Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
FGW & Network Rail in hot water - 4327/8035
Written by WyvusArconius on Friday, 5th October 2007

good morning,
I dont know how many (if any) of you read the "Rail" magazine. but the current issue sees the front page headline:
                                                          "NETWORK RAIL AND FIRST MUST END SHAMBLES ON GREAT WESTERN."

A chunk of the article is aimed at network rails appauling infrastructure management of the Paddington - bristol mainline, and the delays associated with that COMBINED with FGW's inept management of stock/crew/fares/timetabling.
There is also a choice quote that highlights FGW's failures with regards to the non main lines.
"It's not all FGW's fault, of course. Yes, it needs to make sure that the farcical shenanigans over fares, overcrowding, rolling stock shortages and the appalling neglect and jaw-droppingly crass management of the west country branch lines (which previous operator National express "Wessex" had re-juvinated) are never repeated."

Wessex trains did do a lot to make the smaller lines in the region work themselves. Heck, they had the sense to run 5 trains EWPD on the transwilts, a line which we all know is screaming out with potiential. They were very community minded. Maybe FGW should take that into conisideration: If Wessex Trains could make it work, why can't they?

Re: FGW & Network Rail in hot water - 4327/8072
Written by sumila on Sunday, 7th October 2007

Hi all,

Yes, I read that article. How typical of FGW to blame everybody else except themselves for the mess that they themselves have largly created. Network Rail is not perfect, but at least we admit to our mistakes and work positively and very hard to rectify them. It's not going to happen overnight (or at all in FGW's case!) but things are a whole world better than they were five years ago, and continue to impove. We put our money into improving the infrastructue, not employing poets for railway stations!

Thames Trains was another TOC taken over by FGW. Thames Trains run a good efficient service. Fast forward to today. Same trains on the same lines serving the same stations. The only factor that has changed is that FGW took them over - now look at the appaling service they provide (or don't in some cases!) It seems everything they touch becomes worse.

A Mail On Sunday article several weeks ago, by a First Group employee gives a good example about how they blame anything and everybody else. The employee had carried out a survey on suicides in the area and how they extensively delayed their services and caused widespread disruption. How crass is it to blame mentally unblalanced, and now dead people? And how easy, as their targets cannot answer back! A well run and efficient service would not suffer too greatly as a result of this unfortunate type of incident.
The blame gets passed regularly - almost like they have their own spin doctor in fact!

A school of thought says FGW will take over parts of Network Rail especially the signalling. Given their 'Midas touch' at taking over other areas, is this a wise thing? All the hard work that Network Rail have put in and the improvements we have made, will simply stop, and probably start to go in decline. If anything, it should be the other way round - Network Rail take over FGW. We have well trainned professional people, who like my colleagues and I, just want to run a timely efficient service - and we don't have share-holders to satisfy and pay a premium to. Profits ploughed back into the business will vastly improve it and quickly.

My colleagues and I find it incredulous that FGW still holds a franchise to run trains.

Re: FGW & Network Rail in hot water - 4327/8073
Written by WyvusArconius on Sunday, 7th October 2007

Hello Sumila,
I couldnt agree more. I am a lowly university student, with only a slight knowledge into how the industry works. However, everyday i see the FGW delays list in their site  ... I think i posted recentley about ten train cancellations b4 9am one morning....  Looking from the outside even i have to wonder how exactly they have still retained their franchise. i travel regularly between Portsmouth and Chippenham, and I see and hear all sorts about FGW's mis management skills. As someone who would like to work in the rail industry when I graduate next year, I dread to think what things will be like this time next year. but then again, this is why I want to. To help fix things.


Re: FGW & Network Rail in hot water - 4327/8285
Written by CJHarrison on Saturday, 20th October 2007

Frankly, Sumila, your post is little more than gross hypocrisy, scattered liberally with inaccuracies, evasions and general factual errors.

First, First Great Western do not blame everyone else for their mistakes. Alison Forster consistently maintained that FGW made errors of judgement and she apologised for those and the inconvenience they caused. She did so via letters put out on the trains, messages on the website, publicly at meetings and on local television. Such apologies may not help passengers who have experienced poor levels of service, but it runs counter to your claim. It also stands in direct contrast to Network Rail who hide behind the scenes rather than engage directly with customers.

Second, you say you put

Re: FGW & Network Rail in hot water - 4327/8286
Written by Industry Insider on Saturday, 20th October 2007

[quote author=CJHarrison link=topic=4327.msg8285#msg8285 date=1192836210]
First Great Western, on the other hand, are not subsidised and

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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