Save the Melksham Train
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Interesting comments on county archive move to Chippenham - 3522/6996
Written by courgettelawn on Tuesday, 21st August 2007

I am taking the liberty of pasting below some interesting background on the reason behind the move of the county archive and local studies from Trowbridge to Chippenham.  It was left as a comment on my blog post about Access to Archives by John Ellis.  The full post and comment can be read here:

"As a strong and active objector to the move of the Record Office from the superior accessibility of the County town, I can assure everyone that transport, especially from Salisbury, where I reside, was very strongly represented during the consultation exercise. The Leader of the Council when the project as mooted said a new bus service could be arranged. That was a ridiculous response because it would have been uneconomic and dependant upon appreciable subsidy.

Typical of the irresponsible way that the project was conducted the comparisons with other possible locations was skewed in Chippenhams favour as were other important factors. The determination of the subsequent and current Council Leader to bag this facility for her home District was little short of dishonest.

She was warned that the Lottery grant of around 50% of the cost would not be forthcoming if the Chippenham site was selected was misinterpreted by her officers and ignored when it was drawn to the Council

Re: Interesting comments on county archive move to Chippenham - 3522/7000
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Tuesday, 21st August 2007

The said "John Ellis" is no relative of mine ... just in case anyone is looking for family ties.

I'm not enough of an experts on the subject of the county archives to make an authoritative comment, but I can't help agreeing with everyone in the South of the county that the move up to Chippenham, concurrent with the removal of the through trains from the South of the county to that town, seems to make your access much more difficult.  All the more interesting that the journey from Salisbury to Chippenham by bus isn't great either, and that all of the road have some major bottlenecks along the way and towns and villages to pass through.

I don't think you'll ever find a spot that's ideal for everyone to centrally hold archive records such as these .. but the very least that's desirable is a location that it's practical for people to reach by public transport (and perhaps by private transport too) quickly, efficiently, and at low cost from all over the area covered.    What do I mean?  Well - taking Chippehnam as my example, an hourly train service from the county's City - Salisbury - that completed the journey each way in 45 minutes at a cost of 8 to 10 pounds each way might fit the bill well.

Re: Interesting comments on county archive move to Chippenham - 3522/7009
Written by Nick Field on Wednesday, 22nd August 2007

I used to live, or rather I grew up living in that big cul de sac

Re: Interesting comments on county archive move to Chippenham - 3522/7029
Written by courgettelawn on Wednesday, 22nd August 2007

It all sounds rather bodged to me, especially following the reply I received just today from Cllr de Rhe-Philipe on the subject.  I think it claimed there is an inter-town bus service that that is news to me and it is not one that I notice from Salisbury to Chippenham, or Swindon but I will double check all this.

Trowbridge would have been more convenient for all told... but a better TransWilts train service would be best for all.

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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