Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Letter from Derek Twigg - 270/720
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 28th June 2006

I received a letter this morning from Derek Twigg, the Minister with responsibility for Rail, via my MP, Michael Ancram QC.

It describes the decisions taken, and denies the request to extend the Southampton to Westbury service back up to Swindon, based on flawed statistics that contradict statistics that ARE scientifically significant supplied to me by First, and also by their predecessors.

Full letter and my inital comment

Re: Letter from Derek Twigg - 270/733
Written by Graz on Friday, 30th June 2006

A typically imbalanced and condescending attitude from Mr. Twigg. I hope he gets a chance to see those photos you posted to prove that his 'study' is most definitely flawed.

A little off topic, but I'm writing to FGW today about the Melksham cuts with the hope that it will do some good towards the campaign.

Re: Letter from Derek Twigg - 270/741
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 2nd July 2006

You can email him (and all the other movers and shakers) via [url][/url] - a page I've just set up for the purpose ;-)

Here's the standard text I've provided, but you can provide your own instead if you wish.

[quote]I'm writing to ask you for your support in saving the train service
from Swindon in Wiltshire, via Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and
Westbury to Salisbury, Romsey and Southampton.

Although many improvements have been made to the draft timetables
that were published in January, the through service from Southampton
to Swindon remains withdrawn in its entirety, with just two trains
left on the Swindon to Westbury section ... a line on which there
has been 35% compound growth over each of five years, and where
passenger journeys are 109,000 per annum - that's an AVERAGE of
32 passengers per train, rather that the average figure of just
12 that was quoted as justification for the decision. This sample
was based, I understand, on a snapshot survey conducted over a
few days and is clearly unrepresentative now that the whole year
figures are available.

Particularly badly hit by the changes would be the town of Melksham
(pop 24,000 and growing rapidly) which would loose ALL its daytime

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