Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Petition - statistics / signatory details - 1364/3821
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 8th February 2007

Background: The E-Petition to 10 Downing Street asking for an appropriate train service linking Swindon and Westbury and other routes has now closed, with many more signatures than anticipated.

The current "TransWilts" service has only two poorly timed trains per day but links the largest towns in Wiltshire, and runs through county seat Trowbridge.

Here are the details and answers to "where do we go from here"?  This information may all be published, along with my contact details.

Petition Statistics:

* Ran for three weeks until 7th February on the Prime Minister's official E-Petition web site,

* Signed by 1,683 individuals, from Nicholas Abbott to Sarah Young. See for a full list

* Signatures include eight MPs (Conservative, LibDem and Labour members), five MEPs (also including UKIP) and at least 27 councillors at various tiers of local government.

* Signatures also include transport industry specialists, railway trades union officials and members, prospective parliamentary candidates and other well known names such as the actress Jenny Agutter.

* When the petition closed, it ranked at No. 57 out of 2,772 petitions on the Prime Minister's web site in terms of the number of signatures gathered. It was No. 8 out of more than 400 relating to Transport and Infrastructure, and the top petition on any railway / light rail / bus (domestic public transport) issue.

* "Serious" petitions with more than 100 signatures get reviewed by the Prime Minister's office and are answered by email to everyone who signed up, either by that office or an appropriate agency.  No time scale is given, but looking back to previous petitions it's likely that an answer may already be in preparation and might come quite soon.

* As a private individual who started this petition in my out-of-hours time (I have a full time job too!), I'm delighted with the response.  When I started the petition, I felt that 500 names was a realistic target and that 1,000 would be a miracle. Remember, 1,683 people have actually taken a series of actions (sign and confirm) to lend their support to a localised cause.

* I also administer the "Save The Train" web site, campaigning for an appropriate service on the Swindon to Westbury (and on to Salisbury) rail route - the TransWilts - where updates are available.  Passengers on other First Great Western lines also have an inappropriate train service which was imposed last December, and have asked me to help with similar discussion forums - these are now starting up at

* On the Swindon to Westbury line, I have been heartened by local support, and by news from First Great Western that they're looking at timetabling a train to run every two or three hours on the line. I am also encouraged by a letter via my MP from Tom Harris, the Transport Minister, saying that he'll consider requests for additional support from First Great Western if and when they approach his office.

* With a change in the rules for "Community Rail Partnerships", there is now scope for the DfT to designate the "TransWilts" service as community rail. And in any case the petition illustrates huge local support across West Wilts and the wiser area for the service. I am proposing to hold an meeting to look forward to ongoing campaigning and to support the service as follows:
        Date: Monday, 5th March 2007, at 19:30
        Venue: Well House Manor, 48 Spa Road, Melksham SN12 7NY
        Transport: We can arrange lifts off the 19:08 arrival from
                Swindon and onward transport afterwards.
        Accommodation: The hotel has limited rooms available overnight

* The full text of the petition reads:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to provide a reliable train service with adequate capacity at times that travellers wish to make journeys from Swindon to Westbury, Bristol to Severn Beach, Portsmouth and Weymouth to Cardiff, Taunton to Cheltenham, Swindon to Cheltenham. This includes all intermediate stations and journeys in both directions."

Graham Ellis
Well House Consultants, 404 The Spa, Melksham, Wilts
+44 (0) 1225 708225 (phone)  +44 (0) 1225 707126 (fax)

Re: Petition - statistics / signatory details - 1364/4087
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Monday, 26th February 2007

The numbers have now risen, even after the petition closed, to 1703.  I think this is probable because of people signing before the deadline, but not confirming until later.

THANK YOU everyone.

The and a bit weeks later, we await a response.  I'm thinking this may be a good sign - at least it means that we've not just been brushed off with a rushed answer ....

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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