Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Hi and Good Luck - 40/67
Written by howardc on Sunday, 9th October 2005


My name's Howard, I used to use the service every Mon-Fri from 04/2004 to 04/2005 between Chippenham and Trowbridge.  It was only because of the line and service that made it possible for me to move to Chip (from the north) yet work in Trow.  The office was always going to move to Chip eventually (which it did in April).  I don't think I've used it since April though.

It wasn't exactly the most convenient service - I had to catch the 6:50am and get the 4:50pm back which meant for a fairly long day but I live near the station in Chip and worked 100 yards away in Trow so it was ideal - 30 minutes door-to-door.

The only times the service was properly busy were during Glastonbury, when the London-Westbury service was closed or when some squaddies were due in or out (such fun that was!).  Other than that there was often just the 5 or 6 of us from Chip and another 4 or 5 got on at Melksham.  The journey back was full of fare dodging private school kids.

I can't say it comes as a surprise that its time is almost nigh but the sad fact remains that I work with people who've lived in and around Chippenham for x amount of years yet who knew nothing of a southbound service from Chippenham.  I did my fair share of evangelising but wish you all the best in keeping it running.

I never knew there was a service to Oxford - this would have been helpful last week instead of a 2 hour journey with three trains!

All the best,

Re: Hi and Good Luck - 40/69
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Tuesday, 11th October 2005

Thanks, Howard ... this isn't going to be an easy one, as it appears that the decision was made before the invitation to tender and perhaps (according to some of the information I've now got) even before there was any consultation. "The service isn't used as much as we would like ... so we can slash it".

The best we can do is to keep it in the limelight (without getting to the "nag" stage) ... and keep up the publicity too / help increase usage. Perhaps it's significant that although I've asked what sort of level would be hoped for in order for the Department for Transport to feel that the service was justified, that part of my question hasn't been answered.

Question ... how DO we reach people in Chippenaham and Swindon who travel to Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster and Salisbury?  You're right  .. the service isn't used more because they don't know of it but ... how to reach them ....

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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