Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Eurorail Freight Route - 330/942
Written by Lee on Thursday, 20th July 2006

Here is a link on this.

Quote from the above link :

"The key is to use the underused or even abandoned railways closed by Dr Beeching so as to minimise costs and disruption and their impact on town and cities, to separate goods from passenger traffic and to free up more road and rail capacity - a golden benefit to everyone stuck in traffic jams in these times of rising oil prices and looming energy crises."

One of the "underused lines" on the proposed route is the Settle - Carlisle line. Here is a relevant link.

Another is the Penistone line. Here is a link on this.

The Eurorail Freight Route is a modified version of the Central Railway proposal (link below.)

Here is a link to the proposed Central Railway Route.

As you can see from the links below , the route would run on the existing Liverpool - Manchester passenger line via Newton-le-Willows to Manchester Victoria.

The route would then run east through Manchester Victoria towards Ashton Under Lyne via Medlock Vale (link below.)

Then the route would leave the Manchester Victoria - Stalybridge line west of Ashton-Under-Lyne to link into a freight-only line running east of the Manchester ring road motorway to Guidebridge and Audenshaw where the route continues along the existing passenger railway through Hattersley towards Hadfield (link below.)

Here is a railway map of the area (Page 2 of the link below.)

The proposal was then to upgrade the existing passenger railway to Hadfield and from there eastwards to reinstate the dismantled railway across the Pennines to Sheffield via the abandoned five-kilometre Woodhead Tunnel. Here is a relevant link.

What is important to remember is that , while Central Railway envisaged a route that would also be used by passenger trains , the Eurorail Freight Route is proposed to be for freight trains only.

Here is an article on the recent Northern Rail Review.

Here is a quote from a section of the original Beeching Report (Pages 11 & 12 of the link below.)

"As in the case of London, fares on these services feeding other cities are low, sometimes very
low, and none of them pays its way. There is no possibility of a solution being found,
however, merely by increasing or by reducing fares. Increases in fares on rail services alone
would drive traffic to available alternative modes of travel and yield little increase in revenue,
if any. Decreases would increase traffic, but short peak periods of traffic at even saturation
level would not support the services with fares lower than at present. Therefore, if the
services are to be regarded as essential, the municipalities concerned must join with the
railways and bus interests to evolve a co-ordinated system of services, with due regard to the
economics of both forms of transport. It is, for example, illogical to operate subsidised
municipal bus services in competition with unprofitable railway services, without any attempt
to co-ordinate them."

"If, on the other hand, the services are not regarded as essential and coordination is not found
possible, the sound commercial course is for the railways to risk pricing themselves out of the
business and then, if necessary, close the services."

"The right solution is most likely to be found by 'Total Social Benefit Studies' of the kind
which are now being explored by the Ministry of Transport and British Railways jointly. In
cases of the type under consideration it may be cheaper to subsidise the railways than to bear
the other cost burdens which will arise if they are closed. If this happens, however, there
should be no feeling that the railways are being propped up by such a subsidy because of a
commercial failure."

Here is a link to the Northern Rail Review.

Here is a further section of the original Beeching Report which has its focus on 'Total Social Benefit Studies' (Pages 3 & 4 of the link below.)

"It might pay to run railways at a loss in order to prevent the incidence of an even greater cost
which would arise elsewhere if the railways were closed. Such other costs may be deemed to
arise from congestion, provision of parking space, injury and death, additional road building,
or a number of other causes."

"It is not thought that any of the firm proposals put forward in this Report would be altered by
the introduction of new factors for the purpose of judging overall social benefit. Only in the
case of suburban services around some of the larger cities is there clear likelihood that a
purely commercial decision within the existing framework of judgment would conflict with a
decision based upon total social benefit. Therefore, in those instances, no firm proposals have
been made but attention has been drawn to the necessity for study and decision."

[quote author=drew22299 link=topic=305.msg835#msg835 date=1152624295]
Investing in road and bus services won't really fix anything. People will always prefer to use cars etc. If the railway network and infrastructure was as it was before Dr Beeching we would not be suffering as much with traffic congestion.

Even with small stations like Melksham and other various Halts which used to exist it would all contribute to reducing traffic, if the railway was more comprehensive i.e, you get almost anywhere and quickly more people would use the trains instead of cars, and the most important thing of all is that ticket prices would be cheaper.

For example, take Bristol and its suburban railway, it used to have a busy network and still has the potential for it to be again. Bristol has a problem with traffic, and cycle paths and buses are not the answer. They reduce traffic slightly but what the who country needs in general is a better infrastructure, the rail network is a joke. Privitisation is one reason for this and the fact that a railway company can only have a franchise for a few years. Its all about money, and thats why things will get worse before they get better.


Here is a link from the Future Of Transport White Paper.

Quotes from the above link :

"5.17 We intend to give Passenger Transport Authorities the ability to choose whether to channel subsidy towards rail or other forms of public transport. In some cases, buses might provide both a better service and better value for money."

"5.18 We recognise that Passenger Transport Authorities may not be willing to consider this unless they can be certain that bus routes, timings and fares will meet passenger needs and work well with the national timetable. We will amend the Transport Act 2000 to make it easier for Passenger Transport Authorities to introduce Quality Contracts as part of a strategy that includes modification of rail services."

"5.19 Passenger Transport Authorities will be able to decide whether to take greater control of their bus routes and associated budgets by deciding which rail routes are best value and which would be more efficiently replaced by bus services."

Here is a section of the DfT Closure Guidance or "Railways act 2005: Implementation of network modification provisions." (Pages 7 & 8 of the link below.)

"7. In deciding whether or not to close a line, network or station, an authority or operator
will want to take into account a wide range of considerations. These will probably include:

The other calls on funding, including investments unable to be undertaken or
services unable to be supported because funds are tied up supporting underused
assets and services.

The willingness of national or local taxpayers to continue to subsidise the services."

Melksham is about to have its train service reduced from 5 well-used round trips a day to 2 round trips a day scheduled at times when few people would want to use the service.

"The contribution which the provision currently makes

Re: Eurorail Freight Route - 330/946
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Thursday, 20th July 2006

I'm all in favour of moving freight on underutilised lines and in favour of relaying former lines primarily for freight.

Re: Eurorail Freight Route - 330/971
Written by Lee on Sunday, 23rd July 2006

Here are the scoping documents for the forthcoming North West & Yorkshire & Humber Route Utilisation Strategies (links below.)

In both documents one of the "Issues and Problems" identified is "how best to serve low footfall stations."

Also indentified is "The impact of continuing growth of rail freight traffic from the Humber
ports, particularly coal to the Aire and Trent Valley power stations."

Here are some quotes :

"In terms of south Trans Pennine, it is proposed that the NW RUS will examine all services on this route. If after evaluation it is proposed to recommend changes to the specification of these services, this will be reviewed with the SRA / DfT franchise specification team to align with the wider development of the Central re-mapping process."

Both documents look to link in with the Midlands & West Coast Main Line December 2008 timetables. (see link below.)

Here are a couple of RUS - related links.

Re: Eurorail Freight Route - 330/984
Written by Lee on Monday, 24th July 2006

Here are some links on the events scheduled to happen shortly after the December 2008 timetables come into effect.

Re: Eurorail Freight Route - 330/1967
Written by Lee on Friday, 17th November 2006

A couple of updates :

The DfT have recently published the following FOI material on Central Railway (link below.)

Upcoming PWQ :

Chris Grayling (Epsom & Ewell): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his policy to protect the disused rail route through the Woodhead Tunnel for future rail development.

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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