Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Campaign update - letters from the three main players - 3144/6498
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 25th July 2007

Three recent letters from my inbox, all received in the last few days

1. From Peter Painter, acting FGW franchise manager at the DfT
2. From Alison Forster, MD of First Great Western
3. From Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, Wiltshire County Council cabinet member for Transport


Thanks for your email - yes I am acting as FGW Franchise Manager until the end of September, when Peter West will return to the role.

I am aware that FGW have been looking at the timetabling of services on the route and are seeking to address the issues.

We will be having a meeting with them in the next week and I will be asking them for an update.


Peter Painter

Dear Graham

Thank you and the other members of the Railway Development Group for sending me your findings. We are always pleased to see rail travel promoted and there are some interesting points here that I have forwarded to Andrew Griffiths for consideration.

As you know we must first meet the Service Level Commitment and can then look to see if there are both commercial and practical solutions to the requests we receive for extra services. I am well aware of your feelings and know how important this is to you, but we cannot provide all the services people would like it see - even where we have survey information such as this.

I will make sure that you are informed as soon as we have the final draft of the timetable for December and thank you again for the survey and for your promotion of the line.


Alison Forster

Dear Mr Ellis

Thank you for your e-mail. The outcome of your survey has been noted and I would suggest that it is particularly valuable in that it demonstrates the popular local support for an improved service, especially to opinion formers and those with influence at the local level.

Here at the County Council there have been several meetings with First Great Western and one with Department for Transport Rail officers to move this issue forward. First Great Western have been exploring the possibility of an early improvement at little or no cost by providing extra journeys using the rolling stock and crews they have already got. Although this idea looked promising at first, they have not been able to find a way of doing it for December 2007. In any event this would not be a complete solution because the extra journeys would have to be at times when rolling stock and crews were not being utilised for other work, rather than at times to meet demand.

Although most attention up to now has been on the possibility of an early improvement as outlined above, First Great Western and DfT Rail are also prepared to work with us to re-examine the commercial potential of the route and the value for money that an improved level of service would bring to the franchise. This is a longer term project and certainly would not lead to a service improvement from December 2007, but does not rule out the deployment of additional resources and could lead to a service that better meets demand.

I hope the above is of interest.

Fleur de Rhe-Philipe

Re: Campaign update - letters from the three main players - 3144/6583
Written by courgettelawn on Monday, 30th July 2007

Well done for getting the responses.  I have received none to date from similar parties.

Now that the Unitary Bid has been approved I will be writing new letters to 'partners' and 'stakeholders' to ask them to pledge for improved and well-integrated public transport for the county.

I have also asked for more information on joining the citizens scrutiny panel or whatever it will be and the local community board.

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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