Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Bicester Town Station gets a birthday facelift thanks to a County Council - 2241/5191
Written by Gwr2006 on Friday, 11th May 2007

[color=Blue]A major facelift of Bicester Town Station that has been taking place over the past year is due to be finished this week.The station, on the Oxford, Islip and Bicester line, was re-opened by British Rail and local councils in 1987, and the improvements are arriving on-time ready for the 20th anniversary celebrations that are being held on Saturday 12 May.[/color]

Brighter, better looking station
Last year, Oxfordshire County Council joined forces with First Great Western to look at ways of getting more people to use the line. A public survey revealed that a brighter, better looking station was high on everyone

Re: Bicester Town Station gets a birthday facelift thanks to a County Council - 2241/5196
Written by Lee on Saturday, 12th May 2007

[quote author=Gwr2006 link=topic=2241.msg5191#msg5191 date=1178919391]Richard Rowland, Regional Manager for First Great Western in the East, added:

Re: Bicester Town Station gets a birthday facelift thanks to a County Council - 2241/5256
Written by Gwr2006 on Tuesday, 15th May 2007

You'll be pleased to hear that it is already being planned Lee.

FGW and the county council looked at the options last year and carried out extensive market research with both agreeing there was potential for more trains than the 7 specified by DfT in the franchise. Bicester is the fastest growing town in the UK apparently, and a major housing development area but already suffers from serious traffic problems.

They are now working with Network Rail and the extra trains could be running by the end of next year once some of the track has been upgraded and some speed restrictions removed (work also being funded by the county council, or more correctly, from money they have secured for the railway from development gain).

The successful anniversary event last weekend not only attracted widespread media interest, it was supported by local MPs and councillors but more than anything it raised the profile of the railway locally and that is important as people need to be atrracted to the railway (which does compete for business with a frequent bus service). Reducing the fare is only thing, but it is part of a wider campaign, with more and better publicity, local identity and good integration that will get people out of their cars/off the bus and onto the trains!

I guess the situation is not dissimilar to NorthWilts is it, with the A350 and good (but lengthy) bus links into Swindon.

Re: Bicester Town Station gets a birthday facelift thanks to a County Council - 2241/5257
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 15th May 2007

Excellent stuff. I believe that it is the case that the line from Oxford to Bicester Town railway station will be upgraded with funding from property developers as a condition of enlarging Bicester Village Shopping Centre.

I also heard that they were planning to use money secured for the railway from development gain to help fund the East West Rail Link (of which the Oxford - Bicester line would form part.) Hopefully the extra trains (if provided & well - marketed) can bring us closer to that goal.

It is also a welcome move away from the closure proposal recommended by Jacobs on Page 117 of the link below.

"On the basis that a bus operation is available with similar or better generalised journey time, it is assessed that this service could be withdrawn without significant economic disbenefits. Significant cost savings would be secured."

Re: Bicester Town Station gets a birthday facelift thanks to a County Council - 2241/5982
Written by Industry Insider on Friday, 29th June 2007

I am pleased to hear that the linespeeds on this route are apparently going to increase. 30mph from Oxford to Islip and 40mph from Islip to Bicester is woefully slow (yet, is STILL competitive with the equivelent bus journey). I hear that speeds may be increased to 55mph for most of the route. Track relaying that took place between Islip and Bicester a couple of years ago makes that speed easily possible now, but work would need to take place on the crossings (and associated Drivers warning boards). Quite a lot of work would need to be done between Oxford and Islip to achieve 55mph running though!

Hopefully a 20 minute journey and an hourly service (rather than the ad-hoc times of now) would encourage a significant number of passengers onto what is a very lightly used service. Why-oh-why does it take SO LONG for simple schemes to happen though!

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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