|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Comparing our line with Exeter to Barnstaple - 4434/8197
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 14th October 2007
Extracted from a question I asked Julian Crow of First Great Western, who was commenting on the 35% growth on the lilne in Devon and the improvements they are making in light of the extra traffic
I commended Julian on the 35% grown in a year on the Barnstaple line and congratulated them on looking to step up services as a result. I pointed out that the ORR had quoted 35% growth for the TransWilts through Melksham, and yet the service there had been cut by 60%. I asked Julian for his advise on how to achieve a similar result in Wiltshire - a growth of service. Answers provide both by Julian and by other expert campaigners in the room:
i) Grow the passenger numbers
ii) Engage the community and bodies
iii) Look to show ways of helping reduce the cost of provision
iv) Make it visible to the Government ("embarrass them" says soneone else)
v) Note the co-operative funding in Devon and Cornall. Bring similar to bear.
It was pointed out that there would probably be the need to justify an extra unit (ah, but we may have the South of Salisbury leg of the FGW Soton shuttle?) and crews.
Talk of using a 142 (but unlikely, since they're all to be shedded at Exeter). I flew the idea of working one up from Exeter each morning, giving a Axminster / Yeovil / From to Swindon commuter train arriving there at around 08:50, round trips during the day, heading off back home at 17:45 via the same route.
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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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