Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Types of support - 307/845
Written by drew22299 on Tuesday, 11th July 2006

There are people who agree that buses are not the answer and that they should be investing in railways and more services but then those in agreement to this will be criticsed for being rail enthusiasts.

In which case I'm thinking a different type of credability is needed in terms of who supports the case presented on your website. Yes, you have the support of existing passengers of the service from Melksham and Yes you have the support of rail enthusiasts but what about the rest of Melksham? This is why I want to know if there have been any serveys to find out if people know what sort of service there is and if they would use it.

Then any argument aimed at those in support of more services can be undermined and cannot fob people off with the 'oh their rail enthusiasts' as there will be proof (i.e signatures) that the population in general are also in support?

Re: Types of support - 307/846
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 12th July 2006

On "Train Enthusiasts"

Yes, I've noted the "train enthusiasts" argument - most recently in
yesterday's Independant Article (see other thread) where a National Rail Spokesman said "The only people who have been agitated about it have been the train enthusiasts,"

There's a view in certain high quarters that a "train enthusiast" is someone who stands at the end of platforms and gets in the way, trespasses on the track to get good pictures of passing trains putting himself and others in danger, and puts the case for rail forward when it's not the sensible option. The train enthusiast is typically male, is a bit scruffy, wears an anorak, doesn't mix well so is probably a bit of a loaner.

There ARE some unsavoury characters who are train enthusiasts, there are some train enthusiasts who won't look at alternatives for their own travel even when it defies all logic to go by train, and there are some train enthusiasts who will advocate poor cases. But for the most part, people who are put down as "rail enthusiasts" are well informed, putting a good case, and should and could be advocates for the services that run to the mutual financial benefit of both the Department for Transport and the service operator, and to the economic benefit of communities served.

Re: Types of support - 307/847
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 12th July 2006

On Surveying the Market

You ask about what support we have, whether surveys have been done and what extra traffic that's revealed.

Re: Types of support - 307/848
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 12th July 2006

On support from the rest of Melksham

Last September, I set up this web site, contacted two local papers and announced a meeting to discuss the threat to the train service. That's about all I did. And the room I had was packed to overflowing. "Bl***y miracle to get this many people out in Melksham" said one of the attendees.

Last November, I walked around Melksham advertising a Masked Ball in aid of three charities including a national Cancer charity, as my part of helping the organiser put bums on seats. With her agreement, I also talked "train". A few people were interested in the ball.

Re: Types of support - 307/849
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 12th July 2006

And Also

Please remember too ... that there are THREE prople who remain on the train through Melksham for every ONE who leaves or joins.  And THAT is another major market and it has huge potential.

Try journeys such as Swindon to Warminster and Chippenham to Salisbury by public transport - let alone all the journeys starting / ending at Melksham - and you'll see what a vital network of travel possibilities is provided.

Swindon, Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury ... all growing rapidly.  I understand the RDA has just purchased a massive employemnt site in Westbury.  Salisbury booming.  And even Network Rail's plans show the line from Trowbridge to Chippenham forecast for Medium growth.  How are they going to achieve that?  If there are only 2 passenger trains a day, it looks like it has to be freight.  Perhaps there's a key in that?

Re: Types of support - 307/857
Written by drew22299 on Wednesday, 12th July 2006

I agree that people tend to think of the sterotype 'train spotter' who get in the way when you mention rail enthusiasts, and that is to much of a generalisation as you said, people who put across a good case, well informed etc are somtimes made to be seen as the sterotypical rail enthusiast, which probably leads to their efforts not being considered.

I forgot to mention in my initial post that I am someone who supports the argument that buses are not the answer.

Re: Types of support - 307/860
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 12th July 2006

If we provide statistics that have holes in them, or where there's something arguable, then the DfT will pick holes or argue, and so they should.  Good statistics that we provide are countered by a quoting back of other statistics - usually the same, tired old flawed ones, which they suggest proves their case.  But then, don't politicians (note the small "p") often avoid questions / ignore facts by leading you off elsewhere.

I think we've been through between 2 and 4 draft timetables.  Some have not been published in full or at all, though.  First have NOT given any explanation for the moving of the commuter trains in the OPPOSITE direction to their passengers wanted in the most recent draft, but they have promised explanations behind the final timetable once it's final.

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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