Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Salisbury to Chippenham: an analysis - 3430/6881
Written by courgettelawn on Wednesday, 15th August 2007

I've just conducted a small survey of journeys between Salisbury and Chippenham by rail.  Looking for journey length and connection times.  I used the website for this. 

The first thing I noticed above the results is this:
"Please be aware, you may need to buy separate tickets for this journey, as a through ticket may not be available. If you don't want to travel via this route, click 'Restart journey' at the bottom of the page and try again."

I have to say this is news to me.  Although I have not made the journey regularly owing to it being so pointlessly onerous each time I have I have managed to buy a through-ticket there and back.

I will put the full analysis of current service on my blog

Re: Salisbury to Chippenham: an analysis - 3430/6896
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 15th August 2007

You certainly need to be careful on Swindon to Salisbury tickets - there's a "via Bath" and a much more expensive "any route".  Of course, the shortest and quickest route if you're lucky enough to be travelling at 06:19 or 18:42 is NOT via Bath ... and in that case you'll find it's much lower cost to book Swindon to Westbury and add to it a Westbury to Salisbury.

Re: Salisbury to Chippenham: an analysis - 3430/6957
Written by courgettelawn on Sunday, 19th August 2007

Good lord!  I haven't quite finished my analysis.  It is very frustrating as on paper it looks as though the two places are relatively well connected albeit the idiotic change at Bath.  With rumblings of any future for a passenger line on 'TransWilts' I feel it is important to make as good a case as possible to improve not get rid off this valuable link across the county.

I wonder how many commuters there are between Salisbury and Swindon and en route?

Re: Salisbury to Chippenham: an analysis - 3430/6963
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Monday, 20th August 2007

Salisbury to Swindon commuters will - almost inevitably - drive.  It takes 2 hours by public transport each way, and with four hours taken out of each day that would be a horrid lifestyle.    The AA web site suggests that driving - just 42 miles - you should allow an hour and 5 minutes.

My "Two hours by public transport" figure shocked the presenter of a BBC Wiltshire show when he was interviewing me live to the extent that his researcher checked out my facts while the interview continued - he admitted this live at the end of the interview when he said - "I honestly didn't believe that figure but I've had it checked while we were talking, and if I go to the station here in Swindon now and get on the train to Salisbury, I won't arrive there until 2 hours and 3 minutes later".

Top speed of an HST - 125 m.p.h. 
Top speed of a class 158 unit - 90 m.p.h.
Average speed achieved by FGW using these units for a Swindon to Salisbury journey at present - 21 m.p.h.

The value to the economy of a car driver's time locked in traffic is 44p per minute (a figure used in the calculation of whether a new road shoudl be built), so the cost in wasted time of a single journey that takes 2 hours and 3 minutes rather that 55 minutes - the best practical with a 158, I believe, is just under 30 pounds.  If even a half of that 30 pounds was made available towards running a sensible service ....

Re: Salisbury to Chippenham: an analysis - 3430/6997
Written by courgettelawn on Tuesday, 21st August 2007

Very interesting and thank you for those figures.  A direct service via Melksham from Salisbury to Swindon would take how long?  I know it is about 55 mins to Chippenham.

I also wonder what percentage of car journeys actually make it in just over an hour and how many, if given the chance, would prefer an hour's train ride.

Re: Salisbury to Chippenham: an analysis - 3430/7010
Written by Nick Field on Wednesday, 22nd August 2007

I must of travelled between Salisbury and Chippenham at least twice a week over the last 4 years.  The journey times for car and direct train are pretty similar, both take about an hour.  I tend to go by car more often now since the more direct service via Melksham was slashed last December.  I usually cant afford to waste the time waiting and changing via Bath.

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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