Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Reply from Tom Harris MP, re: complaints about FGW - 1629/4314
Written by courgettelawn on Wednesday, 14th March 2007

I had written to my MP Robert Key (Salisbury) about my dissatisfaction about FGW's performance, etc since the timetable changes of 10 December.  He, on my behalf, wrote to Tom Harris MP of the DfT (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport) who in turn responded to my complaints. I have summarised the reply here:-

Happy to post a copy to campaign organisers if it is of any use.  Don't get too excited but the more people demand answers, the better position we will be in to continue our campaigns.

I would like to thank Robert Key for getting a response on my behalf.

Re: Reply from Tom Harris MP, re: complaints about FGW - 1629/4316
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 15th March 2007

I get the distinct inpression that things fall into holes; as far as I can tell, they do technically have plenty of stock now to operate all the services and at a proper length, but much of it is unservicable - with the depot at St Philips Marsh not now expected to be complete until September.  So, alas, everyone tells the truth on that one.    Then the SLC (service level committment), sparse though it is, tries to specify service which are approaching what's needed to meet the passenger flows. But in some areas, over-detailed specifiying introduces the oddest of quirks (such as 2 Northbound and nothing southbound on Sunday "TransWilts") and in other areas a slight laxness in the specification means that the TOC can adjust the service to meet the letter but not the spirit of the specification - again a "TransWilts" example where the objective, according to a conversation I personally had with a top civil servant, was to continue to provide a viable commuter service from West Wilts and Frome into Swindon, but in realiaty the TOC has saved itself the cost of a train set by running a train in marginal time.

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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