Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/5700
Written by courgettelawn on Sunday, 17th June 2007

I am going to write an article of about 2000 words on the subject of the current and many public transport problems (not to be disguised as 'issues') in Britain and the lack of policy being offered by the government to solve them.  This will be contrasted with the major parties' slightly embarrassing efforts to fall over themselves offering the most viable 'green' policies to the electorate. 

I intend to use the campaign for improvements on the TransWilts line and Greater Bristol area as championed in the Save the Train and other fora as a case study.  This will not just point out the disappointing and uncoordinated responses we have received to letters, emails and meetings by the major players (FGW, DfT and local authorities, esp Wilts) but place them in the broader context of the inherent contradictions between local transport policy and sustainability policies both in the 'green' sense and those trying to tackle the ever-increasing problems caused by the immense weight of traffic on the roads.

For example, I will contrast the comparison between how the Westbury bypass has been dealt with compared with the TransWilts line.  I will include the example of the relocation of public services in Wiltshire and the problems of access (e.g. the move of the county archives and heritage services to Chippenham).  I will put this in the context of the government's round of super council Unitary bids which Wiltshire CC seeks to succeed in.  Throughout, making close comparison between one policy and another on a national and local level and the contradictions I see in them.

I would like your ideas on important themes to include.  I will not be going into any great detail.  This is intended to be a thought-piece to evoke awareness at a national level and get people excited about the subject.  Please leave suggestions here and I will try and include them all.  I would also like to kindly ask for any volunteers who will read the article before I send it off (probably to the Guardian and the Independent newspapers) for their comment.

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/5712
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Monday, 18th June 2007

I'm very happy indeed to help with ideas / data ... though most of my own views are out there and public (read what you need here

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/5716
Written by Lee on Monday, 18th June 2007

You are certainly free to use anything I have posted on this forum and elsewhere. Good luck from me as well.

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/5732
Written by courgettelawn on Monday, 18th June 2007

Thank you, both.  I will use this thread to post my questions and ideas.

You are right to bring up the issue of borders.  A vexed subject indeed.  I was thinking also of government bodies even more remote that Wiltshire CC such as the South West Regional Development Agency.  It occurs to me we should also be sending them our letters.

I quote from their website:
"Our goal is to improve the economy of South West England. This involves giving people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise and improving communications." [my emphasis]

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/5769
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 20th June 2007

[quote author=courgettelawn link=topic=2584.msg5700#msg5700 date=1182106351]I will put this in the context of the government's round of super council Unitary bids which Wiltshire CC seeks to succeed in.[/quote]

Wiltshire County Council is setting up a "peoples jury" to oversee the unitary bid (link below.)

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/5783
Written by courgettelawn on Thursday, 21st June 2007

I read the article, not very clear how they are going to do this or exactly at what stage after the bid (if successful) is acted upon.  There are still legal wranglings going on about the way in which this has been done so I suspect even if the Communities dept. assent to the request, there will be challenges. 

I will, nevertheless, keep an eye on it.

People's jury.  Honestly.

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/5954
Written by Lee on Thursday, 28th June 2007

Council leaders in West Wiltshire have urged the Government to throw out plans for a unitary authority for the county (link below.)

Chief executive Andrew Pate and council leader Graham Payne were speaking after West Wiltshire District Council had finalised its opposition to the plans put forward by Wiltshire County Council.

A joint submission was made to the Government last week with the district councils of Kennet and Salisbury.

As well as the district council objections , all five town councils in West Wiltshire are against the county council's proposals for a unitary authority. Many of the district's parish councils are also opposing the bid , together with the local MPs Andrew Murrison and Michael Ancram.

Meanwhile , county council chiefs have submitted their final report to the Government (link below.)

It is expected that a decision will be made in late July on which of the 16 bids made nationally will go forward for implementation.

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/5978
Written by Lee on Friday, 29th June 2007

Salisbury Civic Society is campaigning against a single Wiltshire council , fearing it will ruin the architecture of the city (link below.)

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/6018
Written by courgettelawn on Sunday, 1st July 2007

Interesting.  Thanks for the link.  However my faith in the Civic Society is not high after they backed a plan to build a glass and steel monstrosity behind the beautiful Georgian manor, Bourne Hill...

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/6487
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 25th July 2007

The Government has given the green light to plans for a unitary authority in Wiltshire , which should be up and running by August 2008 (links below.)

Re: My article on trains - your ideas please! - 2584/6585
Written by courgettelawn on Monday, 30th July 2007

Thanks.  I am collecting all this and as much of the public rhetoric as possible. 

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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