Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Ruth Kelly Webchat (20/09/2007) - 4010/7599
Written by Lee on Thursday, 13th September 2007

Ruth Kelly , Secretary of State for Transport , will be answering questions on transport issues in a live webchat on Thursday 20 September at 10:00 BST (link below.)

Re: Ruth Kelly Webchat (20/09/2007) - 4010/7615
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 14th September 2007

[color=red]I have submitted the following:[/color]

The Government talks of cutting the carbon footprint and encouraging travellers to use public transport rather than private cars. But in some parts of the country key rail service have been withdrawn, leaving travellers with little option but to use private cars or impractically slower bus services. And the government does acknowledge the cost to the economy of extended journey times - in road building program evaluation, for example, a figure of 28 pence to 44 pence per minute is used to calculate the negative effect of a transport delay.

An example.

The corridor from Swindon to Salisbury includes 6 Strategically Significant Cities and Towns slated for major growth in the next 20 years. They are linked by a road intrastructure that is already creaking at the seams with major delays, and by a railway line maintained to a high standard, but with just 2 passenger trains each way a day after the majority of services were withdrawn last December.

Would Ms Kelly care to use this service as an example, and take the opportunity to announce the return of an appropriate service in the near future. I understand from talking personally with directors at First Great Western that they are more than willing to run the service, and I have also letters of support for the service from local transport authority - Wiltshire County Council.

[[I am pre-posting this question, to allow Ms Kelly as much time as possible to look into the example and come back with a good answer.

Re: Ruth Kelly Webchat (20/09/2007) - 4010/7759
Written by Lee on Saturday, 22nd September 2007

I cant seem to find your question in the transcript , Graham..........

Re: Ruth Kelly Webchat (20/09/2007) - 4010/7762
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Saturday, 22nd September 2007

[quote author=Lee link=topic=4010.msg7759#msg7759 date=1190463781]
I cant seem to find your question in the transcript , Graham..........

Perhaps I clicked on the wrong button when I submitted it, or I come from the wrong part of the country. There were London questions, of course, and there were general questions.  One other questioner did ask a localish question and got "through":

Ben Rattigan: Will the Secretary of State intervene in the Tees Valley metro plan and expand the scheme to the Hartlepool area from the outset and also bring the scheme forward to benefit an area with the worst public transport infrastructure?

Ruth replies: There are lots of questions from all of you out there about local transport schemes and I understand that these are probably the most significant for you. However, I am really keen that decisions are made as close to local people as possible and not from Whitehall. It is not always my role to intervene in what are rightly local decisions. I am not sure if this is one that may or may not end up coming to the department. If it is, then I will have to look at the case on its merits.

I'm suspecting that this answer might signal that the TransWilts and other transport plans that don't stretch for hundreds of miles should be decided much more locally that thay have been in the past ... in which case perhaps we can start to get something along the lines that DP and AG have been working on.  One lives in hope that, with Ms Kelly's approach taken here, a request coming up from this Shire might be approved "on the nod" if it's reasonable case.

Re: Ruth Kelly Webchat (20/09/2007) - 4010/7783
Written by Lee on Monday, 24th September 2007

On the other hand , such decisions could be left in the hands of the Government Office Of The South West , which has a known bias in favour of bus over rail (link below.)

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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