Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/659
Written by Sion Bretton on Tuesday, 6th June 2006

It seems First Great Western were doing a survey on the service from mSwindon to Southampton. (06.56 from Melksham)
I filled in mine & posted it off.

Re: A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/661
Written by Nick Field on Tuesday, 6th June 2006

Tell us more - what were the questions, what did you say?

Re: A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/669
Written by Sion Bretton on Monday, 12th June 2006

I post off the survey but there wer questions on where you were going & why.
How you arrived at station & what ticket you were using.

Re: A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/676
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 14th June 2006

This is one of the aspects of the Melksham issue that concerns me most. It looks to me like First were conducting a usage survey.

Journey Statistics Link.

5% from and to Chippenham.

Here is Map 3 of the original Beeching Report.

Dean , Dilton Marsh & Dunbridge all appear as red dots (

Re: A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/679
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 14th June 2006

Lee, I recall reading a book a few months ago (I think it was past and present pictures of railway locations in Wiltshire), which remarked how vibrant and used the trains to Calne were right up until th earlty 1960s.

Re: A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/680
Written by Lee on Thursday, 15th June 2006

What happened to Calne (service suddenly slashed) was repeated at many other locations. This is exactly the danger that I believe Melksham faces now.

People are already being encouraged to "railhead" because of the significant amount of cancelled trains in recent times. The link below contains a good example.

This , along with bus replacement , is exactly what Beeching envisaged happening to the Calne line.

As Graham says , the Melksham line was not closed , but the stations along it were.

The Melksham line is projected to achieve medium - level tonnage growth to 2015. This is shown on Page 8 , Figure 10 of the link below.

I cant see that being achieved on the passenger side on two round trips a day.

Re: A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/681
Written by Lee on Thursday, 15th June 2006

A source who has been extremely helpful regarding Melksham and other issues recently reminded me that there are similiarities between Melksham station and Wetheral station , which is the most westerly station on the Tyne Valley Line.

As the link above states :

"The station was closed during the Beeching Axe but later reopened on an unstaffed basis."

Here is a link to the current bus timetable for Wetheral.[1].pdf

Page 76 of the North East Regional Planning Assessment.

"More selective stops at stations on the Tyne Valley route to improve the speed
and frequency at the better used stations and to reduce the delays caused by
stopping at the least used locations, and with the potential for bus/rail integration
at Hexham to give better links from the surrounding area to Newcastle."

The map on Page 39 shows the daily number of passengers for each station in the area.

The map on Page 42 shows the daily passenger trips on each section of line in the area.

Both are low on the western section of the Tyne Valley Line , and will get lower if the service is modified as described.

Page 88.

"The Tyne Valley route is a double track railway open on two long shifts but closed
from approximately midnight to 06:00 each night. It can convey RA10 (25.5 tonne)
axle load traffic and W8 gauge container traffic (8'6" containers).

There is roughly an hourly service from Carlisle to Newcastle operated by Northern
Rail, but also including four services contained within the ScotRail franchise and
operating through to south west Scotland. Most of the Northern services continue
beyond Newcastle to Middlesbrough via Sunderland and the Durham Coast. This is
supplemented by an hourly service between Hexham and Sunderland and additional
trains between MetroCentre and Newcastle.

The Tyne Valley line is used by some Anglo-Scottish freight and trains to/from
industries in Cumbria and there are approximately 13 freight paths a day in each
direction over the Tyne Valley. It is also used as a diversionary route when there are
blockages to either the East Coast or West Coast Mainlines."

As you can see from Page 7 , figure 10 of the link below , the Tyne Valley line is projected to achieve high-level growth to 2015.

"Coal traffic is to be diverted off the Settle to Carlisle
line and onto the Newcastle to Carlisle line from
time to time to allow planned track works. As a
result, the volume of freight traffic along this section
will significantly increase when such diversions

Here are some relevent links.

Believe it or not , the Settle-Carlisle line is also projected to achieve high-level growth to 2015. this is shown on Page 6 , Figure 9 of the link below.

One of the things that the Settle - Carlisle , Tyne Valley and Melksham lines all have in common is that their stopping passenger train services appeared in the withdrawal or modification lists of the original Beeching Report and nearly all of the stations on them were listed for closure.

Re: A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/688
Written by Lee on Monday, 19th June 2006

Here is an interesting link that refers to Bedworth station and the Coventry - Nuneaton line / service.

Quotes from the above link.

"In 1850, the Coventry - Nuneaton line was opened, originally for freight owing to the large amount of coal reserves but eventually, passenger services began operating, with stations at Chilvers Coton, Bedworth, Longford, Foleshill, Daimler Halt and Coundon Road."

"In 1963, the then chairman of the newly-founded BR, Doctor Richard Beeching produced his report on the future of Britains Railways. Innocuously titled "The Reshaping of Britain's Railways", the report still remains one of the most controversial documents ever produced on a British industry. Tasked by the government to reduce the ever increasing losses suffered by the railway, Beeching took a root-and-branch analysis of every rail line which was still operational at the time. The end result was the "axe" -

Re: A survey on the Train this morning 6/06/06. - 249/689
Written by Lee on Monday, 19th June 2006

Here is a link to the West Midlands Franchise Consultation Document.

Page 29 of the link above.


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

This site is hosted by Well House Consultants Ltd. (
Contact Information

Further Information:
 Current Summary
 Daily update
 User forum
 Service now
 Service future
 Future Analysis
 Recent Statistics
 Recent letters
 Letter to DfT
 Save the train
 Support us
 Other Maps
 Station facilities
 Station approach
 Trains diverted
 About Melksham
 Site Map
 About this site