Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Where should we be going? - 358/1080
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Saturday, 29th July 2006

See the "shuttle" from Westbury to Southampton.

2006 - 2007 ... run it every 2 hours ... possible if you add another 153 and extend it to Swindon.

Re: Where should we be going? - 358/1081
Written by Nick Field on Saturday, 29th July 2006

Lets hope someone sees the potential.  I know what service I would catch to London if SWT win the franchise and run a service such as Graham suggests.  The demand is clearly there for someone to tap into.

Re: Where should we be going? - 358/1085
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 30th July 2006

Please bear in mind that's just an example, Nick ... the Oxford to Bristol service was an innovative success until it was killed off (long story there, I understand. Not for lack of customers, according to several versions) and there may be something in parts of that routing too.  Yet one of the big issues is that with so many conflicting players each who needs to make his own buisness case / profit, we're looking at best case at a playing filed that's not level and at a worst case at a playing field that's tuned on its head.

There IS a case for longer distance running / logical through routes.  A train A-B-C-D-E offers 10 travel options (A to B C, D and E , B to C , D and E, C to D and E and D to E), and a train E-F-G-H-I also offers 10 options.  Good conenctions offer many more.  But a train A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I offers 36 direct.  And customers prefer not to change (but see next paragraph).  Now the number of passenger going from (say) B to I may not be great but add up all the individual journeys and you've got potential substantive traffic ... 2 + 2 = 7.  These things can work very well indeed provided that there isn't a dogleg at E, and provided that there's no reliability issue caused by longer distance trains getting delayed; Cross-country services have suffererd very badly because of this; a later running Bristol Parkway to Temple Meads train I cause was explained as due to operational issues in Scotland.    If you should re-read theis paragraph considering "A" to be Swindon and "H" to be Wilton, you might like "B" to "I" and "A" to "G".

I've travelled, though not recently, by train in Switzerland and Holland and been impressed by regular connections.  If cross-platform connections between frequent (hourly) regular interval services were possible, then the train can become a way of life and usage grow.  I think I was just dreaming of hourly Oxford to Weymouth and Cardiff to Portsmouth trains stopping across the platform from each other for 5 minutes at Westbury ... and yet there's a certain forward looking sense there. But it would need a political sea change and, good heavens, the railways suffer from too many changes already.

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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