Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Serious access issues for new Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre - 2541/5642
Written by courgettelawn on Tuesday, 12th June 2007

In a recent Salisbury Journal, there was a brief story about the move of Wiltshire's record office, archaeology, conservation (from Salisbury) and museums service from Trowbridge to Chippenham (due to open some time after October 2007).

This has serious implications for access (which all are claiming will be 'increased' due to the state-of-the-art facilities) especially from the rest of the county.  I wrote the following letter to Salisbury Journey which was published in last week's edition:

Dear Postbag,

I was very excited to read about the developments to move Wiltshire's
archives to a new purpose-built centre in Chippenham (Jounral, 31 May,
p. 5).

However, do those involved with this project realise how difficult it
is going to be to reach the centre from the south of the county by
public transport?  Since First Great Western slashed services on the
TransWilts line (Salisbury-Swindon via Melksham) last December, you
have to now leave the county (change at Bath) and re-enter it, adding
more than 45 minutes to a journey which should take about 55 minutes.
There is currently one direct train a day from Salisbury to Chippenham
timed at 19.05, arriving 20.00!

I have written to First Great Western and Wiltshire County Council
about the poor service on the line and its implications, especially in
view of the current Unitary Bid and increasing traffic problems when
crossing the county.  Unsatisfactory replies were given by both.  Many
people who use services such as record offices want to travel by
public transport and so it is very disappointing that Wiltshire have
not been more joined-up in their thinking about the location of its
services and the access issues therein.

Re: Serious access issues for new Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre - 2541/5647
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 13th June 2007

That's right on track and much appreciated ... I *am* more optimistic at the moment with regard improvements from December - not out of the woods by a long way (and not optimistic for an appropriate service - just a step in the right direction) but we ARE getting somewhere.

What is the comparable time by bus?  Is there a direct bus?

Re: Serious access issues for new Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre - 2541/5690
Written by courgettelawn on Saturday, 16th June 2007

No, there is no direct bus to Chippenham from Salisbury.  Being in the Wilts and Dorset area means we are connected to places like Bournemouth and Southampton better than Chippenham, Swindon, etc. 

From Salisbury, the options are:

Get the no. 2 to Devizes via Shrewton and change there for onward services to Chippenham (no. 33). 
Earliest bus that connects leaves Salisbury Bus Station 08.35, arrives Devizes 09.45 and then onwards to Chippenham arriving 10.28.


Re: Serious access issues for new Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre - 2541/5698
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 17th June 2007

That's Horrid!    The train used to take less than half that time, and it was direct too.  You would think that Wiltshire County Council could organise better public transport between their two largest urban areas, wouldn't you  ;)

Re: Serious access issues for new Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre - 2541/5946
Written by Nick Field on Thursday, 28th June 2007

I remember there being an outcry from South Wiltshire residents about public transport access to the new records office, but Wiltshire county Council pushed ahead with it anyway.

Re: Serious access issues for new Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre - 2541/6019
Written by courgettelawn on Sunday, 1st July 2007

Do you by any chance remember where this outcry was aired, I would be very interested.  I'll check the archives of Salisbury Journal but if you have any other references, I would be very grateful.

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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