Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Westenhanger, Kent .... another station's story - 396/1175
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Monday, 14th August 2006

The following is reproduced with permissio

[i]I have had a look at It makes our fight at Westenhanger seem a doddle.

Our situation is that for many years we only had a morning and evening peak service Monday to Friday. By putting a lot of pressure on the then franchise holder (Connex) we managed to get the station reopened full time with an hourly service 7 days a week.

Then 3 months after the station reopened, the SRA published proposals to drastically cut services to rural stations in Kent, taken on ticket sales. We were due to be cut to 6 a day with no weekend service again.

Luckily at the time Michael Howard (our MP) was The Leader of the Opposition and we got him to directly lobby the SRA. As things stand now we have been given a guaranteed minimum service level of 12 trains a day. Unfortunately Michael never managed to have this clarified. We still don

Re: Westenhanger, Kent .... another station's story - 396/3979
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Tuesday, 20th February 2007

Following update just received ...

Hello Graham

I thought you might like an update on the Westenhanger situation.

This is the year that Southeastern are carrying out a general review of the entire timetable to prepare them for the CTRL DS service in December 2009. This will involve a complete recast of the timetable, the most significant since the change from steam to electric in Kent (in 1959). The aim is to have the timetable done and dusted and ready by the end of this year.

We know that the minimum service specification for Westenhanger is 12 trains a day (originally specified at 6 by the SRA), but we want to keep the present one train an hour seven days a week. I have never counted them all but I suppose it is about 23 each way including the peak trains. Being on the Parish Council I got the clerk to write to Southeastern restating our much stated case, just to make sure that they had not forgotten us.

To be fair we got a fairly prompt e-mail back, but dropping the bombshell that this major recast is not being prepared by Southeastern, but by MVA Consultants Ltd. Therefore all our work in lobbying over the past two years to SET has been a waste of time!

A word of warning. Do not assume that the timetable for Melksham is prepared by First Great Western!!!

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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