|Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Comparing Melksham and Ely - 4628/8449
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Sunday, 4th November 2007
It's always invideous to compare two towns / two sets of public transport links as everywhere is a special case for some reason or another. But a weekend visit to the National Rail conference in Ely - population 16000 according to the 2001 census - lead to some natural comparisons; Melksham was hovering around the 20k mark at that time, and is now just shy of 24000.
What did I notice in Ely that contrasts to Melksham? I noticed a major pedestrianised area, free parking, a riverside with boats that was made into a real feature and an asset to the town. And I noticed a thriving public transport system with a railway station served not by four trains a day, but by more than four trains an hour.
Could Melksham aspire to some of these characteristics, or is it all "special cases"? For sure, Ely is a tourist destination - a City with a catherdral, and a railway junction too where the traffic isn't limited to the locals. And yet it was thriving this Sunday morning as Lisa and I awaited the 10:56 through train to Paddington ... WITHOUT their being any incoming connections, and WITHOUT there being any noticable tourist traffic around. And befor you tell me that Melksham station isn't in the centre of town .... neither is the station at Ely!
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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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