Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Wiltshire County Council increases BUS subsidy, West Wilts to Swindon - 2109/4985
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 25th April 2007


Wiltshire County Council hails the success of the Trowbridge to Swindon bus service, with traveller level rising by 50% in the three years from 2003, and pledges increased funding for the service (current funding 85,000 pounds per annum).

"""Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, Wiltshire County Council cabinet member for environment, transport and economic development, said: "An efficient and effective public transport system is vital so that people in Wiltshire can take full advantage of all the leisure and employment opportunities available to them.""""

I agree with you, Fleur.  But I question whether a service that takes 95 minutes end to end (Trowbridge to Swidnon) is as efficient as it could be, when the train service that you could (but did not) support financially took just 35 minutes, had growth rates that were just as spectacular, and was looking for a lesser overall investment than the bus (the article talks of 500k; the train operating comnay was talking of 300k.

West Wiltshire to Swindon by public transport:

Bus, change at Devizes - 92 minutes
Direct train - 25 minutes

Direct bus - 95 minutes
Direct train - 35 minutes

Bus, change at Trowbridge - 130 minutes
Direct train - 55 minutes

Bus, change at Trowbridge - 117 minutes
Direct train - 45 minutes

Growth rate on the trains EXCEEDED growth rate on the buses, so I fail to see the justification of the different treatment.  I AM in favour of good buses - but also good transport by other means too, especially where it will save the daily traveller over 2 HOURS on his / her round trip.

Footnote - I have taken real bus connection times in the middle of the day, current service and they do look to be excellently set with just a few minutes between one service arriving and the other leaving - a real piece of good work between different operators than should be applauded.  That does mean, mind you, that there really isn't any scope for reducing  the bus times by improving connections.

Re: Wiltshire County Council increases BUS subsidy, West Wilts to Swindon - 2109/5019
Written by Nick Field on Friday, 27th April 2007

Upon hearing of this I am starting to wonder if FGW are actually in cahoots with WCC about where the the countys funding is best spent  ???

Re: Wiltshire County Council increases BUS subsidy, West Wilts to Swindon - 2109/5030
Written by tramway on Saturday, 28th April 2007

Starting to look that way....

Re: Wiltshire County Council increases BUS subsidy, West Wilts to Swindon - 2109/5623
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Saturday, 9th June 2007

((Update / for discussion afetr yesterday's meeting))

Wiltshire County Council have provided extra subsidy / support to Stagecoach for the X49 bus service (Trowbridge to Swindon) which last year carried roughly the same number of passengers as used the train (WCC press release figures for bus, FGW's for train). It is good to see the county's acknowledgement of the importance and growth of this corridor.    The bus takes 95 minutes and serves neither Melksham nor Chippenham; the train takes just 35 minutes.  I applaud the County's decision - it  should make a decision to support the train too into a no-brainer. Although the support for a train seat is said to cost three times what it costs to support a bus seat, the train is 3 times faster so that makes it a level playing field, doesn't it?

Re: Wiltshire County Council increases BUS subsidy, West Wilts to Swindon - 2109/5945
Written by Nick Field on Thursday, 28th June 2007

Here is an article about some buses on the 49 route having to be replaced by single deckers due to damage from trees:

Re: Wiltshire County Council increases BUS subsidy, West Wilts to Swindon - 2109/5977
Written by Lee on Friday, 29th June 2007

Here is a further article (link below.)

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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