Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
3rd November - RailFuture Conference, Ely - 4281/7942
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Tuesday, 2nd October 2007

I'll be attending the RailFuture conference in Ely on 3rd November - a chance to meet some campaigners and notaries from a wider area and learn from them.    I'm also booked on to speak for a few minutes in the "how to succeed in a  campaign" section ... which is a bit of an irony since "Save the Train" has seen a 60% drop in services on the TranwWilts since we came into existance.

Re: 3rd November - RailFuture Conference, Ely - 4281/7955
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 2nd October 2007

[quote author=Graham Ellis link=topic=4281.msg7942#msg7942 date=1191309157]I'm also booked on to speak for a few minutes in the "how to succeed in a

Re: 3rd November - RailFuture Conference, Ely - 4281/8420
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 2nd November 2007

Presentation now on line at

Re: 3rd November - RailFuture Conference, Ely - 4281/8451
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 4th November 2007

I have posted a great deal elsewhere from specific talks - here are te issues that arose during the question and answer section

Audience Questions / Miscellaneous public Comments from the day

Asked about the removal of catering from trains and the closure of most travel entres, Gary Dangerfield said that Passenger Focus is disappointed at the loss of on train catering, and that the question had only just made him aware of the closure of travel centres so he would research that further.

A gentleman from the West Midlands commented that the West Midlands feel left out in the latest frachise award with regard to the new level of service and the quality of trains to be provided.

A speaker from Bedford commented on concerns on the line to Milton Keynes, where the trains are part of a fleet used primarily for Gospel Oak - Barking which is transferring to Transport for London. He was also very concerned at the loss of express services calling at Bedford in the peak hour under the new franchise that takes over Midland Main line, under which there will be more trains but fewer stopping at Bedford (gaps of up to 1 hour).  With both FCC and Stagecoach paying premiums to the government for their frachnishes that include Bedford, we stated that he felt they weren't getting value for money and should not be subsidising other operators such as "the franchise that includes Melksham". [[Correction of fact - the FGW franchise which includes the TransWilts service via Melksham is also a premium paying franchise.]]

A question was asked as to whether train company premiums should be fed back into the system via something like a "section 106 agreement" where the money is ploughed back into related community projects rather than going to the treasury. Gary Dangerfield commented that the money already goes to Network Rail who in practise charge far less for access than a true market rate - "The whole thing is not at all transparent".

The meeting was predominantly old men, and one speaker asked about the need to get young people involved in Rail User Groups and the like.  He extended that to comment that "It's hard to get young people out of their cars".

A question was asked as to whether we should have regional government / whether that would help provide for transport issues. I chose to answer that one, saying that I didn't feel that extra tiers would add even more to the confusion of who does what and the ability to pass the buck.  However, one of the big problems with a public transport network that links A to B where A and B are in different juristictions is the co-ordination across the boundary in terms of timing, objectives, finance and more and so a town-based authority does not work for interurban.  Having said that, which seems broadly to support the South West Regional Assembly, I commented that in our case the out-of-SWRA leg of the Swindon to Southampton service caused split responsibiity issues at a regional level.

National Rail Timetable - should it still be published?  View was "yes", news is that HMSO and Middleton Press may be close to agreement on a new national timetable, to be published in time to take over from the current one in December. Further discussions on the quality of individual line timetables and their availability at stations.  Were connections shown (yes/no), were trains run by other operators shown (yes/no).

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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