Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
South to North - TransWilts: Response about Key Bus Route Network - 4120/7732
Written by courgettelawn on Friday, 21st September 2007

So the councillor says financing the trains is too expensive and buses more economical.  The bus department says financing the buses is too expensive too... so much for the Key Bus Route Network.  The letter is from the Passenger Transport Unit at WCC (Bus Network Manager).

Thank you for your email - apologies for the delay in replying but we are currently very busy dealing with school transport issues that have arrsien during the new school term..

The Wiltshire Key bus route network is the name given to the existing main bus services that operate between the Wiltshire Towns.  On these services we try to ensure that buses run at least once per hour during the daytimes on weekdays and that if these services serve a City or large town, that evening and Sunday services are provided whenever possible.  We are also gradually upgrading the bus stops and bus shelters on these routes and encouraging the operators to use modern low floor buses.

The buses to Devizes from Salisbury & Chippenham are part of the key bus network and until recently were designed to connect at Devizes with through fares available (the idea of a through service was investigated but proved to be too expensive).  However despite these connections having been in existance for 3 years, the number of passengers travelling from Salisbury through to Chippenham (or vica versa) was minimal, possibly because the total journey time was almost 2 hours and because (apart from the Record Office), there is very little in Chippenham to attract people from Salisbury.  In addition, residents in Chippenham have traditionally preferred to shop in Bath and Swindon which are considerably closer and quicker to get to.

Unfortunately for financial reasons, the timetables for both these services have to be geared around the needs of school and College students and so when the start and finish times at Devizes School were altered, the Chippenham service had to follow suit, making the connections with the Salisbury service much less attractive.  We will be looking at whether we can retime the Salisbury service during 2008 but unfortunately with the small number of passengers using the previous connections, we regret that this cannot be a high priority.

With regard to other ways of getting from Salisbury to Chippenham, the train is still the quickest option depending on the connection times in Bath.  Alternatively, you might wish to use bus service X4 (or the train) to travel from Salisbury to Trowbridge, then take buses 234 or X34 to continue on to Chippenham.  However, this option is still likely to take about 2 hours.

I am sorry that I cannot provide you with a more positive solution to your problem, but if you would like me to send you timetables for any of the services listed above, please email me your postal address.


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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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