Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Customer Panel Rep quits - 375/1134
Written by Nick Field on Saturday, 5th August 2006

I got in touch with Michael Owen who is the Customer Panel representative for First for the Chippenham to Keynsham section.  I wanted to make sure he was aware of our issue.  A few days later I read in the Gazette and Herald (local paper)
that he has resigned from his role on the customer panel because is 'fed up with the attitude of rail bosses'  I dont think the
article is online yet, but I'll let update the post when it is.

Re: Customer Panel Rep quits - 375/1136
Written by Sion Bretton on Saturday, 5th August 2006

Nick I tried for this role but was not picked, back end of last year.

Do the want "YES" Men & Woman who toe the party line.

Re: Customer Panel Rep quits - 375/1138
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 6th August 2006

In re-drawing the customer panel areas to cover the expanded area, some anomolies have been introduced; it's probably quite tricky to find someone who's aware of the issues of both the Chippenham to London commuter and who's also "au faite" with Keynsham and it's Bristol link.  At a surface level, I know that high on the Chippenham concerns is the very high price of London travel, especially for people who make the journey one or two days a week in the early morning, but the big issue at Keynsham recently has been the dramatic reduction in services and shortening of already crowded trains from December.

Our own rep covers "Bruton to Melksham" and that includes all stations from Warminster to Freshford too. I know him; he was (for example) First's representative at the meeting we held last September, but the TransWilts service doesn't happen to be the one that he personally uses a great deal and I do feel unrepresented on the panel. It does appear to be part (or rather "most") of a panel member's mandate to convey news in a positive light from the operator to the customers, and as First have brought us little good news on the Swidon to Southamptton service, it's been pretty quiet.

It has proven possible to reach elements of FGW through routes other than the customer panel, so it's not (thank goodness) our only route to reach them.  I do sometimes feel that we still don't really reach too many of the decision makers as we're very much in touch with the parts of the organisation that are designed to buffer the planning, specifying and operating staff from the passengers - especially those like us who have a different view of where the future should be.

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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