and the train carried on towards Clifton Down. I'm very pleased I got off now!

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Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.

Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.

The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.

We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.

-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021

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