Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Hello! - 1181/3374
Written by AlexN on Tuesday, 23rd January 2007

Hello, I have just joined up as FGWs poor performance also affects me daily and I have heard a lot about the good work being done by this group.
However, unless I am missing something, I have not yet heard or read anything describing the problems that those commuters like myself have travelling from Chippenham to Bath and Bristol.

I have now been commuting from Chippenham to Bristol every day for over 2 years and in that time there have been several fayre hikes (at least 5 or 6) and a reduction in the service provided, to the point that the December timetable changes have really messed up my working day. Does FGW care? unlikely
The problem with Chippenham is that it often gets left out, all we have is a basic service on the London to Bristol trains with no other options, unlike Bath commuters who also have trains travelling to and from Westbury, Southampton etc to catch as well.
Before December The first train Bristol bound was at 7:02am, followed by 7:46am (which in itself was bad enough having three quarters of an hour between trains), but in December the first train became 6:41am!!! I can't get to this train anymore, because I live in Calne and catch the bus to the train station and the first bus of the morning is no longer early enough! and a wait until 7:41am for the second train is unacceptable in my opinion (when I first started commuting 2 years ago we had trains at 6:56am, 7:27am then 7:57am - much better)
So now if I am lucky enough to get a lift to the station, I can catch the 6:41, get into Britol for 7:10 and into work for 7:30am! a bit early really when i was used to starting at 8:00am (at least I work flexi-time, others don't have that luxury) But otherwise I have to catch the 7:41 - when I first had to catch this train I was astounded at the number of people on the platform, the train is consistently overcrowded because a lot of people can't or don't want to make the effort to go earlier. It is ridiculous!
Some fellow commuters have it much worse. There are several people who travel from Chippenham to Filton Abbey Wood, the 7:02 before Christmas used to stop there, but not anymore now that the train has been changed to an old HST instead of the more efficient Adelante service and it now goes all the way to Swansea every morning instead of stopping at Cardiff. These commuters now have to catch a connection from Bristol Temple Meads to Filton Abbey Wood, and if one or other train is delayed in either direction - you can imagine the problems.
Then there are a couple of my friends who work in retail in Bath. They are supposed to start work at 8:00am, the 7:41 gets to Bath too late to be useful (and would put their jobs at risk for lateness), so the effort has to be made to catch the 6:41, therefore arriving at work well before 7:30. Having no flexibility in working hours means that they have to sit and wait around before starting work - it makes a very long day.

These are only a few of the problems suffered by the commuters from Chippenham, problems which weren't really issues before the timetable changes. Why must FGW mess with the timetable when it worked perfectly well before? (wait I'm kidding myself here, the performance was woefully inadequate regarding lateness and cancellations beforehand, but it was just bearable)
Many of us protested at the change of the 7:02 to 6:41 during the consultation process, but it really doesn't seem that FGW care one jot what the paying commuters think.
If it wasn't for the terrible traffic problems in Bristol, I think I would finish learning to drive and take a car to work every day. Well done to the government and their big plans to get people out of their cars and onto public transport!!!

Thanks for putting up with my little rant

Re: Hello! - 1181/3375
Written by Sion Bretton on Tuesday, 23rd January 2007

Hello AlexN

Have you e-mail/written to your MP, FGW also spoken to Ed who get the train from Chippenham. He is on the customer panel.

I know alot of people at Chippenham have no time to Ed. I could say more but he may read this and I get the train from Chippenham ???

Re: Hello! - 1181/3376
Written by AlexN on Tuesday, 23rd January 2007

Hi Sion,
Yes I know Ed, in fact we were talking to him only this morning about the train being late - again.
He tries his best and feeds back to us what he can, but I feel that we are just not being listened to.


Re: Hello! - 1181/3381
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 24th January 2007

Hi, Alex ... and Welcome.

There's such a complex array of services and connections around that we're all very mcuh interlinked, and the player in the "game" of DfT < --- >  First at the expense of the passengers are the same.

I wonder ...

What proportion of people make a direct (single train) journey
What proportion change
What proportion mix services from the old "Link", "Wessex" and main line services in their journey?

I'm casting around for common ideas to provide a common face  on things!

Re: Hello! - 1181/3383
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 24th January 2007

On the cuistomer panel - I've started a fresh thread called FGW Customer panel ...

Re: Hello! - 1181/3933
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 15th February 2007

Administrator's note - I've split off the post on the Hungarian Rail Tour from thsi thread as I think it was misplaced.

-- Graham

link to index of articles

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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