Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Tories Claim Rubber Wheels Can Solve Rail Capacity Crisis - 3538/7020
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 22nd August 2007

Putting Paris Metro style rubber wheels on UK trains could allow a higher number of services to run along existing tracks , according to a report produced the Economic Competitiveness Policy Group chaired by MPs John Redwood and Simon Wolfson for the Conservative Party shadow cabinet (link below.)

Freeing Britain to Compete presents proposals for increasing the capacity of Britain's rail network within budget constraints. It says the current emphasis on improving signalling and lengthening trains is not nearly as effective at raising capacity as improving the traction on trains could be. The document claims that the rail industry allows a maximum of 24 trains an hour to run on a typical commuter track because the braking and accelerating time trains spend on station approaches makes it unsafe to run additional services.

However , the report says the Paris Metro has overcome this problem by introducing rubber wheels that give trains extra grip , enabling them to accelerate more smoothly and brake more quickly. The Montreal Metro system also uses rolling stock with rubber tyres producing the same advantages while some metro vehicles , the document claims , can also be driven on to roads.

The report's authors add that if introduced to British commuter trains , rubber wheels could allow train operators to run 40 services per hour over a stretch of track - an increase in capacity of about 65%. Rubber could be introduced either in the form of additional wheels on a special running strip , or on the steel wheels. While the report admits there would be costs to adapt the trains , it says these would be modest compared to the costs of alternative solutions to increasing capacity.

Interesting end quote :

"In a bid to cut bureaucracy and streamline the Department for Transport, Freeing Britain to Compete backs the closure of the Commission for Integrated Transport, which it describes as an advisory non-departmental body. Instead of relying on a single source of transport advice, the report says the government should turn to a wide range of think-tanks, universities and private industrial sources. It adds these should provide free access to the advice of all those pursuing a serious interest in public transport policy matters."

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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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