Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Warminster - MAJOR employment development - 311/859
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 12th July 2006

Prompted by comments at last night's meeting, I note that the Regional Development Agency has bought 37 acres of land for 5.6 million pounds in Warminster for redevelopment for employment - link. It was also commented that the SWRDA has also found money to fund (or help fund?) the Westbury bypass to facilitate access to the site, on land currently used by the Army Based Repair Organisation.

Further link.

I have written to the SWRDA as follows, and await a reply:

Dear Steve,

I've been reading your news about the ex-ABRO site in Warminster, and I'm delighted to see the prospect of more jobs being brought into West Wiltshire.

The Swindon - Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge - Westbury - Warminster corridor is growing rapidly, and no doubt a great deal of freight and worker traffic will travel in from the other towns along this corridor ... and this could be a major transport issue.

Are you aware that the direct Swindon / Chippenham / Melksham train service to Warminster is

Re: Warminster - MAJOR employment development - 311/865
Written by Nick Field on Wednesday, 12th July 2006

All we seem to hear from the towns on the trans wilts line is about 'development here' and ' houses there'

Re: Warminster - MAJOR employment development - 311/872
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 13th July 2006

Certainly, new roads can act as sponges to pull in traffic from many miles ... and end up with much more traffic that just that off the former roads they're immediately releiving. Thus a Westbury bypass will indeed put more pressure on the section past Leekes in Melksham, and on the Chippenham bypass; almost certainly, some traffic that currently reaches the M4 via the A36 / A46 will switch to the A350.  It's an ongoing thing ... the roundabout that's 100 yards from our home is said to be "grossly overengineered for its current traffic", and much of the Chippenham bypass is structured to allow a second carriageway later.  Get those fixed and you'll pull in - perhaps - Swindon to Warminster traffic that currently uses the A361 then you'll find you've got a bottlneck at the lights at Notton / Lacock.

But all there something really radical in all of this, it won't provide much faster town to town public transport services.  Look at the new Semington bypass ... the buses don't use it, and the only accelleration that they've gained is from lack of traffic on the old road.  It has to be that way of they're to continue to serve the communities.  The practical cost way to provide a fast public service between centres in West Wilts - an area that's growing into a semi-urban community as towns march towards each other - is to use the existing rail corridor.  That may involve the extra costs of redoubling Thingley to Bradford South in a few years, or putting the extra track back on the 4th platform at Westbury, and of building stations at Wootton Bassett, Lacock, Staverton/Holt and White Horse Business Park, but that's peanuts compared to the price of putting an express busway through Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury and Warminster centres and associated other roads to take the other vehicles displaced.

As regards infill, we need to look at the wider question "what do we want?".  Do we want more housing built in the area, and the area to continue to grow as the economic dynamo it already is?  At the other extreme, do we want to little new housing that there's a shortage of accommodation? ... remember that the average housegold size is decreasing. In 1971, 100 houses would on average hold 291 individuals. 30 years later, those same houses would hold just 233 individuals.

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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