Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Proposed change - from December 2007 - 4124/7741
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 21st September 2007

From the FOI request RFI716.

A proposal dated 14 May 2007 from Russell Evans to Andrew Griffiths, headlined

Re: Proposed change - from December 2007 - 4124/7752
Written by Lee on Saturday, 22nd September 2007

Here are some other things that I noticed :

1) David Phillips (Wiltshire County Council , hereafter shown as DP) & Andrew Griffiths (First Great Western , hereafter shown as AG) disagreed on how many passengers were using the former 1320 Westbury - Swindon service.

2) AG looked at splitting one of the 4 - coach Weymouth services on Summer Saturdays so that 2 coaches started from Swindon instead of Bristol.

3) AG was directly responsible for taking units away from the Cornish Branch Lines in January 2007 , thus causing their bustitution. How does this square with his former reputation as their "saviour"?

4) Even if we had them , DP's revenue forecasts would be unreliable , as they are mainly based on guesswork.

5) Rose Costello (First Great Western) was broadly negative as to the revenue prospects of an enhanced Melksham service (DP attempted to counter this.)

6) They all knew that the Melksham line was going to be developed as a freight route , but let me be carry on being branded as a conspiracy theorist. Thanks guys!!

7) The Severn Beach 40 min frequency service was doomed as early as May 2007 , because AG admitted that no extra crews could be found , even if the rolling stock existed.

8 ) The formal stakeholder version of the December timetable did not include the extra Melksham trains.

9) The extra Melksham trains proposal would also have seen extra services for Frome.

10) The December 2007 timetable should have been published on the FGW website 16 weeks ahead of its start date. We are well past that now.

11) FGW & WCC had given up on the extra Melksham trains proposal as early as 25 May 2007.

12) I would draw your attention to the fact that the proposed 1031 Salisbury - Swindon service was scheduled to arrive at the Swindon bay platform at around the same time as the 1154 Swindon - Cheltenham service was due to depart.

13) You will recall that the extra Melksham trains proposal did not include a viable evening peak departure from Swindon.

This could well be because the optimum time slots for this (1715 , 1731 and 1745) were all taken up by HST services in the Draft December 2007 timetable.

The 1731 slot is "free" in the current timetable.

Quote from "Swindon - Westbury Option Development" :

"Prior to 2001 - only 1 or 2 trains each way

eg Swindon arr 0833 dep 1836 (1999)

Around 10 weekday journeys to/from Melksham

Low level of use from other stations (about a quarter of 2006 use)"

The 14 May 2007 proposal would have been of little use to us (although better than nothing , which is what we virtually ended up with) , because commuters would still have faced too long a day in Swindon.

By the way , here is a link to the FOI request.

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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