Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
South to North - TransWilts: My letter about Key Bus Route Network - 4119/7731
Written by courgettelawn on Friday, 21st September 2007

Following correspondence with Cllr Fleur de Rhe Philipe, I enquired about the so-called inter-urban Wilts Key Bus Route Network.  Note that the councillor said this was an option for people travelling across the county but the respondent from WCC (see thread above) recognised it was not a very good one citing cost as a prohibitive factor:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am enquiring about inter-urban travel in Wiltshire.  I live in Salisbury and need to travel to Chippenham regularly to visit my sister and also, imminently, to use the county archives and local studies library there.

However I am having difficulty deciding on the best mode of transport.

From my own enquiries on the Wilts and Dorset Buses website, I found traveling by bus complicated as one has to change in Devizes and the connections are difficult to fathom.  The rail option seems to me ridiculous owing to having to travel all the way to Bath before re-entering the county to go to Chippenham, a journey of almost two hours, and costly.

I have heard that Wiltshire operate such a thing as the Key Bus Route Network to connect the main urban areas of the county such as Salisbury, Westbury, Chippenham, etc.  Please can you give me more information about this network and when it will be in operation (if it is not already)?

I would be everso grateful for any information you can give me to help me travel to Chippenham in the simplest way possible.

With all my best wishes,

Re: South to North - TransWilts: My letter about Key Bus Route Network - 4119/7735
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 21st September 2007

The County Archives that you mention are holding an open day on 13th October, and inviting people to come along and see them.  I wrote in to ask for tickets:

I understand that you are holding an open day at the new history centre on 13th October. I would love to come along and see you at your new location; can you send me a ticket, please?

As I have an afternoon appointment already in that day, I'll need to come in the morning. ..... [snip] ....... how I can get from Melksham and back by train?



To which they replied:


Thank you

I have put two tickets in tonight's post for you.

I have also attached a map of how to find us. We are next to Chippenham
railway station
So travelling by train would be ideal.

[Name deleted]
Heritage Services Administrator, Community Services
Wiltshire County Council

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
Cocklebury Road
SN15 3QN

A couple of further letters lead to my correspondent coming to the same conclusion that I had done - that although there's a train that takes just 10 minutes at 09:22 from Melksham to Chippenham,  the only practical way back by public transport from Chippenham Station to Melksham after my viewing at about 11 O'Clock is actually for me to walk across Chippenham to the bus station for the midday bus.  The first direct bus of the day from Chippenham Railway Station to Melksham doesn't leave until 15:15, and the first train until 15:35.

I'm slightly surprised at the answer I got - I would have expected the Adminsitrator at the new centre to be aware just how poorly connected they're going to be to the south of the county ... but it looks like I'm the one that brought than news to them.

Re: South to North - TransWilts: My letter about Key Bus Route Network - 4119/7736
Written by Nick Field on Friday, 21st September 2007

Sorry but some things you've just got to laugh at!

'travelling by train would be ideal' -  from Swindon or outside the county perhaps! 

How many of us (and others) have highlighted the lack of direct train services from elsewhere in Wiltshire?

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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