Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
19.50 From Melksham - 1848/4636
Written by Sion Bretton on Wednesday, 4th April 2007

I arrived on 19.50 to Melksham on 2nd April & 4th April.

On 2nd April 2007 1 person got off and 1 person on, when it left Melksham there was 1 person on the train.

On 4th April 2007 1 person got off  none got on, and when it left Melksham there were 9 people on the train.

Re: 19.50 From Melksham - 1848/4646
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 5th April 2007

Very sad.  The average number of passengers on each train in the most recent figures I have before the December cuts (FGW figures) was 34 and we're told that the the new service was designed to loose th quieter trains and retain the peak service.  So why is it that the traffic on a supposedly busy service is down to under 10% of the aveage on 2nd, and 30% of the avaerage on 4th?

Rather than just "knock", let me be constructive.  The new timings make for too long a day ... the "peak" services have not been retained, but rather they have all been scrapped and a new off peak only service provided.  Although the train one way or the other may be useful to a few people, a 2-train-per-day service should run close to the timing up to December last, with a Swindon arrival / turn around at 08:30 and another at 17:30.  Interestingly, such a service is WITHIN the SLC2 specification set out by the government.

Now - those new timings are going to loose extended day passengers (such as Sion); the train set used (now in the peak hour) could very usefully do a further round trip earlier in the morning and later in the evening.  So that;s 05:45, 07:45, 16:45 and 18:45 off Westbury and 06:45, 08:45, 17:45 and 19:45 off Swindon.  The extra trains would do generously better than the current services as they would make it practical for people to commute, either way, and have an extended day at one end - a usefule option not offered at the moment.

There has been talk of daytime servicing of trains; with this 4-train scheme, that's practical.  It would also be practical (with slight timing change to the earliest / latest services) to extend to Frome.

What say you DfT?  What say you First?  What say you Wilts CC?  You're all involved.

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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