Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
French - British Railway Comparisons - 446/1314
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 29th August 2006

Here is a link to an article entitled "French trains? They're worse than ours."

Here are some quotes from it :

"Britain has saved most of its network through an "enormous catch-up effort," but vast tracts of the French system are being ruined by a short-sighted repair policy, said Robert Rivier, a Swiss professor."

"Mr Rivier, the author of a damning audit on the railway ordered by the French government, said track needed to be renewed and ageing or underused lines closed, rather than patching up infrastructure."

"While the TGV network remained the envy of the world, the high-speed system only ran on 1,000 miles of track from a total of 19,000 miles. The smaller regional lines have been left by the wayside, Mr Rivier said."

"He estimated that two thirds of the national network would be unusable by 2025."

"In Great Britain, it took dozens of deaths, after which the British took remarkable action," he said."

"They made choices, set out a long-term strategy and chose to scrap parts of the network. The French have that ahead of them."

[quote author=Lee link=topic=420.msg1266#msg1266 date=1156339021]Here are a couple of quotes from the Network Rail Business Plan 2006 :

"The creation of the Greater Western franchise in April 2006 will see the introduction of a simplified train service structure for the route, particularly west of Taunton, from December 2006. This will eradicate some of the current service duplication and better meet existing demand."


The age of rail and sleepers on the route is amongst the highest on the national network and varies between 30 and 40 years old and to address this we are implementing a track renewals strategy which matches the traffic usage of the route. This will include the deployment of Network Rail

Re: French - British Railway Comparisons - 446/1333
Written by Lee on Friday, 1st September 2006

[quote author=Graz link=topic=253.msg1148#msg1148 date=1155131898]Keynsham and Oldfield Park also previously had an hourly service but now there is a two-hour gap between both stations in the middle of the day to allow the Brighton train to go to Cardiff Central-- as if there's not enough trains to Cardiff on that route already >:( what makes it even worse is that I was promised by Derek Twigg before FGW bought the franchise that the hourly service would be kept.

What annoys me further is the shortening of trains on routes to/from Southampton and Bristol. FGW are happily upgrading trains to London, at expense, but the Portsmouth-Cardiff services became very busy and Wessex had the good idea of adding an extra carriage onto these trains, from 2 to 3. They're now comfortable to travel in (albeit still standing room only at peak). But FGW are now very stupidly reducing them to 2 again. One of the worries I had when FGW bought the franchise is that they'd be too focused on Paddington HST trains, and that's just what's happening.[/quote]

It would also appear that we are about to repeat a mistake made by our Dutch counterparts (link below.)

Quote from the above link :

"Roel Berghuis of trade union FNV Bondgenoten said the internal memo is a warning to the management that something has to be done to ensure NS can implement its new timetable."

Re: French - British Railway Comparisons - 446/1336
Written by Lee on Friday, 1st September 2006

Further quotes :

"The document, which was leaked to the media, stated that the NS is particularly stretched at peak times because "everything is deployed". Dealing with one bottleneck during peak hours means enlarging the shortage elsewhere, Jansen wrote."

"NS has been looking for some time to buy or lease more carriages to deal with the shortage in material. It is also working to deploy its rolling stock more effectively. "We constantly vary [the make-up of] our trains to achieve the optimal occupancy rate," a spokesperson for the company said."

Perhaps an idea worth considering in the South West?

Along with leasing a few more Class 153 & other units maybe?

Re: French - British Railway Comparisons - 446/1747
Written by Lee on Friday, 27th October 2006

There is to be a French National Rail Strike on Wednesday November 8 2006 (link below.)

Quote from the above link :

"Plan VFE with the closure of stations, ticket offices, shops, Administrative Centre Hot Lines, offices and of social establishments and the Alliance project for the ASCT. With the Public Transport Sector, it is management by line of TER (Regional Railways Services) and Transilien (Greater Paris Services)."

Re: French - British Railway Comparisons - 446/1862
Written by Lee on Wednesday, 8th November 2006

The strike has gone ahead (link below.)

Re: French - British Railway Comparisons - 446/1926
Written by Lee on Monday, 13th November 2006

Here is a report on the strike (link below.)

From the list of union demands :

"The entire network should be respected, including the maintenance of non-profitable routes."

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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